Tag Archives: Holiday

Gilded Lilies, Volume II

A couple years ago, I posted my pumpkin pie recipes. Every year I tweak them ever so slightly in the quest for the perfect recipe. Plus, I like to play around with variations. Unlike George Lucas, my revisions tend to involve removing or reducing ingredients.

I’m now prepared to declare my “standard” pumpkin pie recipe finished. I’ll always continue to fine-tune it depending on the pumpkin itself, but that’s half the fun of using fresh pumpkin. Anyway, here’s my finished recipe:

Pumpkin Pie

800 grams fresh roasted pumpkin
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
20 grams peeled fresh ginger

Combine all ingredients except ginger in a large bowl and mix well. Run the ginger through a garlic press, into the pie batter. (Whatever makes it through the press goes in, but the stringy bits left inside the press should be discarded. Squeeze hard, you want all that juice.) Stir a little more to distribute the ginger. Pour into uncooked pie crust and bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325° and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 40 minutes. Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve with whipped cream. Makes 1 10″ pie (or a fairly deep 9″).

Here’s one of my favorite variations:

Espresso Pumpkin Pie

800 grams fresh roasted pumpkin
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp finely ground espresso beans
1/2 tsp black pepper (freshly ground if possible)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Pour into uncooked pie crust and bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325° and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 40 minutes. Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup (the darker, the better). Makes 1 10″ pie (or a fairly deep 9″).

Here’s my latest variation. It definitely needs some work, but it’s very promising. Part of the problem is that most chocolate chips are too sweet for this flavor. The other part is that the gritty, raw mouth feel of Mexican chocolate is sadly absent. I’m also thinking that a Kahlua whipped cream would be a nice addition.

Mexican Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pie

800 grams fresh roasted pumpkin
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
2 eggs
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp cayenne
100 grams chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl except chocolate chips and mix well. Fold chocolate chips into the batter. Pour into uncooked pie crust and bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325° and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 40 minutes. Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve with whipped cream. Makes 1 10″ pie (or a fairly deep 9″).

General Pumpkin pie tips:

  • The easiest way to make the pie batter is in a blender. It’s easy to mix and easy to pour. It’s also easy to overdo it, and make a really light, fluffy pie batter, which tends to crack more while baking. One way to avoid this is to add the eggs last and blend it just enough to combine them with the batter.
  • Slide the oven rack out and place the empty pie crust on the rack before you fill it. That way, you can avoid trying to lower a really full pie into the oven.
  • A vegetable peeler works great on fresh ginger.
  • It’s really hard to overbake a pumpkin pie, so if you’re not sure, go a few minutes longer. Or, when you’re pretty sure the pie is done, just turn the oven off but leave the pie inside. It’ll continue to bake a little, and it will cool more slowly, which will help minimize cracking.
  • If you want to make multiple pies at the same time, I’d suggest making the ginger first, then the espresso, then the Mexican chocolate. You can skip washing the bowl in between.

Surviving the First Weekend

OK, as we approach the end of the holiday weekend, I think I did pretty well. Definitely pushing the limits of 2000 calories (sliding over 2 days, staying under 2 days) but not too shabby. My first impressions tell me that I don’t need to worry about my fat intake… at least, I don’t need to worry about it being too high. I may actually need to get more fat in my diet. I have yet to hit the 50-gram limit I set initially.

I also managed to walk away from free pizza last night. That wasn’t easy, but I managed.

I’m also anxious for my Monday weigh-in. Weigh-ins will come on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. That’s when I hit the gym, and that will allow me to always use the same scale while wearing the same thing at around the same time of day. The first two weigh-ins show me dropping weight, and while two data points are hardly conclusive, they are promising. In fact, if those were any indication of the way this is heading, I will most likely have to increase my intake to slow down a little. That would be OK with me.

Speaking of which, I haven’t eaten much yet today. It’s time to remedy that, and I have some elbow room to dig in a little.

Exercise: None, per se. Lots of housework, though. Ended up walking a good 4 or 5 km.
Intake: 1935 calories, 42 grams of fat.
What I ate today: Coffee, fruit salad, English muffins, turkey breast, avocado, tomato, corn, green beans, waffle cone, beer, refried beans and pretzels.

Holiday Posting

The 4th of July, and the 4th day of my adventure. I’m not going to write much today, ’cause it’s a holiday. But, I will continue to track what I eat and not use this as an excuse to slip. Really.

I will say that my legs are sore. I have not adjusted to this new exercise regimen yet. More potassium, please!

Exercise: 3 km walking.
Intake: 2275 calories, 40 grams of fat.
What I ate today:  Peach, banana, strawberries, yogurt, muesli, coffee, refried beans, bread, turkey breast, avocado, tomato, bell pepper, chicken sub and a brownie.

Still telling that same old story?

Well, yes, I’m still wrapping up that cycling story. If you’re here reading this, you don’t have a ton of room to complain about the choice in material.

Anyway, so I set myself a short-term goal and I made it. Woohoo. I realized that I had done it with the brakes rubbing most of the way. Woohoo.

Truing a wheel is beyond my capabilities, so on Sunday, we loaded up the truck and took the bike down to Erik’s for a little help. it was raining, so it wasn’t like we’d be riding any time soon. I figured that was it for me for the rest of the holiday weekend.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Erik’s kicks ass. They got the wheel trued, cleaned up the bike a bit, lubed it and tweaked the shifters, all by noon the next day.

So, my wife drove me back down there to pick it up. It was a nice day and the truck was full of gear, so I thought rather than deal with loading the bike up, I’d just ride it home. Five, maybe six miles, tops.

Not so. Remember that lucky break on the counter-clockwise trip around the lakes? Yeah, I forgot all about that. Went the wrong way home. Looped most of the lakes on the long side. Ended up doing another 12 miles or so, partly due to wrong turns, partly because it became somewhat amusing.

It gets better.