Grandma's Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

This pie reminds me of childhood. My mom’s family was all back east, so holidays were spent with my dad’s side of the family. My grandma would make her pumpkin chiffon pie every Thanksgiving. I was totally unaware that this wasn’t the traditional pumpkin pie of holiday lore. The first time I had a slice (brick) of standard baked pumpkin pie, it was a rude awakening. Grandma’s pumpkin chiffon pie is light and fluffy and perfectly spiced. It’s perfect after a heavy holiday meal, but it’s even more perfect as leftovers the next morning for breakfast. This pie must be topped with a generous pillow of freshly whipped cream to reach its full pumpkin pie potential.

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Grandma’s Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Ingredients

One 9-inch pie shell, baked and cooled
1/4 cold water
1 envelope unflavoured gelatin
1-1/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves (optional)
1 cup granulated sugar, separated
3 eggs, separated*

*The egg yolks are cooked into a sort of custard but the egg whites are whipped and incorporated into the pie filling raw. If you’re like me and feel squicky about eating raw eggs, separate your yolks and save the egg whites for an omelette. You can buy pasteurized egg whites in a carton near where the eggs are sold in most grocery stores (make sure you buy egg whites specifically and not whole eggs). If you go this route, there’s a tiny bit of math involved because you’ll need to multiple however many tablespoons of pasteurized egg white you’d sub for one egg by three for this recipe.

Directions

You need a double-boiler for this recipe but the good news is that if you don’t have one, you can easily fake it. Fill a pot with an inch or two of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover with a heat-safe mixing bowl that’s big enough so the sides are wider than the mouth of the pot. You want your bowl to sit in the mouth of the pot and hang down into the pot but not be submerged in your water. I like to use a glass Pyrex bowl so I can easily check that my water is still boiling by scraping the bottom of my bowl (so I don’t have to lift the side of the bowl and let my precious heat escape).

Soften gelatin by sprinkling it over the cold water and letting it sit for at least 10 minutes. You don’t need to stir it into the water.

In the top of your double-boiler (or mixing bowl) combine pumpkin, milk, spices, salt, 1/2 cup sugar, and egg yolks. Whisk together and continue stirring until thick. You want the water in the bottom of the double-boiler to remain at a gentle boil so your mixture will cook. Cook and whisk occasionally until your mixture thickens to pudding consistency (about 10 - 15 minutes). Remove from heat and whisk in gelatin mixture.

Cool. I usually pop my pumpkin mixture in the fridge for about 30 minutes to bring the temperature down. If you mix your egg whites in while it’s still too hot it will kind of curdle and break. This pie sounds a bit high maintenance, I know, but trust me; it’s worth it.

In a clean bowl, whip egg whites until frothy. Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat until stuff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the cooled pumpkin mixture until well combined. Pour into baked (cooled) pie shell and chill.

Serve with oodles of fresh whipped cream and the smug knowledge that you win Thanksgiving, you devilish Pie Master.

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Meal Plan 09/16/19 - 09/20/19

The rain hasn’t stopped in days so I’ve got autumn on the brain. This week is packed full of sports / events / obligations so I’m trying to prep as much as I can today to make the week run smoothly. I’m faintly optimistic that I’m going to pull it off.

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Monday: Red Curry Wonton soup with Zucchini Noodles for meatless Monday. We had this for dinner tonight so everything is prepped and just needs to be reheated and garnished tomorrow.

Tuesday: My version of chicken pot pie which is basically just chicken pot pie filling without any pastry, topped with mashed sweet potatoes kind of like shepherd’s pie. I made it this morning so it just needs to be thrown in the oven after work on Tuesday. I debated serving it with green salad but instead I just upped the veggie content in the filling and I’m calling it a win.

Wednesday: dinner at Shawn’s mom’s house

Thursday: Spaghetti served with green salad. I made the sauce last night and threw it in the freezer. I’ll defrost the sauce Wednesday night, and then throw together a quick salad and cook the pasta Thursday after work.

Friday: Barbecued bacon mushroom cheeseburgers to celebrate the end of a crazy week.

I also made a batch of these cookies to pack in Grady’s school lunches. I decided to phone it in and just cut up a giant watermelon to send tomorrow for his class potluck “friendship lunch.” I’m making a batch of overnight oats made with kefir, chia seeds, and walnuts for quick breakfasts. And I’m debating making an apple crisp because I have a lot of local apples and apple crisp is my favourite.

What are you making this week?

Meal Plan 09/09/19 - 09/13/19

Last week’s meal plan made the week run much more smoothly so I’m going to try to keep it going for the month of September. We need all the help returning to a predictable routine we can get.

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Monday: Carnitas served with fresh guacamole and a side of local corn on the cob. I made a big batch of carnitas in the Instant Pot and we had this exact meal tonight. Making larger quantities of components and then using them for multiple meals is my biggest kitchen hack.

Tuesday: The last of the carnitas on top of nachos served with lots of fresh avocado, cilantro, and local tomatoes.

Wednesday: I was planning to do lentil zucchini boats but then someone posted this Buffalo Dip Stuffed Chicken and I’ve thought of nothing else since. I’ll serve it with a side of sauteed zucchini and onions.

Thursday: Snack plate dinner! Lots of fresh veggies, hummus, cheese, smoked turkey sausage, crackers, nuts, and dried mango.

Friday: Sushi

I also made these zucchini brownies for snacks and to hide veggies in Grady’s school lunches. If you’ve never made zucchini brownies before and you’re freaking out because your mixture looks too dry; don’t worry. Once you fold the shredded zucchini into the mixture it’ll moisten right up. The zucchini cooks down to be totally undetectable by sight, smell, and taste. Trust me when I say there is no way Grady would eat them if he could tell they contained a vegetable.

What’s on your meal plan this week?

Melancholy

The mornings have a distinct chill to them and our evenings feel shorter. Grady has completed his first week back to school and pumpkin spice everything abounds. There’s no denying it; we’re saying goodbye to summer.

I’m not a huge summer fan if we’re talking about the stereotypical summer things. I don’t love being hot all the time, I hate that when it rains during summer the air turns heavy and sticky and unbearably humid, I’m not big on camping or beaching or whatever it is you outdoorsy folks do during the summer months.

But I can’t ignore the melancholy that settles in my bones mid-August. This year was more difficult than usual. Old hurts, fresh hurts, the acknowledgement that my kids are freaking rad human beings and I won’t always get to hang out with them the way I do now, short tempers I’m ashamed of, weird envy of the outdoorsy folks for experiencing something so outside my current realm of possibility, an overwhelming feeling of not enough time / energy / undivided attention. The last month or so has been odd. I’m not unfamiliar with feeling all the feelings, but this is getting ridiculous even for me.

I’m not sure how to banish the ennui, or if I just need to ride it out until it disappears on its own, but my hope is that by naming it I can at least get myself in the right frame of mind to move forward instead of just spiralling in the gloom. I welcome any and all suggestions, especially if those suggestions include chocolate and buying cute notebooks and colourful pens.

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