My Grandparents were just about the sweetest people you could ever meet. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have had them in my life; lucky does not even begin to describe it. Every time I think of them, my heart is so full of love and I can instantly giggle at a silly story, or softly smile at a cherished memory. My Grandpa was a farmer just outside of Edmonton, where he actually lived his entire life…the farm my Grandpa and him owned and lived off of was only a quarter of a mile down the road from where my great Grandparents (my Grandpa’s side) farm was, which is pretty neat.
I pretty much grew up on the farm; it was and still would be my absolute favourite place in the entire world. Even though it is gone now, it will always be home to me. I can still picture every single detail, hear every single creek and crack of the floor, I can smell the potato cellar downstairs and the toast toasting in the early mornings. I can hear the coyotes at night, picture the sun shining in through the large bay window in the living room, I can taste my Grandpa’s homegrown carrots and peas and I can hear the drop of the crab apples from the tree in the front yard.
I can hear the giggles from my cousin and I while swinging on the old rusty swing set on the side of the house, I can smell (a mixture of hay, dirt, manure, and my Grandpa; which actually smelled surprisingly good all together) the inside of the old brown Ford truck my Grandpa drove, I can hear the tractors starting up and my Grandma clinking and clacking around in the kitchen.Everything it is all still there, engraved into my mind forever, I can even still hear their voices, Grandma’s screechy holler for my Grandpa to come in for lunch, his soft but grunty “I’m coming, I’m coming”. My favourite is two words, my Grandpa’s “home again”, said every single time without fail when we would be driving back to the farm, up the long gravel driveway those two words would be repeated. I actually catch myself saying it now, every time I come home.
They will forever be my heart and I will be forever grateful for everything they taught me, the obvious lessons and the lessons they didn’t even know they were teaching me. Maybe my most useful being my Grandpa teaching me to squat and pee in the fields (because of course he would ask me to go before we went out and of course I always said I didn’t have to go until the exact moment we would get as far away from the house as possible, on the furthest field, right smack in the middle), but let me tell you that trick comes in handy now when Paul and I are out hiking in the middle of nowhere or on road trips when I still pull the same “I don’t have to go” until we are on an endless stretch of road with no gas station in sight for miles. I look up and thank Papa every time.
You have heard me talk about my Grandma and her cooking a few times on this blog, here and here and here…she always amazed me in the kitchen, without her I might not even have this hear blog and I swear one day I will write a cookbook and dedicate it to her, it will happen. This is her old honey pumpkin pie recipe, it is a classic and yes sometimes classics are boring but sometimes they are exactly what the occasion calls for and really I can’t have a food blog without a good ol’ pumpkin pie recipe on it now can I?
The honey adds a different flavour; I find it is softer and more delicate. The pecans were and addition of mine and I think they will be written down in my own version of a classic honey pumpkin pie, they added the perfect amount of crunch and texture and the maple mixed with the honey is a really good combo.
Always top pumpkin pie with real whipped cream, anything else would be a disservice. I keep mine simple, organic whipped cream and pure vanilla, whipped until thick and luxurious.
honey pumpkin pie + maple glazed toasted pecans
1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chilled butter
4 tbsp of cool water
1 tbsp of turbinado sugar
¼ tsp of baking powder
1/8 tsp of Himalayan salt
2 ½ cups of pureed pumpkin (I toasted my own sweet pumpkin, directions below)
1 cup of raw honey
¾ cup of cream
3 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger + a pinch
½ tsp cloves + a pinch
½ tsp nutmeg + a pinch
½ tsp Himalayan salt
1 cup of pecans
2 tbsp of maple syrup
1 tbsp of pure vanilla
1 tbsp of butter
roasting the pumpkin
Start by roasting the pumpkin first. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Stab the pumpkin with a few knife cuts all around and place the whole pumpkin in a glass baking dish. (Alternatively you can cut the pumpkin in half, clean out the seeds and roast it that way as well) Roast until a fork can smoothly purse through the skin, 50-60 minutes.
Once the pumpkin is roasted, scrap out the seeds (unless you cut it in half already) and place them in a small bowl (because you will want to roast these later) and then peel the skin and place the pumpkin into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, I add a dollop of butter to mine to make it really smooth and luxurious.
you can use canned pumpkin instead of your own roasted one as welll.
whisk together the dry ingredients, set aside.
it is best to use chilled (frozen) butter. on the largest hole of a cheese grater, grate the butter into the flour mixture. mix lightly with a spoon every few heaping grates. add in the ice water in small increments, stirring until all the water is added. knead the dough until just combined and then pour out onto the counter. you can add more water by the tablespoon if the mixture is still dry.
kneading again until the pastry holds together, form the pastry into one ball, wrap in saran wrap and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour.
putting it all together
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a mix master add the pumpkin, honey, salt, spices and mix. Next add in the cream and then one by one beat in the eggs. Set aside.
Take your pastry dough out of the fridge and flour a flat clean surface. Coat your rolling pin in a little extra flour, place the ball of dough in the middle of the floured surface and roll it evenly from the center to the edge, until the dough is about 1/8 inch thick and around 10-12 inches in diameter (this does not have to be exact) depending on the size of your pie dish.
Fold the pastry in half and then half again and transfer to your pie dish and then unfold. You want quite a bit of extra hanging dough so that you can fold it under to make your crust edge extra thick (Momma's trick because that is everyone’s favourite part). Brush the crust with an egg wash and sprinkle with a little extra turbinado sugar (optional, but it gives it that deeper golden layer).
Pour your pumpkin batter into your pie pastry and then fold the crust dough under and crimp with your fingers. Or if you have a fancier way of doing your crust, have at it!
Place the pie in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 375 and bake for another 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
While the pie is baking, roughly chop your pecans. In a small pan on low to medium heat toast the pecans. Make sure to watch them as they do toast quickly. Once they are toasted add in the vanilla, maple syrup and butter and mix thoroughly. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then take off heat and set aside.
Once the pie is done, cool for a few hours and then top with the maple pecans and serve, preferably with whipped cream of course! Keep pie in the fridge.