Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Frugal Pumpkin Pie~Art in the Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart and the art of our home.  Why not use the paint brush in the kitchen!  Food can be prepared in such a beautiful way to say welcome!  We are glad you are here!  Sit down and have a cup of tea and a piece of pie if you please.  And what better way to greet the Thanksgiving season than a pumpkin pie all decked out with artsy leaves.
In my quest to be thrifty and frugal, this pie follows that precept.  I am learning to become a waste not want not sort of gal.
I was able to buy a small pie pumpkin for $1.00 at Aldis. (My favorite place to shop)  With that pumpkin, it yielded enough puree to make 2 pies.  You can see how to cook pumpkin for puree here.  This is not a pie pumpkin, but it is a pretty pumpkin.  I have used other pumpkins other than pie ones before, but prefer the pie pumpkins.

I have a 1943 cookbook which had a recipe for pumpkin pie.  The recipe book was given to me and is a treasure house of information in cooking and baking in a thrifty way.  It has lots of notes written by its previous owner, hand-written recipes, and even a few notes from loved ones.  It is a real gem.  I did alter the recipe a bit.
1 and 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
Combine with 
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 Teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
1 and 1/2 cups of milk
1/2 cup cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 lemon rind and juice 
Add 1/2 teaspoon salt 
to 2 egg whites.
Whip the egg whites until they are stiff and fold them into the combined ingredients.  Fill the pie shells.  (I used a 9 inch pie pan)
Bake the pie in a hot oven 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  and then reduce temperature to 350 degrees for an additional 40-50 minutes.  When a knife comes out clean it is done.  
(I did not have cream so made my own condensed milk)  It is very simple to make condensed milk.  It takes 4 cups of milk placed on low heat until it is 1/2 of the amount you start with.  You end up with 2 cups of milk.  It takes a couple of hours to condense it down.  I also added the nutmeg and the cloves.  The aroma was wonderful when it was baking.  
The frugal part came from making my own pumpkin puree and condensed milk.  We live a distance from any grocery store and I didn't want to use my time or gas to get cream and  condensed milk works as well, but didn't have any on hands so made my own.

Nothing says cool weather and the coming holiday season than cinnamon and cloves mixed with that beautiful fall pumpkin.
Thriftiness also comes from making your own pie crust.  I have used this recipe for about as long as I can remember.  
3 cups of flour
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup very cold water
1/2 cup very cold milk
1 teaspoon vinegar
Directions:  Cut the shortening and salt into the flour with a pastry knife or a fork.  Add the water, milk, and vinegar and form into a ball.  This recipe will make 2 (9 inch pie crusts, without tops)  Don't work too much extra flour into the dough.  With this recipe I cut out the leaves with miniature cookie cutters and then painted the leaves with food coloring, using a new and clean paint brush.  Bake as above.
The dough that was left from forming the pie was used to make the leaves.  The remainder, which is enough for another pie, was placed in a baggie and frozen for later use.  

My mother always made what she termed pie crackers, which was the dough left from trimming the pie.  My family loves them.  They are so simple to make and yet another frugal way to save the dough and make a nice little treat.  With these little gems, I simply rolled the left over dough out and using the cookie cutters cut out the shapes.  They are the same as what edged the pie.  Simply dust the crackers with cinnamon and sugar and bake on parchment paper for 10-15 minutes.  You have to watch them closely so they don't burn.  

There is also much beauty to see right out this door.  Trying to find the best light in our home is sometimes somewhat of a trick, but the soft muted fall tones can be seen in these pictures.

What fun it can be to create a beautiful food for your family and friends.  It really is a simple idea and pretty easy to do using a paint brush and artfully creating an eye pleasing food.

Made with loving hands is truly the most important part and is the heart and the art of the home.  It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful!
Linking to the following lovely parties.

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