Friday, November 7, 2008

Khalil's First Homemade Pumpkin Pie!

Instead of my usual briefcase, I brought to work a backpack filled with canned pumpkin, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, evaporated milk, flour, shortening, sugar, vanilla and a whisk. After work I took the train to Brick Church, grabbed some eggs and heavy cream at ShopRite, and headed over to Khalil's place.

Khalil was very excited about making pies. He and his mother like cooking and cooking shows, so being in the position of chef was thrilling for him. He was, as always, very open to everything I had to teach. I told him how pumpkin pies are the only ones I don't make from scratch because, although the best pies I've ever made have been from scratch, so have the worst ones; I get consistently very good results from Libby's, so that's what I use.

Khalil cracked the eggs and helped mix the ingredients, and then we started making the crust. And of course I gave him my whole spiel about cutting the shortening into the dough so that it gets kneaded as little as possible, and being very careful not to add too much water, and rolling it out and putting it into the pie tin and piecing it together, and about how all those things make a cust that's light and flaky instead of dense. We poured the filling into the shells, put the pies in the oven, and put the mixing bowl and whisk into the freezer. As I explained to Khalil, the most thing about making good whipped cream is to keep everything cold!

While the pies baked, we watched the Clone Wars animated series. I was quite impressed with the animation. A few minutes before the pies finished I took the bowl and whisk out of the freezer and started whipping the cream. I let Khalil do some of the whisking and he quickly came to appreciate what I said about having spent years building up those particular arm muscles. I took over again and soon the cream was firming up. We added the sugar and the vanilla and, as I finished, I showed Khalil how he should whip it to the point where it stands up in fluffy peaks, but not to the point where it starts to become butter!

I took the pie out of the oven and, after letting it cool for a while, we cut some pieces, loaded them with whipped cream, and dug in. Check out the look on Khalil's face. I don't think he found it entirely displeasing, do you?

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