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Living abroad has it's ups and downs. Not being able to find ingredients for at-home favorites is a definite down. I adapted several recipes and made several pies, and found that in China, with the ingredients available, this recipe makes a Deeeelicious-No-Roll-Crusted-Humdinger of a pumpkin pie. You can find most of the ingredients in China. Pumpkin is Nan2guo3, and those are usually available in the markets, but don't be afraid to experiment with other similar squashes. The sweetened and condensed milk can usually be found in a bakery or supermarket. They dip their Chinese rolls in it as a dessert after dinner often. It is made by Nestle 鹰唛炼奶ying1ma4lian4nai3 or (as they have no equivalent to what we would call cream, if u ask for cream 99% of the time they show you to this, 奶油 nai3you3。 The spices are what is tricky. See if you can have people mail u the tiny McCormick packets or try your fare at a big supermarket in a capital city. Happy Baking!
For Pie Crust
- 354.88 ml all-purpose flour
- 29.58 ml milk
- 118.29 ml sunflower oil or 118.29 ml vegetable oil
- 4.92 ml salt
- 29.58 ml white sugar (optional)
- 1 pumpkin
- 59.14 ml sunflower oil
- 28.39 ml sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 40 g sweetened condensed milk
- 236.59 ml light brown sugar
- 14.79 ml all-purpose flour
- 4.92 ml ground cinnamon
- 2.46 ml fine salt
- 2.46 ml ground nutmeg
- 1.23 ml ground allspice
- This Recipe is involved and could take a good portion of the morning or evening to do well. Plan to dedicate several hours to the joys of making pumpkin pie. It will be worth it!
- STEP 1--- MAKING NO-ROLL PIE CRUST: As you will most likely not find frozen pie crust in the stores in China, we must begin by making the no roll pie crust.
- > Put 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, salt and sugar(optional)in a mixing bowl.
- > Mix the 2 TBSP Cold Milk with the 1/2 cup Sunflower oil, until the milk has dirtied the oil and there are thousands of milk beads floating in the oil.
- > Add Milky Oil to the bowl and using your hands, mix together until all the flour is dampened by the milky oil mixture. Form it into a ball, and place in the center of your 9" pie pan. Spread the dough over the pie plate, patting down the dough to cover the bowl. DO NOT let the crust go over (or even too close to) the edge of the pan.
- > Although if we were not making pumpkin pie, and were just using this as a shell, the next step would be using a fork to poke holes liberally to avoid having the dough bubble under the filling as it bakes. But with pumpkin pie, that only makes the crust weak, so don't do that.
- > Pat the fork on the crust portion lightly. It will give texture to the crust, but don't make the grooves too definite or they may burn unless covered with foil. Also, don't let any portion of the crust be too thin or it will burn. The crust should be even all the way around, and lightly patted with a fork.
- >Place this in the fridge to chill the pie crust, as long as you want.
- STEP 2--- MAKING PUMPKIN PUREE: As it is rare to find Pumpkin Puree on the shelves in China, we must begin the pumpkin filling by making our own home-made Pumpkin Puree. There are two ways to do this:.
- ~ METHOD 1 for PUMPKIN PUREE(Best) If you have an oven:.
- >Preheat oven to 175 Celsius (350F). Be careful with your oven settings. The little ovens in China tend to run hotter than those in America.
- > Wash your pumpkin. (vegetables here are usually dirty, no sense getting dirt on your clean cutting board.).
- >Cut the pumpkin in half. Leave the skin of the pumpkin on the pumpkin.
- > Take a spoon (one with the best edge) and scrape out the stringy mess inside the pumpkin. (You can put the stringy mess directly in the garbage or put it into a bowl to later separate out the seeds for roasted pumpkin seeds.).
- > Prepare Cookie Sheet by coating a flat cookie sheet with 1/4 cup sunflower oil or vegetable oil, using a tissue to spread the oil around the pan. (it's best to use a sheet with a lip around the side because this will be juicy and that avoids the juice spilling over later.
- > Sprinkle the 1/3 cup loose sugar over the oil.
- > Place both halves of pumpkin face down in the oil on the cooking sheet. Avoid doing this if possible but, if both do not fit, cut the halves it into the fewest pieces necessary to fit it all in the pan.
- > Place pumpkin in preheated oven and let bake for 30 or 40 minutes. Check to make sure it is not burning periodically. It will bubble at the edges and smell good and squashy.
- > When finished baking, leave the oven door open and let the pumpkin cool. The middle will probably sink in and it will look entirely unappetizing. Fear not. Looks do not matter here.
- > Once it has cooled to a warm easy to hand temp, turn each halve over, and scrape the pumpkin meat in a bowl, leaving the skin in the pan and finally throwing away the skin.
- > Water removal process: Now, we must cut down on the liquid in this pumpkin puree. This is a critical step- don't leave it out. get a good amount of paper towel ready. Place two bowls on the counter and paper towels in bottom of the bowls. transfer pumpkin between bowls, and replacing paper towels until the paper towels have soaked up a good majority of the water in the pumpkin meat. About 5 minutes later, and many paper towels later, you will arrive at the desired consistency.
- > Place this pumpkin goodness into a blender, and blend to cut up all the strings and make it uniform in texture in the pie.
- ~METHOD 2 FOR MAKING PUMPKIN PUREE(Also good but less flavorful) if you do NOT have an oven:.
- > Wash Pumpkin.
- > Cut Pumpkin in Half.
- > Taking a potato peeler, peel the skin from a the pumpkin the same way you would peel a potato. Keep doing it until the peel or outer part of the pumpkin is gone.
- > Cut the pumpkin into Chunks as you would for mashed potatoes. The chunks can be a few inches big, not too small, not too big.
- > Place chunks into pot of water on stove. Heat water to boiling, then reduce heat and cook for about 20 or 30 minutes.
- > Drain well, and begin water removal process.
- > Water removal process: Now, we must cut down on the liquid in this pumpkin puree. This is a critical step- don't leave it out. get a good amount of paper towels ready. Place two bowls on the counter and paper towels in bottom of the bowls. Don't worry if the cubes of pumpkin fall apart as you do this,. it will eventually all go into a blender. The goal is to remove as much moisture as possible. Transfer cooked pumpkin between bowls, replacing paper towels until the paper towels have soaked up a good majority of the water in the pumpkin meat. About 5 minutes later, and many paper towels later, you will arrive at the desired consistency.
- > Place this pumpkin goodness into a blender, and blend well to cut up all the strings and make it uniform in texture in the pie.
- STEP 3--- CREATING PUMPKIN FILLING: I used a blender and the pie came out better, so I'm showing publishing these instructions, but I've made the pie without the blender and it was great too!
- > Keeping pumpkin puree in blender add the rest of the filling ingredients, (adding eggs LAST so u can add spices to taste without the risk of salmonella poisoning.) I begin with the can of Nestle sweetened and condensed milk, so there is more of a thick liquid texture for blending. Next, 1 TBSP flour, 1 TSP Ground Cinnamon, 1/2 TSP Fine Salt, 1/2 TSP Ground Nutmeg, 1/4 TSP Ground Allspice. Add brown sugar to taste after all the spices as the sugar will thicken the filling, making it difficult to blend properly. I used 1 cup tightly packed, but the filling was very sweet. If you don't like pies too sweet, add brown sugar to taste. The brown sugar also adds color that looks good once baked. I once used white sugar, and the appearance wasn't as traditional. The taste that you have in your blender at this point (after the sugar) is the taste you will have in your pie, so keep playing with it until you find a good combination. Finally, once you are satisfied with the taste, add the eggs to the blender.
- LAST STEP--- ADDING FILLING TO CRUST AND BAKING PIE.
- > Take crust from fridge and pour the filling into the crust in a circular motion until the pan is filled. Do not over fill. Just a bit below the crust edge is perfect, even if it means wasting some of the filling. Though the filling shouldn't be very runny, it is still a very thick liquid, so avoid letting the filling slosh onto the crust as you place the unbaked pie into the oven. Put the rack on the lowest level to avoid burning the pie and heat the pie from the top and bottom burners. Leave it to cook for about 40 minutes, checking on it to make sure it is not burning. If crust begins to get too dark, foil the crust next time. As it heats, toward the end, the filling will puff up. Fear not. It will settle down again as it cools and transform into the worlds best pumpkin pie after refrigeration for a few hours.
I'm also an expat, so was interested in this recipe. It's too time-consuming, but Anna Banana is right about getting rid of excess juices from the puree. My easier method is just to bake the pumpkin till it's tender(in a non-stick skillet, so no oil needed), then put it in a sieve and leave in a fridge overnight - no soaking up in kitchen towels required. I tried the sweetened condensed milk, but next time will use 1 whole can of it, and omit the sugar.