Jane Hornby’s failsafe Pumpkin Pie recipe
Our What To Bake expert offers a Brit view of Thanksgiving and remembers previous celebrations
How did an English cook come to celebrate Thanksgiving? As our author and baking expert, Jane Hornby explains, “the first time was last year. A friend of ours had an old friend from New York staying and we didn’t want her to miss out - and we like any excuse for a party. So we had a big meal with turkey and the works.”
“It’d be patronising to tell American readers what it’s all about,” says Jane, “but, I will say that it was a really happy occasion. From my limited experience: friends, food, alcohol and a team spirit are key. The rest of the crew shared all of the cooking and brought a dish. It was honestly one of the most delicious turkey dinner I've had, though we were all a bit puzzled about the sweet potatoes with marshmallow!” she admits.
Jane has also included a great pumpkin pie recipe in our new book, What To Bake & How to Bake It. “I tend to use butternut squash or pumpkin, roasted and puréed as opposed to using canned pumpkin,” she explains, “as fresh is easier to find in the shops over here.”
The recipe is clear and straightforward, yet Jane says she still has to convince some folks to give baking a go. “So many people tell me that they love cooking but can’t bake,” our author explains. “I don’t take that challenge lightly and always hear myself repeating the baking mantra: have patience, measure carefully, read the recipe before you begin, and it will do what it’s supposed to do.”
That point about measuring isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. Indeed, holiday bakers would profit from watching our short video, in which Jane runs through a few foolproof tips, before embarking on the recipe which you'll find here.
Jane also has some pumpkin pie tips for would-be cooks. “You really do need to make sure that the pastry shell is properly blind baked,” she advises, “which means it should be cooked through entirely before the filling is added. The filling is essentially a very loose custard, and the pastry needs to be baked and then sealed with egg before it goes in. That way it will stay crisp.”
But what if you don’t like pumpkin pie? "I find that people objecting to pumpkin pie are normally freaked out by its texture,” Jane says. “So how about pumpkin whoopie pies? Baking a cake with pumpkin gives you the same festive flavor, but none of the wobble. There is a really easy variation on my whoopie pie recipe in the book, and it was actually my favourite in the end,” she says. “The cakes are tender and spicy, sandwiched with an orange cream-cheese frosting."
For these recipes and much more, buy a copy of our new title; it’s available in a US edition with appropriate measures and weights; as well as a fully metric UK edition too. Holiday cooks might also like to take a look at this roast chicken and turkey recipe, which we posted from Jane’s previous book, What to Cook & How To Cook It, a few years back.