Wednesday, November 12, 2008


A few weeks back I was watching The Food Network with great interest. There was a pie baking competition on that featured six of America's top pie makers going head to head to win a $10,000 prize for making the best pies. They were all amateurs, but most of them had won titles in previous competitions. I was interested to see what amazing pies would be turned out by these experienced pie aficionados because I myself enjoy a good slice of pie now and again.

Well...I was sorely disappointed!

The skill level of these competitors was much lower than I had anticipated. Granted, the pressure was on these baker to make 3 different pies during the show and that ain't easy. I give them all credit for doing it. But several of them struggled to make a basic pie crust! One woman even admitted to not knowing how to make a short crust and she made all of her pies with a granolaesque crumb crust! Hilarious!

I would think that having the basic skills to make a top and bottom crust with a fruit filling in the middle that can be turned out of a pie plate and still resemble a slice of pie is necessary before lining up to compete in a nationally televised competition to do so. Maybe it's just me...I dunno.

Anyway, the competition was entertaining just for the fact that it was fun to watch these bakers flounder their way through the show. The sure winner didn't win. The rookie who had never competed before took first prize. Cool twist!

When I was in George Brown College serving my two years in Culinary Management, one of my favorite classes was baking. One of my favorite classes in baking was the day I learned how to properly make a pie. Before that class, I could make a decent pie, but I sure had trouble doing it. My teacher smoothed out the process for me and enlightened me to the fact that technique is key in pie production.

Here I have made a pumpkin pie with a crumble tipping. This is a simple one crust pie. Nothing is easier to make. My kids asked me to make this for them for Halloween so I did, and I showed my daughter how to make a crust on the counter and how to get it into a pie plate for filling and baking. Indeed, there is a technique to it.

The good news is that I'm going to photograph "Pie Making 101" and I'm going to post it here on Livingston Cooks. The bad news is that I am not including that in this particular post. Call me sadistic, I know...but those of you who are interested will have to be patient!


This is the pie. A single crusted pumpkin pie with a crumble topping which includes chopped pecans.

Here's a sexy close up shot which shows off the topping, the filling and the crust.

Just look at those pecan chunks!

And the crust looks nice and flaky!

Super close up.


The pie turns out nicely...

...and the flaky crust holds the filling as well as holding its integrity.

This was a good pie! I will update this post with the recipe soon. But right now I have to tidy up before Lola gets home. Yikes!!

Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Crumble Topping


1 pastry (9-inch size) for single-crust pie


1 3/4 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 1/4 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 tablespoon salt


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-vegetable shortening
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pecan, chopped


1. For filling, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.
2. For topping, mix all ingredients into a coarse meal and set aside until needed.
3. Pour filling into prepared 9" pie shell (preferably deed dish).
4. Sprinkle topping evenly over the top of the filling.
5. Bake in a preheated oven set at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes.


Anonymous said...

Never had a pumpkin pie with a crumble topping before, looks interesting, migh give it a try.
James C.

Anonymous said...