Sorry I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus, folks. I’ve got more posts about Halifax on the way, and a few other things as well. But I needed some time away from internet things.
Thanksgiving here in Canada was the weekend of October 11th. I had all kinds of plans to bake and cook and blog about it, but something else ended up taking up my time.
My beloved cat Mouse died.
Mouse had been quite ill for a few weeks. Her liver enzymes were way up and she had a UTI, as well as having a very elevated white blood cell count. She’d been through liver problems in the summer of 2007 as well, so we were familiar with treating them, and had high hopes she would recover. To make a long story short, this time she simply couldn’t. She had always been a fragile little cat, with a sensitive stomach and only one working kidney. In the end, both her liver and kidney were giving out, and in the end she couldn’t eat, was very weak, and was very, very ill. So on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, we said goodbye to our little Mouseycat, which broke our hearts.
We miss her terribly. She was such a wonderful little kitty, we were very luck to have her in our lives. So, even though it’s over a week late, I’m posting my Thanksgiving pumpkin pies in dedication to her.
Pumpkin actually has a bit of a connection to Mouse and her illness. See, Mouse had not been eating much for weeks, and we were trying anything we could to get her to eat. We bought stinky food, we warmed it up, we whipped it into a paste, and so on. Anything to get her to eat a little. I’d read that sometimes when cats aren’t eating you can try a little plain canned pumpkin to see if they like it. Apparently it is quite tasty to many cats and it will help get their appetite back. So I went to the store thinking I’d buy some pumpkin and whatever Mouse wouldn’t eat, I’d use for pies. Unfortunately, I never did get to see if Mouse would eat pumpkin, since I couldn’t find it at the store that day, and the next day we brought her back into the vet for more tests, right before we found out she wasn’t going to make it. But I did find some pumpkin at the store on that fateful Saturday, and so I used it to make something tasty for Rich and I. Hopefully Mouseycat would approve.
Mini Pumpkin Pies
Makes 2 dozen two-bite pies, or 1 dozen two-bite plus 1 small (4 serving) pie
1 cup canned pumpkin (plain)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 can Regular or 2% Evaporated Milk (full can is 370ml – use half)
Pie Crust (makes enough for 1 9-inch pie):
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp cold, salted butter
2 Tbsp cold vegetable shortening
3 Tbsp ice water
Whisk together all ingredients except evaporated milk until smooth. Then, gradually whisk in the milk until fully combined. Do not worry if it seems runny – it will set while baking. Set aside.
Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl.
Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
Break up the shortening and add it in bits to the bowl. Continue using the pastry blender (or fingers) and cut it into the dough until the mixture becomes small clumps.
Add the ice water and gently mix with a spatula until fully incorporated.
Form dough into a ball, roll in a little flour, and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour.
Prepare pie dish or muffin tins by lightly greasing them. Preheat oven to 350F.
Take dough and roll out on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. For a regular pie, just make sure you roll your dough in a circle and place it into the pie plate.
For mini pies, cut circles of the desired size from the dough, just as if you were cutting cookies with cookie cutters. I used a pint glass for this purpose. Take the rounds of dough you just cut and place them into the greased muffin tins.
Pour pie filling into each crust, filling them as full as you can without spilling outside the crust.
Place into pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes or until filling is set and crust is lightly browned. For a full size pie you’ll need more time – 60 minutes or so.