Caramel Cardamom Pumpkin Pie

I have been waiting all year for fall to arrive so that I would have an excuse to make pumpkin pie. Well I cheated and made the famous Libbey's recipe in April but now seems like the perfect time- there's a nip in the air and pumpkins on every doorstep and I also located 2 tins of pumpkin at my local grocers ( Seriously what's with the tinned pumpkin shortage?).
This year I searched through many recipes and finally settled on Gourmet magazine's which is laced with caramel. I also had a nagging suspicion that caramom was the missing pumpkin spice mix ingredient and boy was I right!
Many bloggers say that canned pumpkin tastes as good as using the real thing, but I'm planning to test that and  found a cute, small cooking pumpkin  that I plan to turn into another pie soon. In the meanwhile I had all these dreams of going Anne Gedes with the jellybean posing cutely with it. Unfortunately my 10 month old preferred to treat it as a football or slap at it and roll it away so I couldn't get one picture with both the pumpkin and my little pumpkin in the same frame :(
Fortunately the pie behaved very well and turned out great!

Caramel Cardamom Pumpkin Pie
Recipe source: Maggie Rugiero for Gourmet Magazine Nov 2006 from here
Active time: 45 including baking and cooling: 6 hours


For Pastry crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water to which some ice cubes have been added

For Pie Filling:
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 cups heavy cream
1 (15-oz) can pumpkin (not pie filling; a scant 2 cups)
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
4 cardamoms either powdered or smashed to release the oils
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten

Special equipment: a pastry or bench scraper or a large fork ; a 10-inch fluted metal quiche pan (2 inches deep) with a removable bottom; pie weights/ coins or raw rice

Make dough for pie crust:
Blend together flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Drizzle evenly with 4 tablespoons ice water and gently stir with a fork (or pulse in processor) until incorporated.
Squeeze a small handful of dough: If it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until incorporated, then test again. (Do not overwork dough or pastry will be tough.)
Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather all of dough together with scraper and press into a ball, then flatten into a 5-inch disk. Chill dough, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 14-inch round, then fit into quiche pan and trim excess dough flush with rim of pan. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

Bake shell:
Lightly prick bottom of shell all over with a fork, then line with foil and fill with pie weights. Put quiche pan on a baking sheet and bake pie shell until side is set and edge is pale golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Carefully remove weights and foil and bake shell until bottom is golden, about 10 minutes more. Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 30 minutes.

Make filling while shell cools:
Bring sugar and water to a boil in a 3- to 3 1/2-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Add the cardamom.
Boil syrup on high heat, washing down side of pan occasionally with a pastry brush dipped in cold water and gently swirling pan (do not stir), until mixture is a deep golden caramel, about 10 minutes but be careful it doesn't burn too much.
Reduce heat to moderate and carefully add 1 cup cream (mixture will bubble vigorously), stirring until caramel is dissolved. Stir in remaining cup cream and bring just to a simmer.
Whisk together pumpkin purée, spices, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in hot cream mixture, then add eggs, whisking until combined well. Pour filling into cooled crust and bake until puffed 1 1/2 inches from edge and center is just set, 55 to 60 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack, about 2 hours. (Don't worry if it looks a little runny. The pie will continue to set as it cools.)

Dough can be chilled up to 1 day or frozen, wrapped well in foil, 1 month.
Pie shell can be baked 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped in plastic wrap, at room temperature.
Pie is best eaten the same day but can be baked 1 day ahead and cooled completely, then chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Am sending over a warm piece of pie to the passionate about baking Deeba who is hosting this month's Monthly Mingle started by Meeta with the theme baking with fruit.

Green mung rice gruel / Cherupayar with Kanji- Better than Chicken soup!

It has been an eventful last couple of weeks that left me with very little time or energy to post. We were attacked by a horrid flu that had us all sniffling and feverish but the worst were these loud hacking coughs that went on for days. I unearthed this Ogden Nash gem which sums up exactly how we felt.
Thankfully the little jelly bean and my mom in law who is visiting us, escaped the flu and we got over it too, soon enough, just in time for the Bridge school benefit concert!
I also had a pleasant visit by an old college friend who brought me some yummy chocolate fudge and then by my best friend from school! Now eagerly awaiting my visitors this month- a cousin and then my best blogger buddie -Ria of Ria's collection! Can't wait to meet her finally!
Well in the midst of all this I have been cooking and learning from my awesome mom in law who has converted me to into being someone who now uses measurements and actually follows those pesky instructions- the consistent results you get are reward enough! No more wondering what I did wrong this time or if my curries are too salty.
Thought I would post this simple and basic recipe for cherupayar or green mung lentil that I am convinced helped to cure our colds!

I hope you have all been well. But if you have fallen a victim to the nasty flu season too, this simple and hearty lentil dish served steaming hot with rice in the water that it has been cooked in is waaay better than that can of campbells chicken soup I know you were reaching for.
Cherupayar is easy to digest and does not put additional strain on an already weakened body fighting so many evil germies. The hot steaming soup-like kanji soothes sore throats and opens up blocked nosies.

Recipe source: This is an everyday kerala dish that I learnt to perfect from my mother-in-law.

2 cups Green mung
2 tsp salt
1 medium onion
1 head of garlic (about 8 pods)
4-5 curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric
4 tsp crushed chilly flakes
3 tsp coconut or other vegetable oil

Pressure cook the mung dal in 3 and 3/4ths cup of water to which the salt has been added.
Let it whistle 6 times ( include the ssh sounds which don't sound quite as loud as a regular whistle)
If you're not using a pressure cooker, you can simply put the beans in a large pot of water and cook until soft, but this will take longer.
Meanwhile chop the onions into long thin slices or small cubes.
Slice the garlic thinly and fry in the oil on medium heat until it turns light brown.
Now add the onions and sautee until translucent.
Now add the curry leaves, turmeric, chilly flakes and stir until the raw smell leaves and you can see that the oil has separated and is glistening on the surface of the onions.
Turn the heat down to a simmer
Add the cooked green mung and stir until well mixed.

To make the rice gruel or kanji, cook 2 cups of rice in 4 cups water until rice is soft. Reserve the water and serve a ladelful of the rice still in the water along with the green mung.
Am sending this to My Legume Love Affair hosted this month at Dil se