Easy as Pie
The image before you is a testament to perseverance in the face of adversity; to the commitment to a losing cause; to the irrational love of pie, regardless of imperfection. It is a pumpkin pie with NO sugar.
I adore pumpkin pie. Fall is my favorite season of the year, in part because the abundant harvest of sweet potatoes and squash varieties lends itself so well to the creation of custardy, spiced, sweet pie goodness. I have been known to request pumpkin pie for birthday cake. When hosting Christmas at our house this year, I decreed that the pie choices would be pumpkin and pumpkin. The family generally does pumpkin and something else (apple, pecan, chocolate silk) but really, WHY BOTHER when there is pumpkin to be had? A generous slice of pumpkin pie, topped with unsweetened whipped cream, and a holiday meal is in the bag!
My husband is a wonderful cook. His ancestral crescent roll recipe is a fabulous thing. He makes pie crust better than anyone else who cooks in this family. He arose early Christmas morning to begin a day of non-stop prepping, cooking, and cleaning and pulled off a fabulous Christmas feast with only minimal help from my sister and me. (We made the green beans sauteed in bacon grease and topped with nuts. Yummy.) By the time he got to pie, the kitchen was crowded, people were talking while he was mixing and pouring and, well, sad to say, a crucial ingredient was neglected.
The absence of sugar in a pumpkin pie renders it, in essence, pumpkin quiche. As he sliced into pie #1, he commented that it had set up better than any pumpkin pie he’d ever made. (Evidently quiche doesn’t crack on the top they way pie does. Must be the sugar.) One bite revealed his error. The pie’s beauty belied the absence of sweet goodness inside. His face fell; I wiped away a tear. We added powdered sugar to the whipped cream and forged ahead. We ate a whole pie that way, plus most of a second. (There were 11 of us, don’t worry.)
However, now that the Christmas spirit is slowly leaving the house, the magic that season brings with it fades as well. I find myself unable, or unwilling, to whip another batch of cream and add 1/2 C of powdered sugar to it, in the hopes of rendering quiche into a sweet, dessert-y treat. I look in the fridge and see this last large wedge of pumpkin (on top of a splendid crust) in much the same way I look at the piles of Christmas presents littering the living room floor. It is time to clean up and put Christmas away. I need to hit the running trail again (all that whipped cream, dontcha know) and the kids head back to school Wednesday.
The pie is a goner.