"The only thing sweeter than victory is victory a la mode." That's the tag line of Chicago's South Side Pie Challenge and let me tell you, it is the truth.
My tween and I were elated when our pumpkin pie earned a ribbon at this year's pie challenge. We had never entered a pie contest before and it was fun to work in the kitchen together and play with different recipes to create the taste we wanted. The end result was a pumpkin pie that tastes like fall on a fork. It made our taste buds happy and pleased the judges enough to win third place in our category. Here's our award-winning, easy pumpkin pie recipe:
Pumpkin Pie Filling
1 15 oz. can pumpkin (NOT premade Pumpkin Pie Mix)
2 Large Eggs
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
3 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
pinch of Salt
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves
1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
2 pinches Nutmeg
3/4 cup Whole Milk
1/2 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
We are not crust makers, my tween and I, so we purchased a frozen deep dish crust. We're going with the "It's what's on the inside that counts" philosophy. Please don't judge. (If you want to make your own crust, go for it and send us your favorite recipe. After the fun of the South Side Pie Challenge, we're seeking to become crust people before next year's event.)
Preheat the oven to 350. Blind bake your pie shell so the crust on the bottom isn't all soggy.
In large bowl, whisk together all the pie filling ingredients until smooth. Pour into prepared pie shell.
Bake approximately 30 minutes. (Ours took a bit longer but ovens vary. Far be it from me to give instructions that mean a burned pie. If it's not done at 30 minutes, no worries, just keep it in a few minutes longer.)
To make the pie special, we decided to pretty it up for the contest. We did this by using a small cookie cutter to cut leaves out of an extra pie crust. We baked them separately for a few minutes and then placed them around the outer crust and center of the pie in the last minutes of cooking.
This recipe was adapted from this one from Woodland Bakery. For our recipe we've amped up the spices. The good folks at Woodland Bakery call for real maple syrup. We didn't have any. My tween and I decided to "make do or do without." We used the Trader Joe's maple syrup (not pure) we had on hand and cut back on the amount of sugar that they called for. As it is, this is a sweet pie. If that's not your thing, reduce the sugar. But the maple syrup gives it a wonderful fall flavor.
A kitchen savvy tween could probably handle making this solo (with oven supervision). Even those not so into cooking can help with measuring, whisking or cutting out crust leaves.
RELATED CONTENT: 2 ingredient pumpkin cake recipe
This pie will definitely be making an appearance at our Thanksgiving table. The only thing that could make it better is a cup of Home-Everyday's Warm Vanilla Spiced Cider.
My tween and I had never entered a baking or cooking contest of any kind prior to last week's South Side Pie Challenge. We did so not out of culinary ambition but to support organizer and fellow ChicagoNow Blogger Julie, who writes the Cook's County blog and because the pie contest proceeds benefit programs that feed the hungry on Chicago's South Side.
As with most charitable endeavors, we reaped surprising benefits and gained far more than we gave, including a mug that says "I prevailed at the challenge," my tween got a vocabulary lesson on the meaning of prevailed, and we got one of these snazzy ribbons! Best of all, my tween and I had fun baking together, made some new friends, learned that pie people are good people and realized that we have much for which to be thankful.
Happy pie making/eating and happy Thanksgiving!
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