With all that has been going on in my life lately, my baking ~ even the emotional kind ~ has taken a back seat to chaos. It is a known fact that I love to bake, not for myself, but for others. It makes me intrinsically happy to bring others joy from my kitchen. But I find myself as of late, unable to find the time to enjoy all that comes with tying my apron strings.
A good friend of mine just had a birthday and for as long as I can remember I have baked him a pumpkin pie to mark his special day. In years past when I couldn't find the time to get it to him I had my husband play delivery driver. This year, I almost didn't find the time to bake the pie. He'd understand, I thought, I'll just let it go this year. Thankfully, my conscience got the best of me and I made some time to whip up my friend's belated birthday pie. Before long, my kitchen smelled like fall, and the scents of cinnamon and nutmeg lifted my spirits.
While the very act of baking the pie made me happy, I had no idea what else that pie would do to elevate my mood. When I arrived at my friend's house to deliver the fresh baked birthday gift I was rewarded beyond belief by the excitement on the faces of his three boys. They were literally jumping for joy! Apparently their dad isn't the only one who enjoys eating my pumpkin pies.
My friend told me that he was very surprised to see me. He honestly thought that this was the year that our tradition would end. His appreciation was more than I could have hoped for. He told me that people sometimes take things for granted and don't really realize that the simplest things mean the most. Truer words were never spoken. I am so lucky to have wonderful people in my life; they truly lift me up. For that, I am emphatically grateful. I now realize that this is one tradition that is worth every effort to continue. Next year, however, I think my friend and his family deserve two pies.
The Pumpkin Pie That Keeps On Giving:
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup nutmeg
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup cream
~ Combine pumpkin, sugar, eggs, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice & nutmeg in a large bowl.
~ Mix together evaporated milk and cream and gradually stir into pumpkin mixture.
~ Mix well.
Graham Pie Crust:
6 tbsp butter, melted
1 1/2 cups graham crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
~ Mix and press into pie plate.
~ Bake @ 350 degrees for 8~10min, let cool before filling.
* When you are short on time (as I was in this case) a store bought graham pie shell works just as well.
~ Pour filling into pie crust.
~ Bake @ 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes.
~ Let cool.
Whipped Cream Topping:
~ Whip 500ml heavy whipping cream in a glass bowl with a whisk attachment until stiff peaks form.
~ Once pie has cooled, spread whipped topping to cover pie and dust with cinnamon.
~ Top with chopped walnuts.