Cooking

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pumpkin-pie-slice

I have taken to using the moniker Homestead in recipe titles now, apparently. This is more accidental than deliberate though now that I think through it a little more, it kind of works.

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My very (un)professional thinking is that food can qualify for this title if a.) it uses common homestead ingredients (eggs and milk in this recipe, for instance) and b.) feeds a hungry work crew with good old simple food. There is a recipe for Homestead Chi in Traditionally Fermented Foods, for instance, that is named as such because it makes use of one of our most fruitful crops – the humble turnip.

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Similarly, this pie uses eggs from our hens and milk from our goats to create a custard. It is sweetened with a combination of honey and molasses, balancing all of the components you want in a pumpkin pie – sweet, rich, and spicy. A homegrown pumpkin or squash would work beautifully here and you betcha I’ve got that on the list for next summer’s garden.

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The result is a nicely spiced, rich and creamy, gently-sweetened pumpkin pie with less than half of the sugar of the usual suspects. The top of the custard turns a deep mahogany upon baking while the middle retains a very pumpkin-like appearance.

pumpkin-pies

At the end of the day, when company came for a visit, we all thought this was a pumpkin pie to repeat. I decided I would write down the recipe so that we could actually recreate it a second time, and share it here with you. It’s so good, you don’t really need to gild this lily, but might I recommend whipped cream made in a mason jar as a possible topping?

Homestead Honey-Molasses Pumpkin Pie

Your pie crust options are many here, but might I make a few recommendations? If you are looking for a Gluten-Free Pie Crust, this one is always a winner. If you are looking for a Sourdough Rye Pie Crust, check out the flaky deliciousness in my book, 100% Rye. Otherwise, wing it with 2 cups flour, 1.25 cups fat (butter, lard, palm shortening), a pinch of salt, and cool water as needed.

Makes two 9″ pies

Ingredients

  • 2 pie crusts (see note above)
  • 2 cans pumpkin
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk (I used goat milk)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Make and roll pie crusts. Line two 9″ pie pans with crust and flute edges as desired.

Mix all other ingredients in a large mixing bowl until completely homogenous. Pour into prepared pie crusts and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn the heat down to 350 degrees. Bake an additional 30 – 40 minutes, or until just set in the middle.

Remove and allow to cool completely before slicing and serving.

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P.S. Coconut oil buckets are just the right height for little pie-maker stools.

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The first draft of the cover.

When Joshua was two weeks old, Stewart walked in to the room to find me laughing, baby in arms, laptop open in front of me. I had been in that dreamy first two weeks where nothing really exists except babies and food – ya know, cuz you’re feeding another human. This was the day I was finally willing to fully delve into my inbox.

The email that made me laugh came from an Editor at Page Street Publishing who I now know as Elizabeth. She said she was a fan of Nourishing Days and had shown her publisher our site and he recommended exploring a book option with us.

I laughed for so many reasons. Because I sat nursing my two-week old baby. Because we’d talked to other publishers before and it was never a good fit. Because I was already feeling that guilt you get when you have a new baby and you’re sure all of the other children are feeling neglected. (In reality they don’t, I realize. They get to spend more time with Daddy which is pretty much always way more fun.)

Stewart encouraged me to set up a call and so I spent an hour talking to Will who runs Page Street. No other publisher had offered to sit down and talk to me, and certainly not for an hour, so that was encouraging. He asked what I wanted to write about. He asked why my take on fermentation was different. He told me he wanted to get goats too and that he and his family were interested in going to solar and maybe even homesteading. I could hear his baby girl cooing in the background.

After much prayer and discussion, we signed with Page Street and I got to work. Jars and jars and jars of vegetable ferments filled the earliest weeks. Dozens and dozens of wheat and gluten-free sourdough baked goods came out of my oven shortly thereafter. Milk kefir and yogurt and wild kvasses filled my summer. Hot sauces and fermented vegetable brine-based sauces and salsas ended in August.

I handed in the manuscript, including 80+ recipes, August 30th and celebrated with a huge glass of water kefir. Huge.

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A photo outtake including various recipes from throughout the book.

One of the sticking points for me, having fermented a lot of these foods for over a decade now, was to make sure that the photos accurately represented the reality of fermentation – yeast strands in kombucha, bubbles in kvass, the funk along with the pretty. To that end, after a crash course in basic food photography, they signed me on as the photographer for the project. In this respect, they really took a chance on me and I am grateful.

On September 30th I handed in 90-some photos of the 80+ recipes. I celebrated by nursing the baby and picking vegetables from the garden.

The thing that was different about Page Street – and one of the reasons we signed with them – is because they seemed to believe wholeheartedly in allowing me to write the book that I wanted to write. For the first time I was not being shoved into some fermented foods book mold made generically to throw another book on the shelf. Elizabeth and Will cared about my vision enough to let me write about the sustainability aspect of fermented foods, the science behind making fermented foods work in your kitchen, how to use and store these foods without refrigeration, and recipes that go beyond the usual suspects you can find on the internet.

I’m finishing up some edits this week and, in reading back through it all, am so grateful for how this has turned out. I am really excited to share it with you all!

Lord willing, Traditionally Fermented Foods will be available May 9, 2017.