Well well well, it's marvellous when a cool head and a cool countertop come together to solve the great Pumpkin Pecan Pie conundrum of 2009. After numerous consultations (cheers Leith's Baking Bible and the Market Kitchen home economists) I managed to work out what was going wrong with my pie. As suspected, the kitchen was too hot to make good pastry; but I can't just blame the central heating. I was also reminded of the films I presented for Richard & Judy a few years back, cooking & eating regional Italian food. In Bologna, while attempting to make tagliatelle, a diminutive granny chef slapped my palms and told me my hands were too hot to make pasta. So clearly my pie failure is all my fault.
I also realised pre-baking the crust for 10 mins before filling it with the treacly pecan goo prevents any cracks in the pastry and makes for a nice, crispy bottom. Why did this little nugget of wisdom not cross my mind earlier?? Here in the UK, people take their desserts very seriously; in the US, no one would think twice about not pre baking the pastry "to save time", or opening a few cans of this and that, bunging it in a store bought pre-baked pie shell and calling it "homemade". I have realised that even after 17 years of life in London, old kitchen habits die hard.
Anyway, here is Ruth's Pumpkin & Pecan Pie...with corrected crust and in tip top form. i'll post the recipe when it's up on the Market Kitchen website. By the way, there's none left- I've dished a few pieces out the the handymen who have come this morning to hang our pictures; the rest is going to my agent.