The cover of the Tri-City Herald's Food & Wine section Nov. 25 will feature last minute recipes for Thanksgiving dinner. Inside you'll find more recipes plus buying, cooking and health tips on a variety of food-related subjects.
Red Chile Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
New Mexico food editor Gwyneth Doland shares her recipe for this spicy dessert. This fluffy pie is a lighter alternative to the dense, rich pumpkin pie most of us are used to. It's served chilled, so the red chile kick comes as a pleasant contrast. NOTE: This recipe requires advance preparation.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening
3 to 6 tablespoons ice water
1/4 cup very hot water
1 envelope (2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
3 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons (more or less) mild red chile powder
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup heavy cream
Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl and stir to mix. Using a pastry blender, your hands, or two butter knives, quickly work the butter and lard into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal with some big, pea-sized chunks.
Sprinkle the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time over the flour and mix with a fork or your hands, adding just enough water so that the mixture comes together and can be gathered into a ball. Press the ball into a thick disc, wrap the disc in plastic, and refrigerate 20 minutes.
Remove the chilled dough and allow it to rest at room temperature 5 minutes. Roll it out into an 1/8-inch-thick round, transfer it to a pie pan, and flute the edges.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and refrigerate the crust another 20 minutes.
Remove the crust and prick it all over with a fork. Place a piece of aluminum foil over the bottom of the crust and weigh it down with dry beans.
Bake the crust 10 minutes. Remove the foil and beans, lower the temperature to 350°F, and bake until the crust is golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Cool the crust on a wire rack.
Place a mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer to chill. Pour the hot water into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it, stirring vigorously until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
Separate the eggs, putting the yolks into the top of a double boiler (or, if you don't have one, a large stainless steel bowl that you place over a pot of boiling water) and the whites into a mixing bowl.
Add 1/3 cup sugar to the yolks and whisk until the mixture is thick, creamy, and pale yellow. Add the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, chile powder, and dissolved gelatin. (Don't worry about clumps in the gelatin‹they'll dissolve when the mixture is heated.) Start heating the water in the double boiler, or if you're using a large bowl instead, set the bowl over a pan of boiling water, making sure the bowl doesn't actually touch the water.
Stir constantly until the mixture thickens considerably and thickly coats the back of a spoon.
Remove the yolk mixture from the heat and whisk in the pumpkin until combined. Set the bowl over another, larger bowl of ice water. Whisk the mixture about 5 minutes or longer, if you can. Remove the bowl from the ice water and chill in the refrigerator. In a standing mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Slowly add the remaining 1/3 cup sugar and continue beating until the soft peaks become satiny and stiff. Scrape the whites out into a small bowl.
Using the chilled mixing bowl and beaters, whip the cream until medium peaks form.
Gently fold the pumpkin mixture into the whipped cream, then into the egg whites. Scoop the mixture into the prepared crust and chill, covered, 4 hours or overnight.
Serve the pie garnished with additional whipped cream.
Heat rating: mild
From:The Complete Chile Pepper Book by Dave DeWitt and Paul W. Bosland (Timber Press, 2009).