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Oh my pumpkin pie

Various recipes give life to annual holiday indulgence

Toss the cheesecake or Black Forest any day, it’s pumpkin pie I hanker for during the pre-Thanksgiving time.

"Pumpkin (products) are the biggest seller at this time of year, even more so than at Christmas," says Ken Quon, manager of IGA in Marketplace, who orders around 350 cans of pumpkin filling each October.

He says most pie makers have gone from baking "from scratch" to another level of convenience.

"Very few people want to make the pies from scratch from a real pumpkin, and dig out all the seeds," says Quon.

That’s what they did in the old days.

The very first pumpkin pie was made in the Colonial era, when a crude form of the pie was made by slicing off the top of a pumpkin, then filling the inside with a warm mixture of milk, spices, and honey.

Cans of pie filling, like that from topseller E.D.Smith, fly off the shelves during the first week of October, while pies from the bakery are sold for around $3 each, or two for $5.

Surprisingly, pumpkins themselves are top sellers closer to Halloween, as opposed to the pre- and post-Thanksgiving weeks, says Quon. Prices range between 12 and 19 cents per pound, the upper end coming in the heat of the day Oct. 31.

With its more elegant pinched-edges crust and cinnamon brown filling, the modern day pumpkin pie is difficult to master. The major baking question which befuddles even the best Anthony Bourdains, is how do you keep pie crust from going soggy?

According to Net advice from Chef Hannah, "blind baking" is key – especially with the use of heavy fillings like pumpkin ooze into the pastry.

To avoid your crust getting soggier than a wool sweater in a rainstorm, prick the pie crust with a fork each side and bottom.

The crust can also be lined with foil or parchment paper.

What also makes a good pumpkin pie, is a good recipe.

From tofu pumpkin pie to Wolfgang Puck’s best bet, there’s a wide range of options for your culinary delights.

For a veggie potluck, prepare this quick and easy tofu pumpkin pie.

1 can (16 ounces) pureed pumpkin

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 package (10-12 ounces) soft tofu, processed in blender until smooth

1 9-inch unbaked pie shell

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