Pumpkin pie from a portable oven. Homemade.

Pumpkin pie. Every Thanksgiving if I’m around, I’ll make one. Not any other time of year—that would be inappropriate. Thanksgiving deserves a pumpkin pie. Homemade.

Not the crust—I gave up homemade crusts long ago. Pillsbury has a wonderful crust in a box. Pull it out, unfurl. Good enough, and it looks homemade because I get to fold the edge and when it bakes it warps and sags and drips. Now that’s homemade!

For this year’s pie I will claim half success. All the Pillsbury crusts were gone from the grocery store. Oh no. How could they? I could get the store brand—which I refused to buy—or the stick of dough wrapped in plastic. It was heavy. Natural ingredients. No lard. European. I got two.

A can of pumpkin pie filling. Fresh pumpkin doesn’t work, they say. Besides, who makes pumpkin pie from fresh pumpkins anymore? I didn’t read the can before putting it into my shopping cart. It was a “pumpkin pie kit.” Doesn’t that sound ridiculous? How can you have a kit in a can? I said that to myself when I got it home and was ready to bake. But that’s what I had to work with—a can of kit and a roll of dough.

Ultra-thick dough. Possibly as thick as an old National Geographic magazine but a little more flexible. I unrolled it into my pie dish. Then uncanned my pumpkin kit into a bowl. All I needed to do was add eggs and condensed milk from another can. That’s no fun. So I boosted the spices already in the kit. I ground cloves and allspice in my mortar and pestle. Added cinnamon. Even grated some fresh ginger. Yeah, it was going to smell like homemade pumpkin pie!

I popped it into my portable oven. Destined for problems. Since the oven heats from above, the top turned crusty brown, but the thick European dough on the bottom stayed a thick European dough. Chewy. Mmm—I had a great time scooping out the cooked filling, mixing with Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream, and tossing the doughy crust in the trash.

Half of the pie was gone that evening. I was totally responsible.

So that was my semi-successful pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving. Homemade.

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