(Spiceless) Browned Butter Pumpkin Pie with Candied Pepitas
My pie: pumpkin. My topping: sweetened whipped cream. My weapon: fork.
Lacking much of a sweet tooth, I don’t really know where my love of baking came from. Right now, my work and this blog reflect an appreciation for science and mathematics, for deep thought, for art, and for movement. But that couldn’t have been the case as I crushed bananas to a pulp for bread while my mom’s hands gripped mine, guiding strokes of the potato masher because I wasn’t yet tall enough or strong enough to operate it myself. That couldn’t have been the case as I decorated gingerbread men and women with globs of sugary royal icing in bold primary colors, spreading them with a butter knife that felt awkward in my hand.
It is most likely that pastry first gripped me at the Thanksgiving table. When November arrives I start getting that feeling in the back of my throat—that saliva-inducing tingly sensation when I think about salty potato-chip-crisp turkey skin and deep, savory gravy; unctuous bacon fat; and earthy roasted potatoes. Of course, I make dessert, exercising my hands and thanking all that’s living for their ability to shape dough that encases fillings that light up faces. But it’s not that apple pie that I crave, even though I love it, or that spice cake, with its creamy frosting that pulls me. I typically crave all things savory.