|There is nothing that makes me laugh more…”Little” swimming in the cement pond!|
“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”
|Bottlebrush flowers, along with others have begun to bloom in the park.|
To name yesterday’s making and baking of eight pumpkin pies, “pumpkin pie hell” is putting it lightly. The temp was as high as 40C (102F) for most of the day and one thing after another went wrong in making the pies.
|Egyptian goose standing in shallow water at the river.|
First, I must preface, I haven’t made a pumpkin pie since 2011, for our last Thanksgiving dinner in the US (except for last week’s “test pie”). I didn’t have the proper kitchen equipment to make the beautiful-looking pies I’d always made in the past.
In our old lives, we had 14 deep dish Pyrex glass pie pans which I’d collected over a number of years. But, when sending family and friends home with their individual pie, I warned them if they didn’t return the glass pie pan, there’d be no “pie for them” in the future. This worked.
|Big Daddies, sharing pellets with each other and the zebras.|
Since it makes no sense for us to invest in bakeware, instead we purchased the only pie pans we could find, the tin foil disposable variety. I’d never made a pumpkin pie in one of these except for a few low-carb cheesecakes a few months ago which didn’t present a problem.
The other issue was the Spar market ran out of frozen pumpkin, the only source available. We’d purchased all they had the prior week and they promised more would arrive this past week. Didn’t happen. This is Africa, after all. We get it.
|A very muddy cape buffalo.|
We tried a few other markets to no avail. Pumpkin isn’t readily available in South Africa. Why would it be? Pumpkin pie is a US thing and it’s not as if there are lots of Americans around here, making Thanksgiving dinner.
As a matter of fact, the only Americans we know or even talked to in the past nine months are friends Kathy and Don and long-term US residents Rita and Gerhard.
|A big male lion a few days ago.|
I decided to cook all the frozen pumpkin we had, measure the number of cups, figuring .41 liters (14 oz) per pie. Fortunately, I had a one-cup measure on hand and calculated I could make a total of eight pies. We needed one for each of the other couples (four pies), two to serve after the meal, and two leftovers for Tom. Whew! That part worked out.
But, what a messy operation measuring from a big plastic container filled with mashed pumpkin. Next was the making of the pies. Having no experience with tin foil pie pans, I made all the pie crusts from scratch, eight of them, one at a time, rolled the dough with a giant rolling pin Louise loaned me, and prepared each of the crusts in the tin foil pans.
|I believe this is an orange-breasted bush shrike. Please correct me if I’m wrong.|
Well, let’s get back to the weather for a moment. It was a hot 40C (102F) and the pie crust dough was tricky to handle and get into each of the pie tins. Plus, the usually easy part of neatly crimping the edges of the pie crust became nearly impossible. I did the best I could.
|Cape buffalo faces.|
Once the crusts were prepared I lined them all on the counter and carefully and evenly filled each of the prepared pie crusts with the typically runny pumpkin pie filling I’d made. The problem was when we attempted to lift the filled pies off the countertop to put them into the oven, the flimsy pie tins caused the liquid the spill out.
|Mom and baby at the river’s edge.|
With Tom helping, with his frustration level as high as the temperature, he devised a transfer system where we could add extras tins to the bottom of the pies, to increase the stability of the pan. From there, it was a slow and laborious process, I spilled several cups of the filling as a result of my usual clumsiness.
The oven cooks unevenly and without the metal crust edge protectors I usually used, the pie crust edges are uneven and overcooked in parts. But, that’s the way it is in this life, a lack of perfection but an abundance of joyfulness. Not a bad trade-off, eh?
|Here are my eight less-than-perfect pumpkin pies for tonight’s Thanksgiving dinner. The pit in the bottom right is low carb with an almond flour crust for Louise and Danie. They also loaned us the collection of serving pieces which will surely come to good use tonight.|
Here is the photo of my pies, less than pretty, but hopefully will taste as good as the test pie a few days ago. We’ll be back tomorrow with more food photos from our “Thanksgiving Dinner in the Bush.”
|Here is the giant rolling pin I borrowed from Louise and Danie, previously used for rolling pizza crusts. It’s weighted and very heavy, ideal for rolling pie crusts. Also, in this photo are the takeaway containers Dawn and Leon provided, who’ll join us tonight, from Jabula Lodge & Restaurant where we had another fantastic dinner last night.|
Have a fabulous weekend!
Photo from one year ago today, November 17, 2017:
|Tom Lyman, you never cease to amaze me! What a shot of the classic “Froot Loops” cereal (per Tom) Toucan, technically known as the Rainbow-billed Toucan, aka the Keel-billed Toucan (different than the Toucan in our previous post with the Fiery-billed Aracari Toucan as shown here) taken in our yard in Atenas, Costa Rica. For more photos, please click here.|