Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Libby’s Pumpkin Pie with a two year old on the Side

Well as many of you have read and seen, I’ve been craving pumpkin pie this holiday season and have been unable to make it thus far because…
   a. lack of canned pumpkin availability
   b. lack of crust/graham cracker availability
   c. lack of knowledge by locals of what a pie is (I’m serious…they have
       tarts, but that’s about as close as you’re getting)
   d. lack of a correct pie tin in which to bake it
   e. lack of time

I mean don't you find it a bit ironic that I, Libby, have a hard time making pumpkin pie...

But today all these things changed…allow me to tell you how.
   a. I used FRESH pumpkin
   b. I made my own kruidnootje crust
   c. I already gots that knowledge, and don’t no one else need it
   d. We found one buried in the back of the closet…it’s shallow but it’ll
   e. Would you believe Fien slept in today AND took a nap AND wanted
       to help? (I wouldn’t either but trust me it’s true.)

Ok so when parts a. through e. come together, and with their powers combined we get: CAPTAIN LIBBY! Super Baker!!
Libby doesn’t just stand for unattainable American canned goods anymore!!
You could use this recipe, or you could follow mine (I guarantee mine is a lot more fun.)

So... here’s how you make a pie in the Netherlands, with a two year old (forth known as 2yo) at your side, no graham crackers, no canned pumpkin, no pie tins, a tiny forced air oven, and most importantly…patience.

First, the crust -
1. Smash large amounts of kruidnootjes into fine crumbs.  They're a little harder than graham crackers since they’re spice cookies that were on sale because it’s no longer Sinterklaas.  Use various instruments such as a rolling pin, nutcracker, hammer, plastic bag, cake pan, etc., until desired amount is reached an hour later.  This is best done the day before.  Make extra.  You’ll see why.  Watch out for 2yo's practice of slight of hand by hiding every fifth cookie in her pockets, smashing her fingers, and attempts at eating the finished product…
2. Mix one and a half cups with a fourth a cup sugar and 6 tablespoons melted butter.  Convert everything (slightly incorrectly) into metric units.  Kruidnoot is sweetened already so the sugar is not needed.  Forget that fact and add it anyway.  Pat into makeshift pie tins to form a crust while keeping the 2yo from eating the mixture straight from the bowl... Make two smaller ones as well.
3. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 until overdone…
4. Have 2yo succumb to her attention deficit by climbing on the counter while you’re washing your hands and drop the Nutella onto the pie tin crashing it to the floor.
5. Throw original pie crust away…it’s ok, you burnt it a little anyway...
6. Remember that extra kruidnoot you smashed? Repeat steps 2 and 3.  Marvel at how well it looks this time...

Onto the pumpkin-
7. Stare at the Dutch version of a pumpkin and wonder where it came from…certainly not the county fair...
8. Cut in half and think “so that what it looks like inside without two eyes and a toothy mouth…”
9. Scoop out seeds and stringy stuff and place in bowl with the intention of making pumpkin seeds.  These will be thrown away later when you realize you have no such desire….
10. Cut pumpkin again and place in a pot with about an inch and a half of water.  Cover and boil 15-20 minutes or until soft….
11. Remove pumpkin from water and scrape most of the flesh off of the skin.  It will come off pretty easily if you’ve boiled them long enough.  DON’T boil them long enough the first time.  Place goop in bowl…
     *note: the “hot pumpkin water” can be saved for most
                vegetable soups to substitute for “water.”
12. Puree the pumpkin until it’s nice and slimy…
13. Drain the pumpkin using coffee filters to remove excess water.  Remove a chicken from the freezer for dinner…

Now the filling!
14. Get out everything you need and realize you have to go to the store for more sugar and milk.  Nearly fall walking there as the snow has turned to ice.  Come back with all needed ingredients, plus chocolate…
15. Combine 2 cups pumpkin goop, 1 cup evaporated milk (koffee melk for those of you in the bulb land), 3/4 cup brown sugar, 2 eggs, and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl…
16. Blend well.  Wonder how something that looks gross now can taste so good later (lick the beaters clean and realize it also tastes good now)...
17. Pour into pie crust till almost brimming and likely to drip all over should someone hit your elbow while carrying it.  Do the same with the two mini pie tins.
18. Place in oven at 400 for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350 for another 45-60 or until fork test shows it’s done...
19. Forget about taking out the mini pies early and take them out one minute before they probably would have turned black.
20. Turn on Dora…
21. Make a yummy and healthy pasta dinner…
22. Take pie out of oven and set to cool and immediately “test” one of the mini ones to make sure it turned out…
23. Say “I am GOOD” because trust me, you are.
24. Put in fridge to await reheating at your traditional American Christmas dinner the following night.

Well there you have it.  I'd say that's easy enough. Hope you enjoyed the recipe and had as much fun as I did making it!
See you tomorrow!!!

Word of the day: pompoentaart - literally, pumpkin cake


  1. Happy Saturday, Sharefest, Libby.

    What I missed most when I was in Holland was real maple syrup and pancakes to put it on. My Dutch family and I argued who makes the best pancakes - Canadians or the Dutch - but a people who put molasses on pancakes can't really judge.


  2. That pie was yummy and now I see what you went through for it! hahaha. We should check out the American food store next time you're in Amsterdam.

  3. Amazing! It looks so yummy, too! I appreciate everything you did because I make my baby's food and man is it time consuming peeling squash. wooo. Enjoy your SITS day!

  4. Stopping by from SITS! I love that you used kruidnoten for the crust, that's a fab idea! I usually crush up Maria or digestive biscuits for crusts but I think you may have me hoarding leftover kruidnoten next year for pie crusts!

  5. There's nothing easy to me about making a pumpkin pie from scratch--you Rock!

    Congrats on your SITS day!

  6. Wow... kudos for you for having so much tenacity! Your pie looked lovely too!

    Happy SITS day. Enjoy the Netherlands... what an awesome adventure.

  7. American ingenuity prevails once again!

    Enjoy your Netherlands adventure!

  8. I have no doubt that your pumpkin pie is the best ever. The odds of me flying to Holland to eat one of your pies is greater then me actually making one!

  9. You are a rockstar!!! I too would let nothing stand in the way of me and a pie! Good girl.

    Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner

  10. Congrats on your SITS day and great post! :)

  11. Nice job! Stopping by from SITS.

  12. Congrats on your SITS day! I love this post! So creative, you are...(said in my best Yoda accent) So cool and loved the commentating. I'll be visiting again for sure!

  13. Happy SITS day! I remember a similar experience trying to make chocolate chip cookies in France...unfortunately my experience was not a successful as yours! Love your blog and hope you have a fabulous day!

  14. Wow, makes me tired just thinking about it! Next time I'll be glad to just mail you a piecrust and can of pumpkin if you'd like--although I'm sure the adventure made it taste twice as good!

  15. Happy SITS Day...I'm not a huge pumpkin pie fan, but I would definitely try this one!

  16. Happy SITS day! I love the recipe! I cut up cook and puree my kiddos Halloween pumpkins every year.. Last year we only got one pumpkin big enough for 4 kiddos. after 6 hours of cooking and pureeing I ended up with 40+ cups of pumpkin puree in my freezer... It is may and we still have some.. Needless to say we LOVE pumpkin!

  17. Very impressive! What did your Netherlands-family think of it?

  18. Stopping by from SITS! Happy SITS day!

    Adorable post! I have a friend that was an Aupair in Sweden... What an amazing adventure! Good for you!

  19. What a totally cute post! I love this!

    Creative, funny and clever!

    I am a new follower.

  20. Wow! I'm impressed. I want to know what the family thought of it too!

  21. Congrats on your sits day! That looks amazing but I don't think I could bring myself to make it, I have a toddler and I am not lucky enough for her to want to help me yet. :)

  22. Alright, I would have just given up if I couldn't get the "toss it in the crust" style ingredients. You, are a pumpkin pie warrior.

  23. Wow, you go girl!

    I am not sure I would've attempted that, I probably would've had my BFF or Mom send me a can or two of the Libby's, ha! :)

  24. Yummy! I want to go to your house for supper. :)

  25. This is possibly one of the funniest recipe posts I've ever read. The end.

  26. Here from SITS and I love that ! may definitely post a link to this! Thanks for that.

  27. It's interesting when you are somewhere else besides the US and you have to figure out how to do something that is so simple here. I'd say you did a good job. Question is, what did the family think of it???
    Happy SITS Day!!!

  28. What a fun adventure you're having. I think the nordic countries are the ones I would choose to visit if I had the chance. Seems like a country full of very sensible people - that's different enough from the US right there!

  29. Oh Libby! What a delightful blog! I was raised on the Mission Field (1-16 yrs-old) and often heard Mom's frustration over not having certain items that were SO readily available stateside. She always adapted - often with the help of the locals who laughed at her naivety ;-). When we returned to the States (imagine: the boonies to Southern California! Oh, I guess you can... just the other way around, eh?) I finally understood her issues.

    But there's something to be said about that sense of victory over seemingly insurmountable odds, isn't it? If you can bake a pumpkin pie in Noordwijk, well, then you can do just about anything!


    Great post, great site.

    Becky Doughty

  30. You and the 2yo should have your own cooking show. That's awesome. And something I will never try on my own.

  31. Hello fellow SITS girl. What a great post! You certainly know how to get creative over there...lol. Too funny, but it seems to have worked out in the end. Peace. :)

  32. Happy SITS day! What a wonderful thing you're doing with your life.

    Wish I would've done something like this.
    Well done.

    And was that pie really yummy?

  33. LOVE it!!! Makes me wonder what it was like for my mom when we lived in rural Colombia and had no access to a grocery store. And now I'm remembering how tired we all got of lentils and rice. Thanks for the trip down memory lane =)

  34. Wonderful job! I enjoyed your instructions! Do tell? What did your hosts think of it?

  35. Hysterical!!! I don't know that I'll try this particular recipe, though...

    Stopping by from SITS. Hope you enjoy your SITS day!!!

  36. Happy SITs Day! Your bio brought back memories of 1969 when I traveled to London at 17 to meet a friend. I had thought about becoming an aupair then at the time. Regrets I never followed through. Enjoy your dreams!

  37. Hey, did you come to my house this Thanksgiving? I always start making something and find I have to substitute or make do! I love your substitutes!

    I can't wait to start following you!


  38. Happy SITS Day! What a fantastic post. I love it!! I lived in Japan for 2.5 years and had many, many cooking experiences very similar to this. thanks for bring back fun memories :) Your pie turned out looking great by the way!

  39. that is awesome!! way to go girl. Visiting from SITS.

  40. Oh man, I feel ya. I lived in China for a year and had fun recipe experiments like this!

  41. Super cute post! been there, done that :0)
    Happy SITS Day (even though I'm late...hehehe)

  42. go captain libby! nothing beats ingenuity and patience (plus just plain awesomeness) when face with adversity. i am interested in the pasta dinner, though....

  43. I admire your perseverance. And it sure paid off with your great pumpkin pie. Congratulations.

    www.FunnyPhotosContest.com. Submit CUTE or FUNNY photos and tell friends to vote. $2,000 in prizes. No entry fee.

  44. Love this, thanks for sharing! I live in Berlin and have also wondered if the orange things they call pumpkins here really are pumpkins ... and indeed, they must be!! Next year I will have to get brave enough to actually bake with one :)

  45. Thanks for the suggestion about using koffiemelk! I will have to try that next time -- I used whipping cream this time, and WAY too much of it!


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