Adventures in Baking: Maple Pumpkin Pie

On October 27-31, The Long Dark held an in-game Halloween event titled 4 Days of Night. I was excited to see my favorite game do an event for my favorite holiday, so I made time on each of the four days to settle in with a cup of hot cider and bask in the spooky nighttime atmosphere of 4DoN, and I’m beyond glad I did. It exceeded my expectations. I took a ton of screenshots, which I may post at a later time, but for now, this post is about baking.

On the 31st, players were treated to pumpkin pies that had the affect of keeping us warm to help combat the intense blizzard that also descended upon that fateful day. Being a baking enthusiast, I loved the look and idea of the pies, so I decided to whip up a real one on Halloween night.

piescreen

The 4DoN pie’s defining visual feature is the paw print in the center. It’s easy enough to shape out of dough, and I placed it on top when the pie was a little more than halfway through baking. I probably could have placed it earlier because it turned out to have a lighter color than the crust, but it was still baked through.

I decided on a whim to add some maple flavor as a nod to The Long Dark‘s Canadian wilderness setting. I used maple extract, which added slightly more flavor but didn’t come out as strong as I would’ve liked. Next time I bake this, I think I’ll include maple syrup to give it even more of that distinct maple flavor as well as a denser texture. It was still delicious, though, and you really can’t go wrong with the combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger.

I also want to be sure to add that I adapted this recipe from this one, using adjusted measurements and different flavor combinations. My version makes two thinner pies, so you should have half of the mixture leftover for another pie. If you want to make one deep dish pie, you’ll have to bake it longer, I think about 65-75 minutes total.

The Long Dark‘s Warming Maple Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:
The innards of one small pumpkin pureed, or 1 15-oz. can of pumpkin (I used a local brand of organic canned pumpkin.)
2 eggs plus one egg yolk
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated cane sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream or 1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
1 tsp pure maple extract
2 tsps cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
A pinch of salt (I always use ground Celtic sea salt, but this is up to you!)
1 pie crust plus leftover dough for the paw print (You can use store-bought crusts for this or make your own. Here’s a great recipe for an easy crust.)

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cut out a paw print from excess dough. I just free-handed it based on the in-game image.

2. Beat eggs and mix in dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, maple extract, spices, and salt. Stir until well mixed, making sure there are no lumps from the sugar.

3. Add in pumpkin and heavy cream or evaporated milk. Stir until well mixed.

4. Pour mixture evenly into pie shell.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

6. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake an additional 30 minutes.

7. When the pie has about 15 minutes left to bake, place the paw print dough shapes in the center of the pie and continue baking until done. The pie should be a nice brownish orange color, and it should be well set but still slightly wet.

8. Serve and enjoy the warming, wildlife-repelling properties of your pie on a long autumn night!

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