Ramona Werst has a love for growing and cooking with basil. Currently, she has more than 30 varieties in her collection and she is adding to it all the time. She creates basil-infused recipes and would love to teach you how to Love Your Basil! Visit her blog (www.ramonasbasilgarden.com) to download her free e-book, Love Your Basil .
One of my favorite basils is cinnamon basil. Texas is getting cooler and the grocery stores are now selling pumpkins! This is my favorite time of the year because the holidays are just around the corner. When I see the pumpkins on display, I grab one and start to decorate around the house. I even have a Cinnamon Pumpkin Pie candle I light just to get me in the holiday mood!
Photo by brhefele/Courtesy Flickr
I love the mild cinnamon flavor when cooking with cinnamon basil. When I think of the holidays, I think of pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. My husband, David, doesn’t care for pumpkin pie (and I don’t like to waste fresh pumpkin that I've had on display), so I created this Cinnamon Basil Pumpkin Pie recipe instead. He loves it!
Cinnamon basil is one the easiest basils to grow. When planted from seed it takes approximately 5 to 7 days to sprout, depending on how warm the soil is. It can be started indoors and transplanted into gardens or into container pots. Cinnamon basil can grow up to 3 feet tall; if you pinch back the leaves, it can bush out to a full 3 feet. When I harvest my cinnamon basil, I wash it, pinch the leaves from the stems, chop it, place it in labeled ziplock bags, and freeze it. Anytime I want to use fresh cinnamon basil, all I have to do is reach into my freezer and I can cook with it all year round.
Cinnamon Basil Pumpkin Pie
To see the videos and download a printable version of the recipe, you can visit Love Your Basil.
• 1 medium pumpkin
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 9-inch single deep dish pie crust
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1 tablespoon fresh cinnamon basil
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 4 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1 cup honey, warmed slightly
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
TAKING SEEDS OUT OF THE PUMPKIN
1. Cut the top off the pumpkin and slice it in half. Make sure the outer layer of the pumpkin is washed.
2. Remove the seeds from the inside of the pumpkin by scraping the inside of it with a spoon. After you've made sure that all the seeds are removed, save them for a later date. (I suggest that you bake them as a nutritious snack.)
3. Spray the inside and the edges of the pumpkin with olive oil. Then, turn both the pieces upside down and place them on a cookie sheet to bake.
4. Bake at 325 degrees until a fork or knife can go through the shell easily.
Photo by elana's pantry/Courtesy Flickr
CUTTING THE CINNAMON BASIL
5. Whenever you clip basil, make sure that you take the larger leaves where there is new growth and don't clip the new growth. You can also clip the stragglers that you do not like to grow out of the pot.
6. Cut enough for the recipe. If you have clipped more than that, you can always freeze it for future use.
WASHING THE CINNAMON BASIL
7. Rinse the leaves with either cool or cold water so that it will liven up the basil leaves.
8. The amount of basil to be added to the recipe completely depends on your personal taste. However, if you have pinched off more leaves than you are going to use right away, save them in a ziplock bag and label them. You can always use the frozen basil in other great basil recipes.
9. Since we are going to blend the basil into recipe, it is important for you to cut the leaves in to tiny pieces with the help of a kitchen utility knife. The cinnamon basil will add plenty of spicy taste to the recipe.
MIXING THE INGREDIENTS
10. Once the pumpkin is out of the oven, scrape out the pumpkin from its shell and put it in a large bowl.
11. Puree the cinnamon basil leaves with milk in a container and set aside. You can use a blender or a food processor. I use a hand held beater to mix everything together. (It just seems to go easier!)
12. While you are beating the scraped out pumpkin, add spices and salt. Turn off the beater; add a slightly beaten egg. Start blending it all again and add a cup of warm honey and milk with the cinnamon basil.
13. Beat the whole mixture until smooth. You will now notice that the mixture is greenish and also very runny. However, the mixture will thicken (and darken) after it cooks.
14. Pour the mixture into a deep dish pie shell. Fill it to the rim, you can use a pie guard over the crust or foil so that it will not burn the edges of the pie crust.
15. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the filling comes out clean.
I hope you try this delicious Cinnamon Basil Pumpkin Pie in addition to your traditional pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving.
I’m Ramona Werst, teaching you to Love Your Basil.
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