My Favorite Pumpkin Pie
Author: 
Serves: Makes 1 pie
 
Ingredients
  • For the crust:
  • 1¼ cups all purpose flour (about 5.6 oz by weight)
  • 1 TBSP granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. Kosher salt (or ¼ tsp. fine grain sea salt)
  • 1 stick very cold unsalted butter (8 TBSP, or 4 oz. by weight -- I like to keep mine in the freezer)
  • 3-5 TBSP ice cold water, as needed
  • For the filling:
  • 1 ¾ cups fresh pumpkin puree
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup turbinado sugar (or light brown sugar)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. Pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. Allspice
  • ⅛ tsp. cloves (optional)
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt (or about ½ tsp. fine sea salt)
Instructions
  1. For the crust:
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut the butter into ½ inch cubes, and add to the bowl. Using a pastry cutter (or a couple of forks or knives) cut the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs. The biggest pieces of butter should be about the size of large peas. (Alternatively, pulse together the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of your food processor. Add the butter and pulse until it resembles coarse crumbs, then dump into a large bowl and continue to the next step.)
  3. Add 3 TBSP ice cold water to the dough, and mix it around with your fingertips. The flour will still look quite dry, but that's okay. Add more water 1 tsp at a time as needed – you know the dough is wet enough when you can take a small handful, squeeze it in your fist, and it will clump together and hold its shape. It will still look very dry, and crumbly apart easily, but that's okay. Try not to add any more water than necessary.
  4. Squeeze the mixture into a ball, and press into a disc. It should be just barely wet enough to hold together. Wrap the disc tightly in plastic wrap, and let rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or up to a couple of days.
  5. When you're ready to bake the pie, roll out the dough. Cut two large sheets of parchment paper, and dust one sheet lightly with flour. Unwrap the disc of dough, and place it in the center of the sheet. Dust the top with a little more flour, and place the second sheet of parchment on top. Roll from the middle of the dough out to the edges, rotating as you go to create a circle. If the parchment begins to stick to the dough, peel it back to loosen it. Try to avoid adding more flour unless absolutely needed. Roll the dough to about ⅛th inch thickness, or as thin as you can. Peel away the top sheet of parchment paper, and use the bottom sheet to help lift the dough over and into the pie pan. Peel away the remaining parchment, and ease the dough into the pan without stretching or pulling it. Trim the edges so that there's a ½ inch overhang all the way around, then tuck this overhang underneath to create a raised edge. Crimp or decorate the edges however you like.
  6. For the filling:
  7. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  8. In a large bowl, whisk together all of the filling ingredients until smooth, then pour into your prepared crust (I like to pour my filling directly into an unbaked crust, and bake the whole thing all at once. I find this works well as long as the crust is rolled thinly enough. If you prefer to pre-bake your crust (it takes a bit more time, but is a great method) I've included directions in the recipe notes below).
  9. Place on the center rack of the preheated oven, and bake for 12-15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 325, and bake for another 45-60 minutes, or until the filling has started to set around the edges, but still jiggles slightly in the middle. The pie should finish setting up as it cools. (See recipe notes for more details on how to tell when the pie is done). I like to rotate my pie once during cooking, to make sure the crust browns evenly.
  10. Remove the pie from the oven, and let cool for at least 2-3 hours, or overnight. Once cooled, the pie is ready to be eaten, or can be chilled in the fridge if you prefer it cold. (I like to make my pies a day in advance, this way they're ready to go right when I need them.)
  11. Serve with fresh whipped cream, or ice cream, and a sprinkling of cinnamon or nutmeg for garnish. Enjoy!
Notes
1. The Husband and I like our pumpkin pies with lots of spice, which is why this pie is a little darker and less orange-y than your average pumpkin pie. In fact, we usually use rounded measurements on the amounts given in the recipe, because we're just that spice-crazy. If you prefer your pies a little less spiced, feel free to reduce the spices as much as you'd like.
2. I could write a whole post on pie crust, but I'll keep it brief here: I like to roll my crust between two sheets of parchment, this way I don't end up adding too much flour. Adding too much flour will result in a tough crust. When it comes to pumpkin pies, pre-baking the crust is a popular method to ensure the bottom gets baked all the way through and isn't gummy. I'm a pour-and-bake kind of girl (I prefer to pour my filling directly into an unbaked crust, and bake the pie all at once) and find that as long as I roll my crust thin enough, it cooks through just fine. If you prefer to pre-bake your crust, here's how: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.. Roll the dough as instructed and place into the pie pan. Line the crust with parchment paper (you can use one of the sheets from rolling the dough), then fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20-25 minutes, then carefully remove the parchment and weights. Return the crust to the oven and bake for another 5-7 minutes, or until the crust is a pale golden color. Let cool before adding the filling. (If using a pre-baked crust, add the filling and bake the pie at 325 for 60-70 minutes.)
3. Knowing when the pie is done is probably the single hardest part of making a pumpkin pie. Because it is a custard, the filling will still jiggle when the pie is ready to be pulled from the oven, but will set up as it cools. There is a subtle change that happens towards the end of baking, and you have to know what to look for to see it. The best description I've heard is "the center of the pie should jiggle like jello, not wiggle like a wave." The filling should be firmer around the edges, but still jiggle in the center when the pie pan is gently moved. If you aren't confident the pie is done just from looking at it, there are a couple of "poke" methods to test it: an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the pie (not all the way to the crust, just to the middle of the filling) should read about 175 degrees F., and a thin knife inserted halfway between the outer edge and the center of the pie should come out mostly clean. If the pie is overdone, it may crack or split, or the filling might start to pull away from the edges of the crust. If the filling begins to puff or "souffle" up, it is a sign the pie has been cooked too long, or the oven temperature is too high (I suggest using an oven thermometer to make sure the dial is accurate). If you notice any of these things, remove the pie from the oven immediately. Pies that have been very overcooked can sometimes "weep", and be very liquidy once cut into. If this is the case, start over and reduce the cooking time. (If your pie does crack, or you're left with a hole from checking the temperature or inserting a knife to test doneness, go ahead and cover those up with a big dollop of whipped cream before serving. No one has to know!)
4. If you're baking your pies the day you plan to serve them, it can be helpful to make the dough and filling a day in advance. The dough can be kept in the fridge, or can be pre-baked and left out at room temperature overnight. The filling can be mixed and kept in an airtight container in the fridge overnight (just be sure to give it a stir before you pour it into the crust). Keep in mind that if your filling is cold, the pie will take longer to cook. Refer to the notes above on how to tell when the pie is done.
5. For instructions on how to make your own pumpkin puree, go to: www.willcookforfriends.com/2011/10/pumpkin-puree-two-ways-and-neither-are-from-a-can.html
Recipe by Will Cook For Friends at https://www.willcookforfriends.com/2014/11/favorite-pumpkin-pie.html