Photograph © Scott Dorrance, excerpted from Dishing Up® Maine
Pumpkin pie is simply a custard pie made with pumpkin purée and seasoned with traditional sweet spices. After trying a couple of times to make pies with “from scratch” pumpkin purée (cutting, roasting, scraping, mashing), I concluded that it’s really not worth the trouble — in fact, canned pumpkin is superior in some ways because the purée has been cooked down to a properly thick consistency. Just be sure not to buy pre-sweetened and spiced pumpkin-pie filling. This pie follows a rather classic formula, with a small slug of bourbon or rum added for interest (though it’s fine, too, without the spirits).
- My Flaky Pie Pastry (see below) for single-crust pie
- 2 cups pumpkin purée
- (15-ounce can)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons bourbon or rum
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Sweetened whipped cream
- On a floured surface, roll out one dough disc, working from the center in all directions until you have a 12-inch round. Fold the dough in half and ease it into a 9-inch pie pan with the fold in the center. Unfold the dough and fit the pastry into the pan. Trim and flute the edges and prick the crust all over with a fork. Freeze for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
- Press a sheet of foil into the bottom of the pie shell. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for 5 to 8 minutes, until the pastry is pale golden. If the pastry starts to puff up, press the bottom gently with a large spatula or oven-mitted hand to flatten. Fill immediately or cool on a rack.
- Whisk the pumpkin purée with the sugar and eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in the cream, milk, bourbon, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Pour into the pie shell.
- Bake until the custard filling is set at the edges and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack before serving at room temperature. Serve with the whipped cream.
My Flaky Pie Pastry
This piecrust recipe uses half butter (for flavor) and half solid vegetable shortening (for crisper, flakier texture), and it’s a great choice for just about any pie. If you need only a single crust, simply cut all the ingredients in half.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 1/2 cup cold solid vegetable shortening, cut into 8 chunks
- 6–8 tablespoons ice water
- Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor. Pulse to mix. Distribute the butter and shortening over the flour and process in short bursts until most of the shortening is about the size of small peas. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture and pulse just until no dry flour remains and the dough begins to clump together. If the dough is too dry, sprinkle on the remaining 2 tablespoons of water and pulse again. *
- Divide the dough in half and turn out onto two sheets of plastic wrap. Shape and flatten into two 5-inch discs, wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (Piecrust may be refrigerated up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month.) Remove from the refrigerator 10 minutes before rolling out.
*To Make By Hand: Divide the dough in half and turn out onto two sheets of plastic wrap. Shape and flatten into two 5-inch discs, wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (Piecrust may be refrigerated up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month.) Remove from the refrigerator 10 minutes before rolling out.
Go to: A Twist on Tradition Thanksgiving Menu for more great Thanksgiving recipes.