Sunday, November 18, 2012

Classic Pumpkin Pie

Alright.  It's time to be totally honest with you guys.  I really dislike pumpkin pie.  I'm being serious.  I have never ever liked it, and I don't think I ever will, although that could maybe change, eventually.  My dislike of pumpkin things in general has changed a lot in the past year, and ever singe I baked up a batch of pumpkin cinnamon rolls, and a batch of miniature pumpkin doughnut muffins, my dislike of pumpkin-things started to fade away.  Pumpkin things could actually be tasty!  In fact, just writing about those miniature pumpkin doughnut muffins makes me wish I had a batch right now...they were really THAT good!  A couple of weeks ago I posted a recipe for pumpkin cheesecake muffins, which were also really delicious, and very, very, very shortly, I'll actually be posting another delicious pumpkin recipe!  I think I like pumpkin when it's baked into muffins or yeast breads, and pumpkin pancakes are actually pretty good too.  But pumpkin pie...that's a whole other story.  

I really just don't like it. 

I guess it's strange, then, that I'm posting a recipe for classic pumpkin pie.  But, given that Thanksgiving is only a couple of short days away, and that pumpkin pie is a popular favorite around this time of year, I figured I HAD to post a pumpkin pie recipe this time.  Also because my sister wouldn't stop nagging me about making a pumpkin pie.  My sister is the only person in my family who actually likes, no, LOVES, pumpkin pie, and she's always asking for pumpkin pie during Thanksgiving and the fall season.  Her pumpkin pie requests usually get denied, because no one else in my house is willing to eat the pie with her, but I figured that this time, I would give in, and make her a pumpkin pie.  

To me, the pie tasted alright at the end, but that's only because I don't actually like pumpkin pie.  I did like the crust though!  It was mildly sweet and perfectly flaky.  My sister, on the other hand, lovedddd the way the pie came out.  She thought it was perfect- it had lots of pumpkin flavor, and was the perfect traditional-style pumpkin pie.  I trust my sister's expertise on pumpkin pie, so if she said it was delicious/great/super yummy, then it had to be!  Since she was going to be the only one in my house actually eating the pumpkin pie, she simply cut it up into small wedges and froze them individually, so that she could have easy access to a slice of pumpkin pie whenever she wanted.  She's said that it makes for a great midnight snack while doing homework and college applications!

Pumpkin pies are incredibly simple to make.  True, making a pie crust from scratch adds another couple of additional steps, but they're really quite simple.  I promise, making pie crust from scratch is not something you should find intimidating!  All it takes is a couple of pulses in your food processor, and adding ONLY enough ice water so that the dough begins to hold together- that's the main secret!  The other really important trick is to make sure you use very cold butter.  I personally like to dice up the butter, and then stick it into the freezer while I take out my food processor, and get all the other ingredients ready, so that the butter will be as cold as possible before I have to use it.  Super cold butter is necessary to ensure that you get a perfectly flaky crust.  If making pie crust still freaks you out a little, you could just purchase frozen, pre-made pie dough, and make the filling yourself.  The pie filling couldn't be any simpler to make.  All you have to do is literally mix all the ingredients together, and pour the filling into the pie crust once it has been partially baked, and then finish baking up the pie.

While I personally may not like pumpkin pie, this recipe is a sure-fire winner (according to my sister at least), and since it was so simple to make, I have no complaints.  Pumpkin pie is a definitely a crowd-pleaser, so having a recipe for a traditional pumpkin pie up your sleeve for this Thanksgiving is a must!  Stay tuned for another pumpkin recipe, coming really soon! 

Classic Pumpkin Pie
recipe from Martha Stewart


For the Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for surface
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and well-chilled
3-4 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed

For the Pumpkin Pie Filling

1-15 ounce can solid-packed pure pumpkin puree

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg (fresh, if possible)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1-12 ounce can evaporated milk
ground cloves

cinnamon whipped cream, for serving (regular whipped cream with a little cinnamon mixed in)


Begin by preparing the pie crust.  Pulse together the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor briefly, just until combined.  Add the cubed butter, and process until the mixture begins to resemble a coarse meal.  With the food processor running, add the ice water in a gradual stream, adding only enough so that the dough begins to hold together.  Remove the dough from the food processor, and transfer to a surface.  Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a disk.  Wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  On a lightly floured surface, roll one of the disks of pie crust until it is 1/8-inch thick, and then cut into a 16-inch circle.  Carefully transfer the circle of pie crust to a 9-inch deep-dish pie dish, leaving a 1-inch overhang.  Fold the edges underneath, and gently press together.  Using your fingers, gently crimp the edges of the pie crust.  Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork, and then freeze for 15 minutes. 

Cut out a circle of parchment that is at least 16 inches in diameter.  Place the circle of parchment into the frozen pie shell, and fill with dried beans or pie weights.  Bake the pie crust until the edges begin to turn a light golden brown, about 15 minutes.  Remove the pie weights and parchment, and bake for another 15-20 minutes, so that the pie crust cooks fully and turns golden brown.  Remove the pie crust from the oven, and allow to cool on a wire rack.

While the pie crust is baking, whisk together the pumpkin, sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, eggs, evaporated milk, and the pinch of cloves in a large bowl.  

Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees.  Transfer the pie dish to a baking sheet, and pour the pumpkin filling mixture into the cooled crust.  Bake the pie until the center is set, but still a little wobbly when shaken, about 55 minutes.  If the crust begins to brown too quickly, simply tent the edges with strips of aluminum foil. Let the pie cool in the dish on a wire rack.  Once it has cooled completely, refrigerate the pie for several hours until it is well chilled (although overnight is ideal).  Slice the pie into wedges, and serve with cinnamon whipped cream if desired.  Enjoy!

Makes 1 9-inch pie


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