Best Pumpkin Pie
November 26, 2013
Pumpkin pie is one of my favorite pies, and we have them at our house more than just for Thanksgiving. I like to use Joy of Cooking’s recipe, which yields a crispy, flaky crust, and custardy, delicious filling that’s not grainy or soggy. The key is the blind-baked crust, which is pre-baking your pie crust lined with foil and pie weights. I like to do this with all of my one-crust pies, ever since I read about it in Joy. It really does produce superior results.
Aunt Suzy says . . .
I have made only a few pumpkin pies in my time. It seems for holiday gatherings, others make the pumpkin and I bake apple or pecan-sweet potato pie – like this Thanksgiving! And I usually follow Mom/Granny’s lead and use the recipe on the side of the can of pumpkin. :-) I’ve always been satisfied with the results, but then I’ve never had this version! One thing I will say is that I think pumpkin pie is best made with canned pumpkin. Every time I’ve had it with fresh pumpkin puree, it seems watery. How about you Margaux? What are your thoughts on fresh vs. canned pumpkin?
I definitely ALWAYS use canned pumpkin. Not only does it seem watery with fresh, but often grainy and stringy. Yuck. It’s really not worth the extra step, because canned pumpkin is just that…pumpkin, no additives. You would have to have commercial grade equipment to get it the consistency that canned is, which is perfect for pies. I was happy to see that there was a little section about it in the November issue of Martha Stewart Living…their test kitchen came up with those same results.
Blind Baked Pie Crust
1/2 recipe pastry dough, like this one
1 egg yolk
Roll out pie dough. Carefully place it in a 9″ pie plate, trim the edges leaving a 1″ hang over, fold it under and crimp. Place in freezer and freeze for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take pie shell out of freezer and cut a large piece of aluminum foil. Place foil into pie plate, shiny side down, carefully pressing it into the corners and leaving a good amount hanging over the sides. Fill with pie weights, dried beans or rice (I keep dried beans on hand and use them over and over again). Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and carefully remove foil. Prick crust all over with fork and put in oven again for another 5 minutes or so, until the crust is golden. Meanwhile, beat egg yolk with a pinch of salt. When crust is done, brush with egg yolk all over and bake for another minute or two, until the glaze is set.
Pumpkin Pie Filling
A note about eggs in the recipe: If you like your pie more custardy, use 3 eggs. If you like a stronger pumpkin flavor and a denser filling, use only 2. I like to use 3.
2-3 eggs (see note above)
2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk or half-and-half
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Whisk eggs together in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
While mixture is sitting for a few minutes, place foil around the fluted edges of the crust (or use an aluminum pie sheild…one of my favorite kitchen gadgets). Warm crust back up by placing it in the oven for 1-2 minutes, until it is hot to touch. Pour filling into the hot crust, place in oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, until center seems set but quivery, like gelatin, when you tap the side of the dish. Cool on a cooling rack to room temperature. Serve within one day, store in the refrigerator.
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp sugar
Place all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium high until soft peaks form, no longer. Serve dollops on slices of pie. Store remainder in refrigerator in airtight container. Whip with a wire whisk for 10-15 seconds when ready to use again.