Some foods are an absolute requirement for Thanksgiving dinner, and for me that short list includes roast turkey, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie; everything else is negotiable. Actually, I enjoy pumpkin pie anytime during the holiday season.
I grew up with the pumpkin pie recipe on the back of the pumpkin puree can, and I always enjoyed it. I like the dense texture better than “fluffy” pumpkin pies. This year I wanted to update the pie a bit, and this recipe from Food Network delivers on both flavor and texture. I did try another pie dough recipe for this, actually the one that came with the pie recipe, but I didn’t care for it so the next pie will use my regular pie dough recipe.
One important note: I found that the filling recipe makes a bit too much for a regular 9-inch pan, so if you have some extra you can just bake it in a buttered dish for a nice pumpkin custard, or you can use leftover pie dough (if you made extra) to make some mini pies using a regular muffin tin. Michael came up with a neat idea for the leftover custard, which I will post sometime next week.
I still use canned pumpkin puree for two reasons: consistency of flavor and texture, and time. Using fresh pumpkin is very enjoyable, but I have three little children and taking the canned pumpkin puree shortcut saves me some time in the kitchen.
[Updated November 30, 2013.]
Adapted from Food Network.
Makes 1 (9-inch) pie.
9-inch glass pie pan
stand mixer with paddle attachment
baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper
One 15-ounce (425 g) can unsweetened pure pumpkin puree (about 2 cups)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/4 cups (300 ml) half-and-half
3/4 cup (83 g) packed light brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1. Set the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350° F/175° C.
2. MAKE THE DOUGH: Prepare the dough and place it into the pie pan. Trim the edges, leaving about 1 inch hanging over the edge. Tuck the overhanging dough underneath to form a thick edge, and flute it. Alternately, you can trim closer to the pan and then press with a fork all around the edge. Cover the edges with aluminum foil to prevent them from overbrowning. Place the pan on the prepared baking sheet.
3. MAKE THE FILLING: In the mixer bowl, stir together the pumpkin, eggs, half-and-half, brown sugar, spices and salt until smooth. Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell until it’s almost to the top of the pan.
4. Bake on the lower oven rack for about 50 to 60 minutes, until the edges of the filling are set but the center is still slightly loose. Cool completely on a wire rack. Serve with whipped cream. Keep in the refrigerator.