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.]
- 9-inch glass pie pan
- stand mixer with paddle attachment
- baking sheet lined with foil
- 15 ounce can unsweetened pure pumpkin puree (about 2 cups)
- 3 eggs (lightly beaten)
- 1¼ cups half-and-half
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- Set the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350° F/175° C.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.