As I continue in my Thanksgiving recipe series, I have come to dessert. Now, I know that none of us have room for dessert. Is that going to stop us? Nope! As I write this post, I realize that I do not believe there is any meal of the year that we have so many traditional recipes. Besides the TURKEY, I think the next most traditional part of the whole dinner is the Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie. I know the STUFFING and the CRANBERRIES are not far behind.
I was not a big fan of pumpkin desserts growing up. I am guessing that we did not eat them very much. So my ignorance of pumpkin desserts was from lack of exposure. I will have to check with my mom on this memory. It may also have been that my mom and I are such chocolate lovers and the chocolate had priority. I loved chocolate so much I would eat last night’s dessert for breakfast. My most prevalent memory of a chocolate dessert for breakfast was my mom’s chocolate mousse. It was so good, and yes, she let us eat it for breakfast.
The pie begins with a perfect crust. You don’t need to be intimidated by the crust. This is an easy recipe to put together – just make sure your butter is real cold. The crust is par baked prior to adding the filling. There are quite a number of ingredients in the filling. Obviously the pumpkin puree. I think the two most key ingredients are the cloves and cinnamon. I am amping up my cinnamon with the Vietnamese variety. Once the filling is added to the pie crust, the pie is baked once more.
The crust cast of characters.
The building of the crust in the food processor, and eventually, add to the pin dish.
The cast of characters for the pie filling.
The blending of these filling ingredients, and then, added to the pie crust and baked.
The Thanksgiving Pumpkin pie plated.
- 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and sliced
- 4-8 tablespoons ice water
- Pumpkin Pie Filling
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons Vietnemese cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
- Scatter the cubes of butter over the surface of the flour.
- Pulse the food processor 15 to 20 times until the mixture resembles cornmeal with pieces of butter no larger than a pea.
- Add the ice water a tablespoon at a time. Pulse a 4 to 5 times to combine. Keep adding a tablespoon of water until dough is holds together.
- The final dough should not come together in a dough, but you should see no more powdery flour and the dough should just be starting to clump together in large crumbs.
- Press the pie dough into disks and refrigerate: Turn the pie dough out onto a clean work surface. Work the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for least 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle your work surface and rolling pin with flour. Unwrap the dough and lay it on top of the flour.
- Working from the middle of the dough outwards, roll the dough into a circle roughly 12 to 13 inches in diameter (a few inches larger than your pie pan). Use firm strokes and work the dough as little as possible.
- Sprinkle the top of the pie crust and your rolling pin with a little flour. Lay your rolling pin on one edge of the pie crust and begin gently rolling the pie crust over the rolling pin. When it's all rolled up, move it to the pie pan and gently unroll. Ease the pie crust into the corners of the pan. Trim all but an inch or two of the pie dough from around the edge; use the trimmings to patch up any holes or tears.
- Transfer the pie pan with pie crust to the fridge and chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. While the crust is chilling, heat the oven to 425°F with a rack in the middle position.
- Line the pie crust with parchment or aluminum foil and fill with pie weights (or dried beans). Bake until the edges just start to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the weights and lining, and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and keep near the stove.
- While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. Combine the pumpkin puree, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and spices in the bowl of a food processor or blender.
- Blend continuously until the brown sugar is completely mixed in and the puree looks glossy.
- Transfer the puree to a saucepan and set over medium-high heat.
- Stir frequently until you see wisps of steam rising from the puree, then stir continuously until the mixture is very steamy and "plops" when you pause for a second.
- The mixture will also start to smell like spices and cooked pumpkin. (Total stove time will be about 5 minutes.)
- Off the heat, whisk the milk and cream into the pumpkin puree. To warm the eggs and ensure that they don't cook when you add them to the pumpkin mixture, whisk them together in a separate bowl, then whisk in a few spoonfuls of the warm pumpkin mixture. Slowly whisk the eggs into the saucepan with the pumpkin mixture. Whisk in the vanilla.
- Place the partially-baked pie crust on a parchment-lined baking sheet and set it near the stove. Carefully pour the warm pumpkin mixture into the warm pie crust. If it looks like there's too much filling for the crust, stop when you come close to the edge of the crust.
- Carefully transfer the baking sheet with the pie to the oven and immediately turn down the heat to 375°F. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes — until the pie is puffed in the middle, but still jiggles when you gently shake the pan.
- Let the pie cool before serving — it will continue to set as it cools.
- Serve with whipped cream if you like. Enjoy!