Pumpkin pie, it's the sweet ending to our family's celebration of gratitude that we look forward to all year long. The warm spices are woven into a custard puree of sweet and creamy pumpkin, all of which is cradled in a delicate, flaky and buttery crust. I use a recipe that is perhaps not out of the ordinary, but I do take measures to ensure that the ingredients are top-notch, which is the difference that makes this pumpkin pie a classic. For example, the sugar pumpkin is freshly roasted, which yields a much more intense fresh naturally sweet flavor. The spices are freshly ground and grated whenever possible, and the butter - the main ingredient in the pie crust - must be of good quality.
Also, I make sure to use Vietnamese cinnamon, which was introduced to me by the spice people at Penzey's in Grand Central Market. Vietnamese cinnamon is considered the finest, sweetest, most complex and nuanced of its peers, and an ideal choice for baked goods. Since shopping at Penzey's, the genre of spices that I've incorporate in daily cooking has broadened. If you're close to Grand Central Station in New York, a stop at Penzey's is worthwhile.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you have a wonderful holiday and are surrounded by lots of love and good food!
Classic Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie Recipe
Adapted from Williams Sonoma
- 1 1/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup milk
- Preheat an oven to 375ºF.
- In a bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Add the pumpkin, eggs, cream and milk and whisk to combine.
- Pour the filling into the pre-baked pie crust and bake until the center is set, 60 to 65 minutes, covering the edges of the crust with aluminum foil after 30 minutes if they brown too quickly.
- Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool completely, at least 2 hours, before serving.
All Butter Pie Crust with Almonds
This is my favorite pie crust recipe. The toasted ground almonds in this recipe help to create a delicate flaky texture.
From Simply Recipes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
- 1/2 cup blanched almonds or almond flour
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 heaping teaspoon brown sugar
- 6 to 8 Tablespoons ice water, very cold
- Cut the sticks of butter into 1/2-inch cubes and place in the freezer for 15 minutes to an hour so that they become thoroughly chilled.
- While the butter is chilling, if you are using almonds (versus almond flour), lightly toast the blanched almonds in the oven at 300 F for 5 minutes. Grind the almonds to a fine powder - this is almond flour.
- Combine flour, almond flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add ice water 1 Tablespoon at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, add a little more water and pulse again.
- Remove dough from machine and place in a mound on a clean surface. Gently shape into 2 discs. Knead the dough just enough to form the discs, do not over-knead. You should be able to see little bits of butter in the dough. These small chunks of butter are what will allow the resulting crust to be flaky. Sprinkle a little flour around the discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days.
- Remove one crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes in order to soften just enough to make rolling out a bit easier. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. I like to roll out my dough on a sheet of silpat, so that I can peel the dough off easily. As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. If necessary, add a few sprinkles of flour under the dough to keep the dough from sticking. Carefully place onto a 9-inch pie plate. Gently press the pie dough down so that it lines the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the dough to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the pie dish.
- Freeze the crust for half an hour, until chilled.
- Preheat your oven to 350 F. When the crust is sufficiently chilled, line the crust with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Fill at least two-thirds with pie weights - dried beans or rice - that you are willing to discard. Bake with the weights for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven, cool a few minutes and carefully remove pie weights. Poke small holes in the bottom of the pie crust with a fork and return to oven (without the weights) and cook for an additional 10 minutes, until the crust is golden.
- Cool completely before filling. You may need to tent the edges of the pie with aluminum foil when you bake your pie, to keep the edges from getting too dried out and burnt.
Roasted Pumpkin Puree
- 1 3 lb. sugar pie pumpkin
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Carefully cut the pumpkin into four big wedges, and cut off the stem. Scoop out the seeds and pulp, drizzle and rub the pumpkin wedges with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, and place on a baking sheet. Bake on the middle rack until tender throughout - about an hour. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool down.
- Scoop flesh out of the skins and puree with a hand blender or mash well by hand. Yields about 2 cups.