Thanksgiving must be nearly here - this past weekend I was positively craving a pumpkin pie! It was a cold afternoon and nothing sounded better than a little baking in the warm kitchen, so I whipped up this pie. It was so tasty I had to make another one (this time with pictures) because I wanted to share the recipe just in case you were needing a pie recipe for the holidays!
I had intended simply posting the recipe, but I took some photos along the way of preparing the pie crust and thought I might include them as well, just in case it might inspire somebody to try making their own! (Although I'll give you fair warning - I am not a pie crust perfectionist!)
Making your own pie crust is a little daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's so easy and delicious you won't want to buy another pie crust again! I still use my grandma's recipe for a butter crust (you can read that story here) and love how this turns out every time.
The mistake I made again and again when I first began making my own pie crusts was adding too much water. After combining the butter and flour, I would pour the water in and I always felt like it was never enough because the dough was not sticky. After a lot of trial and error, I've found the best thing to do before adding any additional water is to scoop that dough out of the bowl with your hands to see if you can squeeze it into a ball that stays together. If you can, you're good to go! You can see in the photo above that there is still crumbly dough in the bottom of the bowl, but you can finish forming everything together once you pour the dough out to roll it.
It will take a little bit of patting to get the dough formed into a round disk. Just keep working it until it comes together enough to roll it out. Make sure you have a little flour under the dough surface and on top of the dough so that it will not stick to the rolling pin or the countertop when you begin to roll it out.
As you're rolling out the dough, roll from the center outward, moving the disk around so that it continues to hold its circular shape.
A good way to tell if your crust is the right size is to position your pie plate face down onto the dough.
When I move the crust to my pie plate, I follow a trick learned from my grandma. Fold the crust in half and then unfold it once you've set the crust in the pie plate.
Trim any excess off with a knife, and if you have any bare spots you can just take that excess dough and use it to fill in. I leave just a tad excess (see above picture, right side) and then tuck the dough under (above picture, left side) so that it's flush with the edge of the plate. That makes a little thicker edge to work with!
Now it's time to flute the crust - always the fun part! (I pinch between my thumb and index finger.) Once you've gotten to this stage, place the pie crust in the fridge to chill while you make the filling. And don't forget to preheat your oven!
The filling is so simple. Combine all your ingredients, except for the half and half. Pour the half and half in last and whisk together.
Remove the pie crust from the fridge and pour the filling in.
Now here's another wonderful trick I learned from my grandma. Place the rack in the oven so it's just one level below the center before placing your pie in the oven. (I would have taken a picture of my oven to show you, but honestly, I would be embarrassed to show how dirty it is!) The main purpose of this is to create a crispier crust underneath the filling, but it has an added bonus. I've noticed when I bake my pie like this, the top crust doesn't brown as quickly, many times eliminating the need to cover the edges with foil. Still, keep an eye on it towards the end.
When you remove the pie from the oven, the filling should be set around the edges, but soft in the center. It will all firm as it cools.
(Truly, is there a lovelier sight than a pie cooling on your counter top, filling your house with the scent of fall? (smile) )
One more thing! While you pie is cooling, it is so, so easy to whip up some homemade whipped cream! All you do is pour the desired amount of heavy whipping cream into your mixer (or you could use a handheld mixer) and whip until it resembles whipped cream. (Keep in mind that a little cream goes a long way!) Add the sweetener (just a little bit) and/or vanilla extract last and just briefly mix together. (I used maple syrup as my sweetener - yum!)
Confession... my very favorite "sweet" is homemade whipped cream. I can literally eat it plain!
This pie is so delicious. It's just a traditional pumpkin pie, but I love the spices, the texture, the crust...
For Thanksgiving at my in-laws this year, I'm bringing rolls, cranberry sauce and a dessert. I haven't decided on a dessert yet, but I'm definitely leaning towards this pumpkin pie (even after making it twice this week - ha)! Hope you enjoy!
My Grandma's All Butter Pie Crust Recipe
(makes a single pie crust)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup cold butter
1/4 cup cold water
Combine flour and salt. Cut butter into small pieces and add to flour with either a pastry blender or your fingers until blended and fine textured. Add 1/4 cup cold water, 1 Tbsp at a time, while mixing with a fork until it can be squeezed together into a ball. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface for a pie plate and place inside (fold in half and lay over the plate, and then unfold). Trim edges, tuck excess under and flute.
Pumpkin Pie Recipe
One 9" single pie crust (recipe above)
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
2 large eggs
3/4 cup organic brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup half and half
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Refrigerate your pie crust, prepared in a pie plate, while you make the filling.
In a bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Pour in half and half and whisk until mixture is smooth. Pour the filling into the unbaked pie crust.
Adjust your oven rack so it's slightly below the middle. Place pie in oven and bake for 15 minutes (at 425 degrees). Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes. The filling will be set around the edges, but soft in the center. Remove the pie from the oven and cool.