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Adventures in food for curious cooks.

Classic Pumpkin Pie

Recipes

Classic Pumpkin Pie

Lynley Jones

The all-American classic.

If you are new to pie-baking, check out Great Crust Is a Must from my People Like Pie series for everything you need to know about handling pie dough.

Makes 1 deep-dish pie, serving about 8

Ingredients

Classic Pumpkin Pie made in the Adventure Kitchen.

3/4 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon coarse salt (or half this much if using table salt)

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 large eggs

1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (see notes)

1 disk (half recipe) pie crust pastry (pate brisee)

Flour for rolling out

Instructions

1. Combine sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in a medium bowl. In a separate large bowl, whisk the eggs, then whisk in the evaporated milk, followed by the pumpkin puree.

2. Add the sugar mixture to the pumpkin mixture, stirring to combine thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, and up to 3 days.

3. Lightly flour your worksurface and roll the pate brisee into a rough circle, about 1/8-inch thick. (If you are new to handling pie crust, check out this post for tips on rolling out the dough.) Gently lay a deep-dish pie plate upside down in the middle of the circle to be sure you've rolled the circle wide enough. The dough should extend about 2-3 extra inches beyond the pie plate all the way around. (I roll the dough to a diameter of about 14-15 inches. See notes if you are not working with a deep dish pie plate.)

4. When you've finished rolling the dough, transfer it to the pie plate, pressing it into the corners. Trim the overhang to about 2 inches all the way around. Fold the edges back and crimp them as desired (see notes). Set the pie plate with the trimmed dough in the refrigerator to rest for 15 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with the rack in the middle position. When preheated, take the pie plate and pumpkin filling out of the refrigerator. Give the filling a good stir and pour it into the chilled crust. Carefully slide the pie plate into the middle of the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

6. Turn the heat down to 350 degrees and bake for another 40-65 minutes, until done. Pumpkin pie is done when the filling is puffed up and sizzling, and it jiggles like firm jello when nudged. Exact baking time for your pie will depend on the size and type of pie plate you are using (as well as the usual mysteries of individual oven variances). (See notes for more details on pie plate options.)

7. When done, remove the pie from the oven and cool on a rack for 2 hours. Once cooled, you can chill it further before serving if desired, or serve it at room temperature (I usually do the latter).

Notes:

I adapted this recipe from the classic Libby's recipe, but I used a different brand of pumpkin puree. (No reason, other than that happened to be what was available on the day I was shopping.) Just be aware that all pumpkin purees are not created equal! Homemade pumpkin puree and some canned brands are somewhat looser, while others (like Libby's) can be a bit thicker. If you are using a looser puree, your pumpkin mixture will be on the thin side, and your pie will take toward the longer end of the time span indicated to cook.

This recipe calls for chilling the filling as well as the pie crust before baking. The goal is to have a cold pie crust hitting that hot oven all at once, so the crust can crisp up nicely. Using a chilled filling helps keep the crust cold until go-time, which helps prevent a soggy bottom crust. (This also makes for a convenient Thanksgiving workflow - you can make the filling a day or two ahead, then fill the crust and bake the pie on Thanksgiving morning before the turkey goes in. Which gives that pie plenty of time to cool down before serving.)

This recipe makes enough filling for a deep-dish pie. If you are using a traditional (ie, shallower) pie plate, you won't need all the filling (stir the rest into your pancake batter!), and cut baking time accordingly. 

The pie plate I use for this is the Emile Henry ceramic dish (I'm including a link to the exact dish I use). I like ceramic for this because it heats gently, retains the heat for a long time, and cools down slowly. (And it looks pretty!) Pumpkin requires a long baking time, so using a dish that is more gentle with the heat turns out a nice crust. I haven't experimented with glass for this recipe, but if you have a deep-dish glass dish, I'm sure it would work great. Metal pie plates can be a bit harsh for a pie like this, heating very quickly and searing the crust well before the filling is cooked. If all you have is a metal pie plate, that shouldn't stop you from making pumpkin pie! But read on for an issue that may affect you...

Because the pumpkin filling takes so long to cook, the crust can sometimes turn a bit too brown around the edges while it waits for the pie to finish. If this happens, just protect the crust with a ring of foil to slow the browning down.

When crimping the dough for a pie like this, remember that the crust contracts during baking, so crimp the crust higher than you want it to end up in the finished pie. I have about an inch of crimped crust rising above the filling before baking, which yields a nicely shaped crust in the end.

Adapted from the classic Libby's pumpkin pie recipe.