The New Classic Pumpkin Pie
Can you imagine Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie? I certainly can't! It's no wonder this classic has been a Thanksgiving staple since Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a holiday back in 1863 (and really, even earlier). And while some may think pumpkin pie is a tad boring, I wanted to share a few ideas to change all that!
For me, this started off as an opportunity to conquer my fear of making pie crust from scratch. Along the way, I found the perfect pumpkin pie recipe. Making pie crust actually ended up being very therapeutic and was not as hard as I thought it would be. That said, I tried a couple of recipes (and failed a few times), making about 6 pies total - half using pie crust from scratch and the remaining using store-bought dough.
For my no-frills, classic pumpkin pie above and below, I used store-bought dough. However, there's no reason you can't elevate the look of your pie with a pie plate that makes a statement. I used this beautiful ruffled pie dish by Emile Henry.
To dress up my classic pie and take it to the next level, I used pie crust cutters to create these fun, fall leaves (baked separately), and placed them on the top of my pie. I sprinkled chopped pecans and threw in some fresh raspberries for color.
Finally, using a crust I made from scratch, I created a fall leaf and acorn border (using the same pie cutters noted above). To ensure the leaf border remained intact, I blind baked the crust. (Baking blind is the process of baking a pie crust or other pastry without the filling. Blind baking a pie crust is necessary when it will be filled with an unbaked filling (such as with pudding or cream pies), in which case the crust must be fully baked.)
I topped my pumpkin pie with a dramatic meringue, lightly browned using a kitchen torch. This handy-dandy trick is perfect for those times your pie decides to crack on you! What better way to hide imperfections than with glossy peaks of meringue!
And you thought pumpkin pie was boring?
Makes 1 pie | Serves approximately 10
- 2 rolled-out rounds basic pie dough
(This pie crust recipe link also includes a great how-to video)
- 4 whole eggs plus 2 egg yolks
- 2 1/2 cups (18 oz./560 g) pumpkin puree
- 3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g) ﬁrmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) granulated sugar
- 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. all-purpose ﬂour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) heavy cream
- 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) milk
- 1 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 Tbs. brandy
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream for serving
For the meringue
- 2 cups Granulated Sugar
- 8 Large Egg Whites At Room Temperature
- Transfer 1 of the dough rounds to a 9-inch deep-dish pie dish, trimming the edges, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold under the excess dough and, using your thumb, decoratively flute the edges. If you're blind baking, use a fork to gently prick holes in several places on the bottom of the crust.
- Using decorative piecrust cutters or a sharp paring knife, cut out leaves or desired shapes from the remaining dough round.
- In a small bowl, beat 1 of the eggs. Brush the edges of the piecrust with the beaten egg, then arrange some of the cutouts on the edges, pressing them gently so they adhere. (Save the remaining egg wash.) Refrigerate the baking sheet with the remaining cutouts until ready to bake.
- Freeze the pie shell for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of an oven. Place a baking sheet on rack and preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Line the piecrust with parchment paper or aluminum foil and fill with pie weights. Place the pie dish on the preheated baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment and weights and bake until the crust is light golden brown, about 5 minutes more. Transfer the piecrust to a wire rack and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. (Leave the baking sheet in the oven.) Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F.
- TO MAKE THE FILLING: In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Add the flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves and whisk until smooth.
- Add the remaining 3 eggs and 2 egg yolks and whisk until combined. Add the cream, milk, vanilla and brandy and whisk until smooth. Pour the filling into the cooled piecrust.
- Place the pie dish on the preheated baking sheet. Bake until the filling is set, about 1 hour and 15 minutes, covering the edges of the crust with foil if they get too brown. Transfer the pie dish to the wire rack and let the pie cool completely, about 4 hours, before serving.
- While the pie cools, bake the decorative cutouts: Brush the cutouts lightly with some of the remaining beaten egg. Bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to the wire rack and let cool.
- To serve, decorate the top of the pie with the decorative cutouts as desired, adding chopped pecans and fresh raspberries. Cut into slices and serve each with a dollop of whipped cream on top.
To make merginue:
- Combine granulated sugar and egg whites in the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer and set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Transfer bowl to mixer, and whisk on medium speed for 3 minutes. Raise speed to high, and whisk until stiff glossy peaks form, about 6 minutes more. Dollop meringue onto pie, and spread using a swirling motion.
- Hold a small handheld kitchen torch at a 90-degree angle 3 to 4 inches from surface of meringue. Move flame back and forth until meringue starts to brown. Slice and serve.