Monday, November 22, 2010

Traditional Pumpkin Pie #44

I have to say that pumpkin pie is one of the easiest pies to make.

For most people, the only thing that you have to do with the main ingredient is open a can, which is why I wanted to do this pumpkin pie panel in the first place. For years I've heard that it doesn't matter much whether or not you use canned or roasted pumpkins. Many people say it tastes the same and that it's not worth the work.

So, I thought I should try it and use a few friends to find out if that was indeed true.

We had three traditional pumpkin pies. One was a store bought pumpkin pie, another was a frozen store bought crust with canned pumpkin filling (using the recipe on the back of the can), and a third pumpkin pie which used a roasted pumpkin and the following recipe.

I was surprised to find that there were people who liked all three pies and those who disliked all three traditional pies as well. I wonder if that had more to do with nostalgia than anything else, but I think that it's important to note that there are people who prefer all options.

As for me, who is usually a pumpkin pie hater, using a roasted pumpkin made a big difference as well as for the majority of the twenty tasters who liked this traditional pie the most. In fact, many of them chose this pie as their favorite pie of the night.

And while I promise I'm not trying to make things more difficult, I think that taking a few extra steps with your pumpkin pie can make a huge difference in the end:
1-I am now a believer in roasting your own pumpkin (directions are at the end)
2-Blend or puree it in your food processor
3-Strain your pumpkin puree

So, while you want to keep the nostalgic taste of your pumpkin pie recipe or you want to try a new one, I believe that using a combination of these techniques can really take your pumpkin pie to a new level--an even better level. Going the extra mile will make your pumpkin lovers happy and I think can help those who don't normally like it to love it even more.

Traditional Pumpkin Pie

Pate Brisee
(Adapted from Julia Childs)
For an 8- to 9-inch shell.
1 cup flour, scooped and leveled
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon plus a pinch salt
6 tablespoons chilled butter
2 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening
4 to 4 1/2 tablespoons cold water

Pumpkin Filling:
(adapted from
2 cups pumpkin puree*
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream

Crust--Place the flour in the bowl and mix in the sugar and salt. Add the butter and shortening and cut into dry ingredients until it resembles the size of small oatmeal flakes. Do not overdo this step as the fat will be blended more thoroughly later.

Add the water and blend quickly with one hand, fingers held together and slightly cupped, as you rapidly gather the dough into a mass. Sprinkle up to 1 tablespoon more water by droplets over any unmassed remains and add them to the main body of the dough. Then press the dough firmly into a roughly shaped ball. It should just hold together and be pliable but not sticky. Flatten the ball into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and put in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place a sheet of parchment paper inside the pie crust, and fill it with enough dry beans, uncooked rice, or pie weights to come nearly to the top of the pie. Bake for 15 minutes, remove parchment paper and weights and bake for another 10 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly and reduce the oven temperature to 350 F.

While the crust is baking, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Heat for 7 minutes, stirring often.
Transfer the pumpkin mixture to a blender or food processor. Puree for about 10 seconds. One at a time, add the eggs and egg yolk, pulsing the blender or processor briefly between each.

With the blender or processor running, slowly pour in the cream and puree until well mixed, about another 10 seconds.

Slowly pour the filling into the pie crust and bake for 1 hour, or until the edges are puffed and the center is set and jiggles only slightly.

Cool completely on a rack before cutting.

*Directions for Pumpkin Puree
(Directions from 101 cookbooks)
1 3 lb. sugar pie pumpkin
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Carefully cut the pumpkin into four big wedges - get rid of the stem. Scoop out the seeds and pulp (you can toast the seeds if you like), drizzle then rub the pumpkin wedges with olive oil, sprinkle generously with salt, and then bake on a baking sheet (middle rack) until tender throughout - about an hour. Scoop flesh out of the skins and puree with a hand blender or mash well by hand.


  1. I'm looking for how much of the pumpkin puree to use, since you didn't say does that mean you used the all of it from the 3# pumpkin, that seems like too much. hmmmm

  2. Bryn, You are right, that is too much! Sorry, I didn't specify how much should be in there. I will update the recipe, but it should be 15 oz (or two cups) of pumpkin puree in the recipe. Thanks for letting me know about this!

  3. I was in the middle of making the pie when I made the first comment, so I made my best guess and it was 1 1/2 cups and I'm glad to say, it worked! Tasted great!