I love that pumpkin tarte tartin, it's true, but still, there's something about the creamy tradition of pumpkin pie. I've just gotta have it on Thanksgiving.
I've been testing and tweaking my pumpkin pie recipe for years, trying to get it just right. To me, the perfect pumpkin pie is smooth and creamy with a crisp crust. It should have all of those great fall spice flavors, but they shouldn't be so overwhelming that you can't taste the pumpkin. I also like just a hint of brightness to add a bit of pop.
Last year, on Food 52, there was a recipe for pumpkin pie from Meta Given's Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking, a book I did not know. The article described the flavor as pumpkin-y, the texture as smooth, and the cooking time as quick. It all sounded good to me. I tried the recipe, but decided it needed a little extra something to bring up the flavors. I added a touch of fresh lemon zest and fresh ginger and it added just that touch of dazzle that I wanted while still keeping the intense pumpkin flavor. Interestingly, that citrus-y flavor receded after a couple of days in the refrigerator so keep that in mind while planning when to make the pie.
I also deviated from the recipe by pre-baking the crust. Although the recipe indicated that the crust did not need to be baked first, I didn't want to end up with a mushy crust, so I did blind bake mine, cutting back the baking time so that the crust didn't get too dark.
That's it, my friends. My last pre-Thanksgiving recipe. I hope you find something you like among these recipes and, if you decide to give any of it a go, I'd love to hear any questions or comments you have.
The pumpkin can be roasted up to a week in advance, and the dough for the crust can be made several days ahead. If possible, I would bake the pie on Thanksgiving eve or in the morning so that the crust doesn't lose its crunch.
Adapted from Food 52 from The Encyclopedia of Cooking by Meta Givens
2 hours and 30 minutes preparation time, which includes 1 hour to prepare and bake the crust
and 1 hour to roast the pumpkin
20-25 minutes baking time
1 pre-baked tart crust*
1 small sugar pumpkin
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of cream
additional cream to whip with a touch of sugar and vanilla, for serving
Preheat oven to 425.
Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, and lay it face down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Roast the pumpkin until it is soft, 45 minutes to an hour. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and let it cool enough to handle. Scoop out the flesh and mash it with a potato masher. The pumpkin can be stored in an airtight container like this for up to a week.
To finish the pie: *Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and follow the instructions for preparing the pre-baked pie crust, but adjust the cooking times as follows: bake the crust covered for 10 minutes, uncover and bake for 5 minutes.
Measure 2 cups of the mashed pumpkin into a small sauce pan. Cook it over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until it dries out and becomes fragrant. There is no need to add any water or oil because there is plenty of water in the pumpkin.
Mix the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, ginger, and lemon zest together in a small bowl and add them to the pumpkin. Mix the cream, milk, and eggs together in a measuring cup and add it to the pumpkin mixture. Whisk until smooth. Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until there the only jiggle that is left is in the center. If the crust gets dark too quickly, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.