For such a seemingly simple dessert, pumpkin pie can be tricky to make. This recipe promises a tender, flaky crust and gently spiced pumpkin filling that won’t crack as it cools.
For the Crust:
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled with a knife
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening, in 4 pieces
- 4 tablespoons ice cold water
For the Filling:
- 1 (15-oz) can pumpkin (about 1-3/4 cups)
- 1 large egg
- 3 large eggs yolks
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1-1/4 cups evaporated milk
- Make the Crust: Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the pieces of butter and shortening and pulse until you have coarse crumbs with lots of pea and chickpea-size clumps of butter and shortening within. Add half of the water and pulse a few times to incorporate. Add the remaining water and pulse until the mixture is just evenly moistened and very crumbly. It will not come together into a mass — that’s okay. Dump the crumbly dough out onto a work surface and gather it into a ball. Pat the dough into a 5-inch disc — don’t worry if the edges crack — and wrap it in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes to rest.
- Take the dough out of the refrigerator (if it was in the fridge for a long time, let it sit on the countertop for 10-15 minutes so that it’s malleable enough to roll). Dust your work surface lightly with flour and place the dough on top; sprinkle a little flour over the dough. Use your hands to quickly work the dough into a smooth disc — don’t over-work it or warm it up too much, just smooth the edges as best as you can so it’s easier to roll. Roll the dough, adding more flour as necessary under and on top of the dough so it doesn’t stick, into a 13-inch circle. Carefully drape the dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to a 9-inch deep dish pie pan (it should be at least 1-1/2 inches deep). Gently fit the dough into the pan, easing it inwards rather than stretching it outwards. Don’t worry if it tears, just patch it right back up. Trim the edges to 1/2-inch beyond the lip of the pie pan. Turn the edges under to create a rim on the crust (you can use the scraps to patch in any thin areas); then press the rim against the lip of the pan, forming it into an even edge as you go. Using your fingers, crimp the rim. Place the crust in the freezer for at least 15 minutes while you heat the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the pie crust from the freezer and place on a baking sheet (this makes it easy to move in and out of the oven). Cover the crust with a piece of parchment paper and fill it about halfway full with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes. Take the crust out of the oven; remove the parchment paper and beans/pie weights and tent the edges with a few strips of foil folded in half lengthwise. This will protect the edges from getting too dark. Bake for another 20 minutes, until the dough is dry and golden. Don’t worry if the bottom puffs up; just press it down gently with a flat spatula, such as a pancake turner, taking care not to puncture it. Remove the foil but don’t throw it away; you may need it again.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
- Make the Filling: Whisk together all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Pour the filling into the pre-baked crust.
- Bake the pie for 50 to 60 minutes, until the filling is just set. It should look dry around the edges and the center should jiggle just slightly if you nudge the pan. Keep a close eye on the pie as it bakes; if ever the crust looks like it’s browning too quickly, tent the edges again with the foil strips. Cool the pie on a rack (leave it on the baking sheet) to room temperature, a few hours. Slice or refrigerate until ready to serve.
- If you use a store-bought crust, follow the instructions on the package for blind baking.
- Pumpkin pie can be made one day ahead of time and refrigerated.
- Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The dough can be made ahead and wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month. If you freeze it, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. The pie can be frozen after baking for up to 1 month. After it is completely cooled, double-wrap it securely with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place it in heavy-duty freezer bag. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.