Perfect Pumpkin Pie
As promised, I’m sharing one last pumpkin recipe! Pumpkin pie is my favorite kind of pie, how about you? I love the flaky crust, the custard-like filling and all of those fall spices. It’s just so darn good! But not all pumpkin pies are created equal. Sometimes they can end up too crusty on top, too gooey in the center or way too aggressively spiced. Not this one. It’s perfect in every way possible. So what makes this pie so different? Secret ingredients.
Like super secret. Shhh…. don’t tell anyone what I’m about to tell you, ok? All jokes aside, there are a few things I put in my pumpkin pie that make it taste incredible and help this pie stand out in the crowd. It all starts with a super flaky crust. Nothing too special about it, just a little flour, sugar, salt, butter and water. And of course an egg wash. It’s what makes it golden around the edges. Blind bake the crust for 15 minutes using parchment paper and pie weights (or beans) to prevent your crust from shrinking and slumping, then add the filling to it.
Speaking of the filling, it’s best to get that whipped up while your crust is baking. I took a few pointers from Cook’s Illustrated and simmered the pumpkin puree on the stovetop to reduce excess moisture and intensify the flavor. Along with the puree I added both brown sugar and granulated sugar, salt and spices. Sometimes I think people tend to overdo the amount of spices that go into pumpkin pie, so I stuck with fairly conservative amounts- turns out that was a good idea! 1 1/4 tsp. of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. of ginger, 1/8 tsp. ground cloves, 1/8 tsp. nutmeg and a generous pinch of my super secret ingredient, cardamom. I’ve actually become quite a huge fan of adding cardamom to my fall recipes. It’s pretty intense so a small amount goes a long way, which is good because it’s pricey. But it definitely adds a whole new level of spice to this pie, and it wouldn’t be the same without it! I also love it paired with almond, especially in my poached pear tart!
As the pumpkin/sugar/salt/spice mixture simmers, it will begin to darken a bit. That’s nothing to worry about. Let it go for about 5 minutes or so and then remove it from the heat. Whisk in some cold heavy cream (make sure it’s cold to offset the heat of the mixture and to prevent the eggs from curdling) along with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Yes, vanilla. I know I’m obsessed with it, but it really does make everything taste better! Then whisk in 3 eggs along with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch. The cornstarch will help thicken the pie as it cooks and will help prevent it from being gooey (along with baking it for the correct amount of time).
Remove the parchment and weights from the crust and pour the filling right in. Return it to the oven and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 35-45 minutes or until the center is barely jiggly. You will probably notice that during the last half of the baking time, the filling will expand and rise, it will fall as it cools and will become completely flat. Let the pie cool at room temperature or speed it along by refrigerating it after it has cooled for about 45 minutes at room temperature.
Top it with whipped cream, slice and serve! Everyone is going to love this pumpkin pie- it’s perfect!
- 1½ c. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. granulated sugar
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1½ sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- ¼ c. ice cold water, plus an additional tablespoon if needed
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp. heavy cream
- For the filling:
- 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
- ⅔ c. brown sugar
- ⅓ c. granulated sugar
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ground ginger
- ⅛ tsp. ground cloves
- ⅛ tsp. ground nutmeg
- generous pinch cardamom
- 1¼ c. heavy cream, cold
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- To prepare the crust, in a large mixing bowl (or food processor) combine the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the the cubes of butter (or process) until coarse crumbles form. Slowly add the water, mixing gently until the dough begins to stick together.
- Turn onto a large piece of plastic wrap, pat into a disc and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- On a well floured surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a pie dish and gently press in. Fold the overhang over and crimp with your fingers or a fork. Whisk the egg and heavy cream together and brush the edges of the crust. Place a piece of parchment paper over top and fill with pie weights or beans. Blind bake for 15 minutes, remove the weights and parchment.
- While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the pumpkin, sugars, salt and spices. Bring the mixture to a low simmer, cook for 5 minutes. You may notice that it darkens slightly, thats ok. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cold cream and vanilla extract. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated. Then sprinkle the cornstarch in and whisk till combined.
- Pour into the warm pie crust, return to the oven and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 35-45 minutes or until the center is barely jiggly. During the last half of the baking time, the filling will expand and rise, it will fall as it cools and will become completely flat. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature for 45 minutes, the place in the refrigerator to continue cooling.
Recipe source: inspired by Joy The Baker