Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Homemade Classic Pumpkin Pie

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I love to use pumpkin in baking, like my Pumpkin Pancakes, Spiced Pumpkin Seed Brittle, Pumpkin Cupcakes, Pumpkin Caramels, Pumpkin Fudge, and most of all my pumpkin cheesecake! Now, my Pumpkin Pie Bites, I really liked, probably because the ratio of crust to filling is much more my taste. But I have found a way to incorporate more crust into each slice, on top of light maple spiced whipped cream, and still have a flavorful, rich, creamy pie with warm, fragrant autumn spices in a buttery flaky crust underneath it all.

 
A few tricks that really make a difference, are to heat the spices with the pumpkin and sugars to really bring out the flavors, and dissolve the sugar, for a smooth creamy texture and great spiced pumpkin flavor. You can also put the filling through a strainer to ensure there are no clumps of pumpkin or anything else to disrupt the creamy perfection. And be sure you top this pie with a fresh maple spice whipped cream! Even spike it with a little bourbon for a more adult taste. 

Pumpkin Pie

Yield: One 9" pie; serves 8

Ingredients  
 
One unbaked 9-inch deep dish Pie Crust (2" deep/4c. volume)* - Store Bought OR Homemade:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, ice cold, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 2-4 tablespoons ice water

Pumpkin Pie Filling:
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (100% pure pumpkin, NOT pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon maple or vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup half & half or light cream
  • whipped cream or cream cheese frosting for topping (optional)

Maple Spiced (Bourbon Spiked) Whipped Cream: 
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold (or frozen and thawed whipped topping) 
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1-2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or ground cinnamon


Directions


Prepare Pie Crust (skip this if using pre made refrigerated pie crust):
Combine flour, sugar, and salt with your fingers, fork, or in a food processor. Blend in butter until mixture looks sandy, like a coarse meal, with tiny balls of butter. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together. If dough is still crumbly, add more ice water a little at a time if needed. Flatten into disks and cover with plastic wrap. Do not over knead dough, little balls of butter will  be visible. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Press into pie tin and return to fridge.

Prepare Pumpkin Pie Filling: 
Preheat oven to 425°F. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the pumpkin, sugars, spices, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Keep cooking pumpkin until shiny and thick, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let mixture cool. Once pumpkin mixture has cooled, add the eggs one at a time until combined. Add the flavoring extract and half & half, stirring until smooth. Pour into prepared pie shell.


Bake: 
Bake in preheated 425°F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F, and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes, until filling has puffed slightly and looks dry. Center should jiggle slightly when shaken, but will set upon cooling. Cool on a wire rack for 1-2 hours. 

    *Filling can alternatively be split between two 1" deep, 9" pie crusts. Prepare as directed and bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes.


    Prepare Whipped Cream:
    Combine all ingredients in a large chilled bowl, and whip until soft peaks form.


    Serve pie with a dollop of whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate leftovers.

     
    To create the little Autumn leaf toppers, simple roll out some extra pie crust, cut out leaf shapes with a small cookie cutter, roll in cinnamon sugar and bake at 350 degrees F for about 7-10 minutes. 


     
    Let cool and use to top your Thanksgiving pies, cupcakes, and desserts. Or eat them as a yummy snack!
     



    Here is is, pictured next to my apple crisp and pumpkin cheesecake, at my family's Thanksgiving table :)



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