Nothing says Thanksgiving like turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and of course … PUMPKIN PIE. Want to really wow your family? Before hitting the frozen isle or the grocery store “bakery,” try making your own. I decided to do that very thing one year and now I swear I’ll never buy Mrs. Smith’s again. Using fresh pumpkin, my own ground spices, an easy buttery flaky crust, and homemade whipped cream, I am now able to proudly present a pumpkin pie worth being thankful for. But not before a faux pas or two….
One of the things I love about this recipe is how much more flavorful the spices are. While many store bought pies can be bland, this one really shines. So for the first year I brought it to Thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws’ house, I doctored it up a bit to ensure lots of flavor. I was super excited. Homemade pumpkin pie….what a great daughter-in-law I turned out to be, right?? Dessert time rolled around and I took a slice first, because I just knew this was going to be awesome. As I watched others try it, I noticed they were chewing slowly, sort of obligatorily, and smiling that smile. You know that smile. The something-is-wrong smile. Nobody would say it out loud, but my pie was awful. I had gotten too heavy-handed with the allspice and cloves, and it tasted like medicine. Even I couldn’t finish it. I apologized, we all had a good laugh, and I promptly threw my failure away.
I skipped making pumpkin pie the next year to help the memory fade, but this year I’m back. Pay close attention to my spice notes. They are on point this time, as was evidenced by my husband, daughter, and brother-in-law, who could only mumble “mmm mmm mmm…” while being my guinea pigs. So I’ve finally got it figured out …. and we can all be thankful for that!
Buttery Pie Crust
- 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter, chilled and diced
- ¼ cup ice water
Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. I hand-mix mine for the best results. Stir in water, one teaspoon at a time, until mixture forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Spray a little nonstick spray on bottom of pie dish. Roll dough out to fit a 9-inch pie pan, pressing evenly into the bottom and sides of dish. With a fork, poke holes in bottom of dough.
My REAL LIFE confession to you: I have not yet gotten my pie crust to not shrink. I have heard that glass pie dishes amplify the problem, but my husband gave me these dishes and I love them. So, there. But when I finally perfect it, and I will, you’ll be the first to know! (Okay, maybe the second.)
Pumpkin Pie Filling
Cut a pie pumpkin in half, remove seeds, and place open side up on baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake on 350 for about an hour.
Once pumpkin is cooked, mix together the following:
- 1/½ cup pumpkin
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 ²/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 2 eggs
For your spices, put the following in a spice grinder or coffee grinder:
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon whole allspice
- 1 teaspoon whole clove
- 1 teaspoon salt
Grind until spices are processed as much as you can get them. When you’re done, take a small strainer and strain powder into a separate bowl. What’s left should just be small pieces. Take out any larger pieces (sometimes cloves leave behind stems). Anything else that didn’t strain through can be ground more in a mortar and pestle or with a meat tenderizer.
Mix all the spices together very thoroughly, then spoon 3 teaspoons into the pumpkin mixture. (You will have about half of the spice mixture leftover, and some of that will be used later for the whipped cream.) Stir and blend pumpkin mixture thoroughly, then pour into pie shell. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing to ensure pie has completely set up.
Honey Spiced Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (from above)
Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix with electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Pipe or dollop onto pie.
Eat and be thankful.