Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Nothing screams Thanksgiving to me like pumpkin pie. Sure there’s turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes, but what really gets me jazzed is the pie.

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There’s something about the flavor of pumpkin that sings holiday. Growing up, a staple at our Thanksgiving dinner was homemade pumpkin pie. My grandparents would make 8-10 pies accompanied with a fresh bowl of whipped cream. The best part about the pie was that there was almost always left overs. The tasty remains served as the perfect late night snack or breakfast the following morning.

Now that I’ve moved out of state, I’ve taken on baking the pumpkin pie as my personal tradition. This year I even ventured down the road of making homemade pumpkin puree for the filling; it was so much easier than I thought!

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The recipe below will satisfy your sweet tooth without overwhelming your taste buds. The pumpkin flavor isn’t too bold and pairs perfectly with the flaky, buttery crust.

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (chilled)
  • 1 cup ice water

Filling

  • 1 sugar pumpkin (1 1/2 cups will be used)
  • All-purpose flour, for work surface
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs

Whipped cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

Crust

  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Cut chilled butter into small cubes and add to the flour mixture.
  2. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or knife and fork. Once finished, the mixture should be crumbly and butter should be pea sized. You can also complete this step by pulsing the mixture several times in a food processor.
  3. Next, add ½ cup of the ice water and mix. Continue adding ice water one tablespoon at a time until the mixture holds together. I like to start by mixing the dough with a wooden spoon and then switch to using my hands.
  4. Gather the mixture into a ball and divide in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (ideally two!). You can also prepare the dough ahead of time; it will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

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Filling

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Wash, de-stem, and cut the pumpkin in half. After cutting in half, remove seeds and inner gooey flesh. For a tasty snack, keep the seeds and toast separately.
  3. Oil the outside of the pumpkin and place cut-side down on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes or until pumpkin is tender.
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool; once cooled, remove the skin and place pumpkin flesh into a food processor. Puree until smooth.
  6. Transfer pumpkin puree to a large bowl and add remaining ingredients: salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, brown sugar, cornstarch, eggs, and evaporated milk. Whisk until well combined.

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Pie Assembly

  1. Set oven temperature to 375 degrees; roll one disk of the chilled pie dough until it forms a 14-inch round circle. Transfer dough to pie pan; trim and fold edges so that it is flush with the plan.
  2. Cover the center of the pie pan with parchment paper or foil (covering the crust) and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake shell for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove weights and parchment paper/foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes; remove the pie from the oven.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Transfer pie filling to the pre-baked pie crust and place in oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the center is set (should spring back when touched).

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Baked Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts

While walking through the halls at work the other day, I noticed a woman who had her arms full with boxes and stacks of papers. She was trying to pull the one arm-balancing maneuver; you know, the one where you think you’re the hulk and that you’re strong enough to hold everything with one arm and that you’ll still manage to open the door with the other arm (note: this move is most often used when trying to carry groceries in from the car). Anyway, she seemed to be struggling with said maneuver, and I quickly went to hold the door for her. She gave me a relieved smile and said, “Thank you.” What I didn’t expect was what she said next….

“Would you like a doughnut?”

What? A doughnut? She wasn’t carrying pink boxes around. . . I was not expecting an offer for doughnuts. I was completely caught off guard.

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This lady must have been a doughnut ninja; she knew the importance of hiding the good stuff, especially when roaming through the halls of an office. But back to the fact that she had offered me a doughnut. I don’t know why, but I paused. I took a moment to actually consider whether to accept the doughnut.

Me, taking a minute to decide about eating a doughnut? I must have woken up with a fever that morning. Oh no, it was just a case of the “I’m trying to eat less sweets.” (Don’t worry, I’ve since recovered). I politely smiled and said, “No thank you.” She gave me an all-knowing look that radiated a sense of wow, she’s going to regret that response. Well you-doughnut-ninja-mind-reader-you, you were right. I did regret turning down the doughnut. And so, here I am, trying to make up for that. I give to you, baked pumpkin spice doughnuts rolled in cinnamon sugar (recipe from Cooking Classy).

If you haven’t noticed from my past posts, I love, love, love baking doughnuts. Baking verse frying results in easier clean-up, less mess, and more consistent results. I also love the fact that I have both mini and regular size doughnut pans; so, naturally I made both.

Okay, real talk: this batter is packed with all the flavors you crave during fall, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and, of course, pumpkin. The fact that the dough isn’t overly sweet balances perfectly with the fact that you are going to roll these bad boys in cinnamon sugar as soon as they come out of the oven. Beware of tasting the batter before you bake these. . . you might not be able to put down your spoon.