SO Easy! How to Make a REAL Pumpkin Pie

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People, it is November.  As in the eleventh month of year 2015.  I feel like just yesterday I was preparing for Christmas…of last year.  But just yesterday, I was shopping for this year’s holiday season.  The days and months seem to have flown right by.  I refuse to spend anther minute lamenting how fast my children are growing up. That is a very dramatic lie, I don’t refuse, I cry about it often.  But instead of crying on that – let’s talk about something more cheerful – pumpkin pie!

How many of you beautiful people have ever made a pie from scratch?  If you are not sure, then the answer is no.  Does this cause you to suffer from holiday anxiety?  Where everyone brings a signature dish, while you pay a visit to your friend the Pillsbury Dough Boy in the freezer section on the way to Grandma’s house.  Friends, I am here to tell you that you can bake a good ol’ fashioned pie from scratch.  One that you can literally tell your nosy, judgmental Aunt Martha-in-law to shove down her pie hole.  So say it with me…”I CAN BAKE A PIE!” {Full recipe at the bottom of this post!}

OKCMBPumpkinPie01First things first, go and raid your fall decorations.  Chances are, when you were stocking up in the pumpkin section, you grabbed a pie pumpkin.  These little guys are small and sweet and kids paint them for art projects.

Begin by snapping off the stem and cutting the pumpkin in half.  Be sure to go with the grooves.  Now you take a spoon or ice-cream scoop and clean out the seeds.  You can toast these babies, just like the ones you take from inside your jack-o-lanterns.  Then place the halves, open side down on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for about an hour.  You will know it is finished when a knife easily pierces the skin of the pumpkin. Take it out of the oven and let it stand for a few minutes.  When it is still hot, but you can handle it without burning your hands, flip the halves over to cool on a cooling rack.

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When it has cooled completely, scrape out the flesh into a bowl.  You will puree the pumpkin with an immersion blender or a stand blender.  Do not add water to the pumpkin, even if it is difficult to blend.  (A side note:  if you have considered making your own baby food, congratulations!  You just made pureed pumpkin.  I like to add a bit of water and mashed banana to give more flavor and texture for my little.  So measure out your two cups and give the rest to your baby.)  Now place the puree in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

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Let’s whip up some crust!  I have tinkered with several pie crust recipes, and I have finally found one I use for all occasions.  The wonderful people over at King Arthur Flour test kitchen (aka my dream job) have put this lovely recipe on their site.  My method is slightly different, simply because I don’t keep fresh water in a spray bottle for baking.  So gather all of your ingredients and we will get our hands dirty.

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Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl.  Then measure out the shortening and dump it into the bowl.  Before you mix it together, cube the butter into tiny pieces and add it as well.  The butter must be cold.  Now take your pastry blender and mash everything together until it resembles small crumbs.  This will take a minute or two.  What is happening at this stage in our crust creation is the fat is coating the flour.  We are about to add some cold water and you want the fat to be well-incorporated.

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When you feel like you have pulverized your butter and flour to smithereens, it is time to grab the cup of ice water.  You will want to add the water a tablespoon at a time.  This is how you can gauge the consistency of your dough.  After each addition of water, take a large fork and toss the mixture.  You want the dough to form a ball.  So when it starts to get clumpy on your fork, you are probably there.  I like to get it moist enough to use all the bits in the bowl.  If it is a little sticky, I will dust the outside of the ball with a bit of flour.  This will prevent it from sticking to the plastic wrap.  Now pat it into a disc that is about an inch thick.  Wrap in the plastic wrap, and try to think happy thoughts–even if you have to make three attempts to unroll the plastic wrap before you succeed.  Put it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

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When you are ready to bake that beautiful pie, take the disc of pie dough out of the refrigerator and toss it on the counter for 5 minutes to allow the butter to soften a bit.  Sprinkle flour on the counter a set your rolling pin to the side.  After you have unwrapped the dough, take your knuckles and press around the edges.  This will help to keep the edges from tearing when you are rolling it out.  As you begin to roll it out, keep your pin floured and move the dough around on the counter to keep it from sticking.  When you have rolled it out to be larger than the circumference of your pie plate, loosely roll the flattened dough around your pin and transfer it to the pie plate.

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Once the dough is resting on top of the pie plate, gently press it to the bottom and sides.  It shouldn’t be sticky so it won’t stay completely still, but you can do your best to get out the bubbles.  There will be quite a bit of overhang around the edge of the plate.  Take your kitchen sheers and trim it to 3/4 inch over the side.

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Take your excess and fold it under, creating a thick edge.  Gently pinch the fold together so that it stands up.

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OKCMBPumpkinPieRecipe13Okay, let’s get talk about crimping edges.  I love the way that a classic crimp looks.  But sometimes I don’t do such a great job of finishing my edges.  One great method is to take a fork and press it down.  I like to add cutouts from these tiny cookie cutters along my less than stellar edges, to act as a blanket for my messiness.  However, if you would like to do the classic ripple, this is how it goes.  I had to photograph each hand placement because I don’t have a third arm to take the picture, but do you get the idea?  You push the dough from the inside with one finger and you support it on each side from the outer edge.
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Now that our crust is ready, we need to whip up the filling!  Pull the pumpkin puree from the refrigerator and set out the spices.

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OKCMBPumpkinPieRecipe11Take a minute to preheat your oven to 425.  The first step is to combine all of the dry ingredients; the sugars, the spices and salt.  After you have whisked those together, add the lightly beaten eggs, pumpkin and can of evaporated milk.  You do not need to beat this mixture, it will be very soupy and will most likely slosh onto the floor.  So be on guard.  Also, I forgot to add the spices at the beginning, so while there is an optimal time to add them, it can be done at the end and it tastes just fine! 🙂  Take your pie plate with your beautiful pie dough and set it on a cookie sheet.  Remember when I warned you about sloshing?  Well, this cookie sheet is here to help you stabilize everything, and if not, at least it will catch the mess you are about to make.

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Put the pie in the heated oven for 20 minutes.  Turn the oven down to 350 for an additional 40-50 minutes.  I would start checking it around 20 minutes.  I added a shield to keep the heat from burning my edges.  You can tent the whole pie or just cover the edges.  This is also when I bake the pie toppings.  A pumpkin pie isn’t a good one to top with crust, because it will sink.  I bake the pieces of crust separately and place them on the pie to cover the part in the middle where I test the pie.  You will know it is done when a knife is inserted in the middle and comes out mostly clean.  Allow the pie to cool and then refrigerate.

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Now my friends, look what you have done.  You have made a pie worthy of a blue ribbon.  Now cut yourself a slice and add a dollop of whipped cream and pour a cup of coffee…and invite me over!

HomemadeFresh Pumpkin Pie

Crust Recipe:

1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup shortening
5 Tablespoons Butter, cold
3 – 5 Tablespoons Ice Water
Combine flour and salt.  Cut in butter and shortening until it resembles crumbs.  Toss with ice water, a tablespoon at a time, until it forms a dough ball.  Shape into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.  When ready to use, set out on counter to soften a bit and roll out.  Add a filling and bake.


Fresh Pumpkin Pie:

1/2 cup Brown Sugar, packed
1/3 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Ginger, ground
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Cloves
2 Eggs, plus an additional egg yolk
2 cups Pumpkin Puree
1 can Evaporated Milk, 12 oz.
Preheat oven to 425.  Whisk dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add slightly beaten eggs, and mix.  Add pumpkin and evaporated milk.  Pour soupy mixture in unbaked pie crust.  Set on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes and reduce heat to 350 and bake for an additional 40 – 50 minutes.  When knife is inserted in the middle and comes out clean, take pie out to cool.  Top with whipped cream and enjoy.
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Anna is a born and raised Arkansan, transplanted to OKC for her husband’s job. She has 3 fantastic kiddos who are currently three and under. Although she has never taught in the school system, her degree is Family and Consumer Sciences Education is put to use every day in her full time career as a stay at home mom. Anna is also a lifestyle and portrait photographer. She’s Yoga practicing, lover of sewing, cloth diapering, DIY-ing, baby wearing mom who loves to bake with processed sugar. You can keep up with her over at Barefoot Mamma.

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