Saturday, December 7, 2013

More Pumpkin, and More Pie

What would Thanksgiving dessert be without pumpkin pie?

(Well, delicious, but that's besides the point.)

Each year my family makes two pumpkin pies (because let's be honest nothing gets the rush of gratitude flowing like extra dessert :D). The idea is that by gorging ourselves on pumpkin on Thanksgiving and the approximately two days it takes to polish off the rest of the pies, we'll probably make it to the next Thanksgiving and its promise of pumpkin pie.

Unfortunately, whereas making food is a Thanksgiving tradition, processed food seems to be something of an American tradition. Last year I was a little troubled to find out that pumpkin pie was one of the most pre-processed items that leaves my house. Not only did we use pre-packaged pie crust (the horror, right? how are you supposed to brag about that), but my mom directed me to the recipe on the outside of the pumpkin can. Like couldn't between me and my mom and my aunt and my grandma and the Internet we scrounge up something a little more original?

Evidently not, because I ended up using the same on-the-back-of-the-can pumpkin pie recipe again this year. Because it is really good.

But I could not find it in myself to forgive the pre-made pie I made my own. The dough is really simple and when you do chill it properly (yes, I learned my lesson) it turns out really good. It has no shortening in it because half of them are carcinogenic and the other half were not avaliable at the grocery stores my mom visited in the three days leading up to this project. And it was actually very flaky, and I will explain why below :)

Pumpkin Pie

I use the traditional Libby's pumpkin pie recipe (yes, on the back of the can). Since you can find the standard recipe easily on Internet pages everywhere, I decided to go ahead and double it (yes, that's a suggestion) and I also added some nutmeg because I like it. And of course, I included my crust recipe (also doubled). Makes 2 9-inch pies.


2 cups 6 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 cubes butter (plus some extra for buttering your dishes)
1/2 cup ice water (you may need a couple tbsp more to bind the dough together)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
4 large eggs
29 (read: 30 but we're downsizing our cans for profit) oz pumpkin puree (I put 30 as an act of rebellion)
2 12-oz cans evaporated milk
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. Mix your flour and salt in a food processor. Cut up the butter into chunks, put in the food processor, and blending until everything is still mixed together but you can still see little pockets of butter (pictures below).
3. Add 1/2 cup ice water. Blend until your dough is pebbly, adding the couple extra tablespoons if need be.
4. Split the dough into two parts; form into disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and then chill for about 45 minutes.
5. While you're waiting, you can go ahead and butter your two 9-inch pie dishes. Before you start on the next step preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
5. Lay out a piece of parchment paper big enough to accomodate an approximately 10-inch diameter piece of dough. Rub some flour on it to prevent sicking (this is optional, I tried :D). Lay down one of your dough disks and cover with another sheet of parchment. Roll out your dough between the parchment sheets using a rolling pin until you have a piece 9 1/2-10 inches in diameter.
6. Remove the rolled-out disk from the parchment paper and press into the pie dish. Pinch off the excess, but make sure there's a little ledge/ overhang above the border of the pie dish. Using the side of your pinky, make decorative indents around the edge of the pie. Using a fork, poke holes in the sides and bottom of the crust. (If your crust is getting a little too thawed by this time, pop it back in the fridge for 15 minutes.)
7. Bake your crust for about 15 minutes until it's gaining some color and it's firm to the touch (if you don't bake it beforehand, it won't bake with the filling on top and will remain soggy.)

1. DON'T TURN OFF THE OVEN (425 degrees).
2. Combine the sugar and spices in a medium bowl.
3. Beat the eggs lightly in a large bowl.
4. Add pumpkin. Then add the sugar and spices.
5. Add the evaporated milk.
6. Place your pre-baked pie crusts onto a baking tray (you need to do it before you fill the crusts, because this mixture is sloshy!) and then fill them with your mixture.
7. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 40-50 minutes or until a knife in the center comes out clean.
8. Suggestion: serve one to your family and hoard the other.

Add the butter to the flour/salt in chunks

Combine butter and flour, but make sure that there are still little chunks of butter left.

Add the water and mix until your dough is pebbly (because you still have little spots of butter, right?)

Yes you do! See all the litte white spots? When the pie bakes the water in the butter will evaporate, producing tiny little air pockets and ensuring a flaky pie, without shortening.

For the fridge

Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment

Make a pattern around the edge with your finger...aren't they pretty?

The beautiful finished pie!


  1. Love the step-by-step instructions and the photos! Regarding your comment about shortenings being carcinogenic and good shortening being hard to find: I only use Spectrum brand organic shortening and it's available inexpensively at Target and Trader Joe's. It's not hydrogenated and it works great for pastry crusts. Love the blog!

  2. Thanks so much for the tip! I've heard Spectrum is good but we couldn't find it at a grocery store. I wouldn't have thought of Target!

  3. Why do I have white areas on the top of my pumpkin pie?