[This recipe was originally posted in 2010, and it remains my favorite pumpkin pie recipe to this day. I’ve made it more than a half dozen times since first sharing it with you, and I thought it deserved some photo upgrades. I also didn’t include a crust recipe the last time around, so I have updated the recipe to include my favorite pie crust, as well. Happy Pie Baking!]
Pumpkin pie is THE quintessential Thanksgiving dessert, am I right? It’s rare to find a house that doesn’t serve at least one, if for no other reason than “it’s Thanksgiving, you have to have pumpkin pie”. I am a huge pie person (and an even bigger pie crust person), but truth be told, pumpkin has never been one of my favorites. I will eat it, for sure (I’m not totally crazy), but it just never did much for me… until I found this recipe. While the flavor isn’t too dramatically different than most recipes, it has some extra oomph, and the texture is far superior to any pumpkin pie I’ve ever tasted. It’s silky smooth, creamy, and has an incredibly clean, slightly spicy pumpkin flavor.
This recipe definitely differs from that old familiar one on the back of the can of pumpkin. While it’s a bit more involved as far as prep goes, I think the payoff is well worth the extra effort. Below are a few notes on how the different ingredients and techniques impact the pie:
- The addition of candied yams (sweet potatoes) intensifies the pumpkin flavor.
- Using fresh ginger adds more complex flavor than its ground counterpart.
- Maple syrup boosts the pumpkin’s natural sweetness.
- Simmering the pumpkin and sweet potatoes cooks off a significant amount of moisture and concentrates their flavor.
- Cooking the spices along with the pumpkin allows their flavors to intensify.
- Heating the filling allows it to firm up quickly in the oven, rather than soaking into the crust and making it soggy.
So, there you have it. This is a little bit of a spin on traditional pumpkin pie, but it’s definitely a notch above, in my opinion. This will certainly become my standard pumpkin pie from now on!
A classic pumpkin pie recipe - smooth, creamy and just moderately spiced. The best pumpkin pie you'll ever eat!
For the Pie Crust:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch slices
¼ cup vegetable shortening, cold, cut into two pieces
2 tablespoons vodka, cold
2 tablespoons ice water
For the Pie Filling:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3 eggs + 2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
1 cup drained candied yams (from 15-ounce can)
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1. Make the Pie Crust: Process ¾ cup flour, sugar and salt in a food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add the butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds; dough will resemble cottage cheese, but there should be no uncoated flour. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around the blade. Add the remaining ½ cup flour and pulse until the mixture is evenly distributed around the bowl and the mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Turn the mixture into a medium bowl.
2. Sprinkle the vodka and ice water over the mixture. With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix, pressing down on the dough until the dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten the dough into a 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
3. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a generously floured work surface to a 12-inch circle. Roll the dough loosely around the rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Ease the dough into the plate by gently lifting the edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
4. Trim the overhang to ½ inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Using thumb and forefinger, flute the edge of dough. Refrigerate the dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.
5. Remove the pie pan from refrigerator, line the crust with aluminum foil, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake on the rimmed baking sheet for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights, rotate plate, and bake 5 to 15 additional minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp. Remove pie plate and baking sheet from oven.
6. Prepare the Pie Filling: While the pie shell is baking, whisk cream, milk, eggs, yolks and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Combine the pumpkin, yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan; bring to a sputtering simmer over medium heat, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue to simmer pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly and mashing yams against sides of pot, until thick and shiny, 10 t0 15 minutes.
7. Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the cream mixture until fully incorporated. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl, using the back of a ladle or spatula to press solids through strainer. Rewhisk mixture and transfer to warm prebaked pie shell.
8. Bake the Pie: Return the pie plate with baking sheet to oven and bake pie for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F and continue baking until edges of pie are set and the center looks firm but jiggles slightly (an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center should register 175 degrees F), 20 to 35 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack and cool to room temperature, 2 to 3 hours. Serve with whipped cream. Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.