I am more of an apple pie (tart, galette) kind of gal but since “Tis the Season”, pumpkin pie it is. I had leftover roasted pumpkin on hand so puréed it through a food mill for smooth texture. You need about 2 cups. You can use canned pumpkin if you don’t have fresh, I think it’s fine and many online recipe call for canned pumpkin. However, make the pastry yourself, please. It makes all the difference.
After reading a few recipes online I saw that some cooks bake the pastry shell “blind” (meaning without the filling) for a few minutes before they add the filling. You can do this if you wish. My method is baking it all together and for me it works. I start baking at 425F for 15 minutes to give it a quick hot start, then lower the heat to 375 to finish the cooking, for another 35-45 minutes. Sometimes, if the filling is not quite set, I lower the heat to 350F , cover l;oosely with foil and let it finish baking without browning the pastry edges too much.
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into cubes and frozen for 15 minutes.
Sugar is optional, can add 1 tablespoon if you wish.
6 tablespoons water, more if needed
Place flour and salt (and sugar if using) in a food processor and pulse a few times.
Add the frozen butter cubes and pulse a few times until butter is covered with flour.
Continue to pulse and drizzle in the water only until the mixture is crumbly.
Pulse a few more times, then empty the crumbly dough onto the works surface.
With your hands quickly bring the dough together and form a disk, being careful not to let your warm hands warm up the dough. The butter should be cold.
Divide the dough into two disks, wrap with plastic and refrigerate until cold, about an hour.
When ready to proceed bring the disks out of the fridge to warm up a bit.
On a floured surface roll one disk into a large circle, larger than the pie plate by at least two inches. It should be about 1/8 inch thick.
With the rolling pin lift the dough and drape over the pie plate, adjusting it so it is roughly even all around.
Trip the dough around the plate and crimp as you wish. Return to the fridge or even freezer for 30 minutes.
On a parchment paper roll out the second disk 1/8 inch thick and cut out relevant seasonal shapes with cookie cutters. This will be used to decorate the pie.
Slide a cookie sheet under the parchment and without separating the cutouts, place in the fridge or freezer for 30 minutes. This helps keep their shape when you separate them later.
When you are ready to bake the decorations remove from the fridge and pull out the “cookies”. Place them on a baking sheet and brush top with an egg wash of 1 egg with a tablespoon of water or milk.
Bake at 375F for about 15 minutes or until the are golden and cooked through.
Remove and cool on racks.
Pumpking pie filling:
2 cups pumpkin puree or one 540mg canned pure pumpkin (not pie filling)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/4 cup cream
Combine pumpkin with remaining ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Baking the pie:
Remove pie shell from the refrigerator, pour the pumpkin filling into it.
Place in a preheated 425F oven for 15 minutes.
Lower heat to 375 and finish baking the pie, another 35-45 minutes.
Insert a knife into the center to check if it’s done. the knife should come out clean.
Decorate the pie with the cutout or serve them alongside for extra crunch.
Serve with whipped cream.
Sometime I like to sprinkle candied nuts over (cook 1 cup nuts with 1 tablespoon sugar in a skillet until the sugar melts and coats the nuts. Transfer to a parchment sheet and let cool. Chop roughly and sprinkle around the edges.