Is there a trick to a good pumpkin pie? Yes, in fact there are a couple of them. Pre-baking the crust is one, keeping the filling warm-hot until the pie crust is ready is another. Combined, these techniques keep the crust from getting soggy. Other tricks include using a contemporary deep-sided pie pan, which will help eliminate cracking and weeping (for more on that see upcoming posts). For this recipe (which I swiped from Cook’s Illustrated and changed to suit my tastes) you’ll need:
1 recipe pie dough for a single-crust 9-inch pie
16 ounces (2 cups) canned pumpkin
7 ounces (1 cup packed) dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup milk
Prepare the pie dough according to directions, a day ahead of time if you prefer. Roll and rest the dough according to the directions here. To pre-bake the crust, heat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and place a rack on a lower-middle position. Lay a sheet of tin foil over your dough-lined pie plate, gently folding the edges over to shield the edge of your crust. Pour pie weights, dried beans, uncooked rice or loose change into the shell. Put the pie plate into the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Gently remove the foil and weights. Bake the shell another 5-6 minutes until the crust is lightly browned.
While the pie shell is baking, prepare the filling. If you have a food processor, process the pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices all together for 1 minute to chop up any bits of tissue and give the pie a silky texture. If not, just mix them thoroughly in a bowl. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and heat it over medium-high heat until it starts to simmer, and cook it for about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and whisk in the milk and cream. Bring the mixture up to a simmer, the turn the heat down to low until the shell is ready. Whisk the eggs in a bowl and have them standing by (since your food processor is dirty already, you can process them for ten seconds in there if you wish).
When the shell is finished, remove it from the oven. Take the pumpkin mixture off the heat and promptly whisk in the eggs, then pour the whole mixture into the hot shell. Bake about 25 minutes, until he filling doesn’t “slosh” when you move the pan, but jiggles. Cool the pie on a rack for an hour before serving.