Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin PieEveryone should know how to make a pie.

I’m talking about  a real, homemade pie. One that is reminiscent of grandmothers and Sunday brunch. One with a flaky, buttery crust that you lovingly rolled out yourself. One with sweet fruit that bubbles over.

I tell you this because I love you and I want you to be the best person that you can be.

It’s really important to me.

Pumpkin PieI’ll be honest: pie is not easy. Pie is frustrating. Pie is finicky. Pie is time-consuming. Pie is rarely perfect.

But isn’t that true of most worthwhile things in life?

Knowing how to make a good pie is empowering. It makes you feel like Superwoman. And sometimes you just need to feel like Superwoman. Like on the days when the kids are cranky and the laundry is piling up and you have a huge deadline at work that you just can’t miss. Those are the days you really need to feel like Superwoman. Those are the days you need to be able to make a great pie.

Pumpkin PieYou can do it. I promise. Let’s do it together.

Every good pie starts with a homemade crust. Don’t you dare reach for that premade pie crust in your refrigerator. We’re making homemade pie here. Embrace butter. Real butter. Cold butter.

Don’t over-knead your dough. See those specks of butter? We want those. They make your crust super flaky. Muy importante.

Pumpkin PieYour crust might tear as you roll it out. That’s okay. Just patch it up and keep rolling.

I made a super fancy crust for this pie using dough scraps and a leaf cookie cutter. It looks intimidating, but it’s actually super simple. You should try it. It’ll knock the socks off of your dinner guests. Or you can just flute the edges of the crust and call it a day. Easy peasy. You really can’t go wrong, either way.

Next comes the filling. Classic pumpkin. If you’re super ambitious, start with a pie pumpkin and make your own pumpkin puree. It’s not so scary, honest. Or just use the canned stuff. It’s just as great, and no one will be the wiser. I won’t tell if you don’t.

Pumpkin Pie

Pour the filling into the crust, pop it into the oven, and watch the magic happen.

This pie tastes like perfection. And it’s totally worth the time it takes to make. Cut it into big slices and serve with a heaping dollop of whipped cream.

Do you feel like Superwoman? Because you totally should.

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie
Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart

Active time: 40 minutes
Start to finish: 4 hours
Serves 12

For the pie crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

For the pumpkin filling
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 large egg yolk, for egg wash
1 tablespoon water
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups unsweetened pumpkin puree, canned or fresh
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
Whipped cream, for serving

For the pie crust
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.

With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

(If you don’t have a food processor, combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then cut in butter with a pastry blender.)

Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.

For the pumpkin pie
On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disc of dough to a 13-inch round, 1/8 inch thick. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim excess dough flush with rim (reserve scraps). Pierce bottom of shell all over with a fork. Refrigerate or freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, on a lightly floured piece of parchment, roll out scraps. Using a 1-inch leaf-shaped cutter, cut out 40 leaves from dough. Transfer cutouts to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a paring knife, etch veins in each leaf. Refrigerate until ready to use.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk and the water; lightly brush one side of each leaf with egg wash. Arrange leaves, slightly overlapping, around edge of crust, making sure they do not extend over the edge, to prevent them from browning too quickly. Lightly brush bottom of each leaf with egg wash as you work. Refrigerate shell 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line pie shell with parchment; fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake 20 minutes. Carefully remove weights and parchment, and continue to bake until golden, 10 minutes more. Let cool on wire rack. (Keep oven on.)

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin, and 2 eggs. Add evaporated milk, and whisk to combine. Pour filling into partially baked crust.

Place pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until edges are set but center is still slightly wobbly, 35 to 40 minutes (or more–mine takes up to 60 minutes sometimes). Transfer plate to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve with whipped cream.

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