Greetings, comrades. Fall is upon us and there’s no better way to celebrate than baking our problems away. This recipe is not only delicious but also totally adjustable to fit any of your dietary restrictions. Unique and flavorful, this pie will be a great project for yourself and pandemic pals.
Okay, I know what a lot of you are thinking. “A pumpkin pie from scratch? That sounds like a lot of work...” And I’m not going to lie to you here, it totally is. You could easily back out and buy one of those sad premade pies at Kroger; no one would even be able to tell over your Zoom Thanksgiving parties. But there’s something really beautiful about creating a dish from just a few wholesome ingredients. As you read on, you’ll discover that culinary expertise isn’t the only skill you’ll use here. Baking pie is a combination of science and artistry; gastronomy and architecture. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but believe me, you’ll taste how rewarding it is.
- 2 ½ c. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 6 tbsp. cold butter (If vegan, replace with vegan butter)
- ¾ c. vegetable shortening
- 6-8 tbsp. ice-cold water
- One pie pumpkin
- Oil of your choice
- Three eggs (If vegan, make flax eggs)
- 1 c. packed brown sugar
- ¼ c. white sugar
- 1 c. heavy cream (If vegan, try coconut cream or a dairy-free milk alternative)
- ¼ c. milk
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. ground ginger
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- A dash of cloves
- A dash of allspice
The pie crust must be cold. Chilled fats allow the gluten, making it much easier to work with, plus it re-distributes the fats into layers, creating a beautiful flakey crust. Don’t skimp out on this one. Warm dough is almost impossible to roll out.
- Combine flour and salt into a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, use a large mixing bowl.
- Cut the butter into small cubes and add to flour and salt mixture. Butter should be cold and firm.
- Add vegetable shortening to mixture.
- If using a food processor, combine for 1-2 minutes, or until soft and crumbly. If using a mixing bowl, grab two forks, butter knives, or a pastry cutter and mash the butter and shortening through the flour until crumbly.
- Add cold water one tablespoon at a time. If using a food processor, pulse the mixture a few times after each tablespoon. If using a mixing bowl, continue smashing everything together. Continue adding water until mixture reaches a dough-like consistency.
- Flatten the dough into a disc, cover in plastic wrap (or those cool beeswax wraps, if you have them), and refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Rinse off the pumpkin and slice in half. Carve out the stem.
- Scoop out the insides of the pumpkin. Don’t throw them away. You can roast the seeds, and if possible, compost the rest.
- Oil up the remaining pumpkin halves to lock in moisture. I use sunflower oil, but olive oil or vegetable oil is fine as well.
- Bake the pumpkin skin-side up for about an hour. You can check if it’s done and tender by pricking the skin with a fork.
- Let the pumpkin cool until you can comfortably touch it with your hands. Peel back the skin and place the remaining pumpkin into a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth, about 2-5 minutes.
- Whisk the puree, eggs, and sugar in a large mixing bowl until combined.
- Add cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice (Pumpkin pie spice is a suitable replacement for all of the above).
- Add milk and heavy cream.
Roll out the dough:
- Liberally dust a flat surface with flour.
- Remove dough disc from fridge and dust both dough and rolling pin in flour. Roll out the dough until it will fit into a 9-inch pan, about 1/8” thick.
- Carefully move the rolled dough to a greased pie pan by rolling the dough back onto the rolling pin and then carefully turning onto the pan. Check out this video for guidance.
- Crimp the edges of your pie dough until it’s Instagram-able. I crimped mine by pinching the dough together with my fingers every quarter-inch or so. You can also use a fork and lightly press down on the edges for a more industrial look. For more fun ways to crimp your crust, check out this video.
- Pour the pumpkin pie filling into the shell until it’s ¾ of the way full and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 50 minutes. If your pie is wobbly in the center, that’s okay! It will solidify as it cools.
- Let cool for as long as you can resist and dig in.