There's perhaps no dessert that feels more "fall" than pumpkin pie. Better yet? Homemade pumpkin pie. So we're sharing a step-by-step recipe that's easy to follow and whose end product is even easier to devour.
Here's how to make it:
For the crust*
Note: All ingredients, especially the butter, should be very, very cold (you can even freeze the flour for a bit). This is the key to a flaky crust; it ensures that the butter won't melt during mixing.
*crust recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
Of course, if 100 percent homemade's not your thing, a store-bought pie crust will do just fine.
For the filling
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For the whipped topping
Step 1: The Crust
1. In a food processor, pulse flour, salt and sugar until well combined. Add cold diced butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea-sized pieces of butter distributed throughout. If the butter starts to feel too soft, stop what you are doing and freeze the ingredients again.
2. Sprinkle the mixture with 2 tbsp ice water and 1 tsp cider vinegar. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed, being sure to pulse and handle the dough as little as possible. Dough should be dry, but if it is not staying together, add as much as 2 tbsp of additional water.
3. Form dough into a 3/4-inch thick disk and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before rolling it out. This will allow the gluten to rest and moisture to be drawn into the dough.
4. Working on a well-floured surface or floured wax paper, roll out dough to a 14-inch round. Dust off excess flour. Wrap the dough around rolling pin and carefully unroll over a 9- to 10-inch baking pan. Gently press into bottom and sides to fit pan. Trim overhang to 1 inch and fold it under itself. Pinch edges to form a crimp all around and pierce the center with a fork. Chill for another 30-60 minutes before baking to ensure dough holds its shape.
5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove weights and parchment and bake for another 5 minutes. Let cool on rack.
Step 2: The Pumpkin Purée
1. Cut out stem and scrape the insides of a small to medium-size sugar pumpkin. Discard the insides, but be sure to save the seeds for snacks, salad toppings and much more. (Here are 10 ways to use them.)
2. Cut the pumpkin in half. Place the halves, cut side down, on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake at 425 until fork-tender, about 50-60 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
3. Scoop the flesh out of the halves and blend in a food processor, or, for extra-smooth pulp, run through a food mill.
Step 3: The Filling
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the sugars, salt and spices. Add the eggs and yolk and beat until smooth. Stir in the pumpkin purée, half-and-half, vanilla and lemon zest, whisking until mixture is combined.
3. Pour mixture into prepared pie crust and bake for 60-75 minutes, or until center is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Pie will be puffy, but will deflate once cooled.
4. Let cool on a wire rack for an hour, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
Step 4. The Topping
Prepare fresh whipped cream by beating cream and granulated sugar with an electric mixture until soft peaks form. Use a clean metal bowl for best peaks.
That's it. Slice your pie and enjoy it topped with a dollop of freshly whipped cream.