How to Make the Perfect: Pumpkin Pie
Okay, don't run away screaming. This recipe involves making homemade pie dough. Not homemade pie dough! But, it's so hard and time consuming! Take a deep breath. We will walk you through it. But just in case, have a store-bought one as a backup.
Pumpkin pie is not hard. In fact, if you skip all those fancy decorations which just get eaten anyway, you'll be done in no time. Who really pays attention to your leaf making skills anyway? By the time dessert rolls around, you'll be lucky if your guests haven't already slipped into a food-induced coma.
It does take a little advance planning for the pie dough, so don't try to throw it together Thursday morning. Thanksgiving was not meant for procrastination. All you need for the pie dough is flour, salt, butter and water. I make sure all the ingredients are cold, even the flour and salt.
You can make the dough by hand with a pastry cutter, but I suggest using a food processor if you have it. In the food processor, mix the flour, salt, sugar and butter until the mixture looks like coarse meal with small clumps of butter. Add 2 tablespoons of ice water to the mixture and blend. The dough should stick together when squeezed between your fingers, but it should still look crumbly. If the dough is dry, add more ice water a tablespoon at a time. The dough should not be wet or sticky. Pour the crumbly mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form into a flat disk. Wrap dough and refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight.
After the dough has chilled, unwrap it and place on a floured surface. Roll the dough out into an 11- to 12-inch circle (don't pull out the ruler). Carefully transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate, avoiding stretching. Press the dough into the pie plate and trim any excess dough. For an easy crust, leave 1-inch of overhanging dough and fold under to create a thick rim.
Now, don't use the "I don't have a rolling pin" excuse. All you need is a wine bottle to roll out the dough, which you should have anyway to celebrate your pie victory.
The filling for the pie will take 5 minutes to make. Do not run out and buy sugar pumpkins to make homemade pumpkin puree. The cans are just fine. We have our homemade limits.
Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add pumpkin and the remaining ingredients. Beat until smooth and creamy. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, cover exposed pie crust with aluminum foil to prevent burning and reduce oven temperature to 350. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Feel free to add more spices if you like a spicier pie.
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