On Monday I had a really great day. Finally was feeling better and had enough energy to clean the house and rearrange some furniture (thank goodness!) and also needed to make something for my book club that evening. I decided it was time for the first pumpkin pies of the season.
My recipe starts with homemade pie crust. I use the recipe for American Pie Crust in The America's Test Kitchen Cookbook (2001). You might notice the chunks of butter in the crust. I've been making pie crusts since I was a teenager and I think I make a pretty good crust. I think the key is not overworking and leaving those big chunks of fat. Fat in the dough = flakiness in the crust.
The next thing is the filling. I use canned pumpkin. I know others swear by fresh cooked pumpkin, but I've never gotten a good result that way. In my mind the most important part of the filling is the spice balance. I grew up with my Mom's recipe (and her mother's before that) and didn't realize until much later that this one is spicier and less sweet than many recipes. I still remember the magic of pie making with my mom. I always loved the heavenly scent of the spices and the look of them too. All those different colors, so pretty!
The filling goes into the pie crusts and they head into the oven. Meanwhile, the house starts to have the most incredible smell. Mmmmmmm....The finished pies were fantastic. I always serve pumpkin pie with real whipped cream, just very lightly sweetened. The book club ladies loved it and Ryan and I have been eating the leftovers.
I was born on Thanksgiving and so my birthday is always associated with that holiday. In the US, it's the fourth Thursday in November so the date changes each year. Anyway, my birthday "cake" was often a pumpkin pie and I was just fine with that! I have also grown up with the notion that pumpkin pie for breakfast on the morning after Thanksgiving is the best thing ever and a tradition not to be messed with. My husband has never, ever liked pumpkin pie, but my kids do, so I'm thrilled to be able to continue the tradition.
Here's the recipe for those who might want to try it. I hope this warms your home and fills your senses this autumn!
Mom’s Pumpkin Pie
2 eggs, lightly beaten
14 ½ oz can of pumpkin (2 c)
¾ c sugar
½ t salt
1 t each, cinnamon and nutmeg
½ t each, ginger and cloves
1 can evaporated milk (whole milk would probably also be fine)
Mix together. Pour into 9” unbaked pie shell. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then decrease to 350 for 45 minutes.