Pumpkin Pie

imageWith pie season now in full swing, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about pie this week. On Monday, we made pie dough. On Tuesday, we mixed together pumpkin pie spice. Today, we make pumpkin pie! If you are celebrating Thanksgiving in the United States, there’s a pretty solid chance that there will be a pumpkin pie on your table. Some may be lovingly homemade, some may be store-bought, but all of them will get eaten. As one of my favorite food bloggers, Julie Van Rosendaal says, “The very best kind of pie is the kind on your dinner table.” She’s right–store-bought pie is better than no pie at all (especially if there’s whipped cream involved). But homemade pie is always better than store-bought. Sara Lee is fine and all, but we can do better.

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We can make a light and fluffy pumpkin pie. Where traditional pumpkin pie is a little on the dense side, given the very wet combination of pumpkin purée, eggs, sugar, and dairy, ours will be a little airier thanks to whipped egg whites. Three egg yolks will go into the filling as-is; they’ll make our pie rich and delicious. The two egg whites, however, will be whipped until they are foamy and hold soft peaks, then gently folded into the filling right before it’s poured into the crust. Egg whites help with structure in baked goods. By whipping air into them before adding them to the filling, we are ensuring a lighter, airier texture. As the pie bakes, the filling will puff up. This happens with a traditional pumpkin pie too, but it deflates as it cools. Ours will stay a bit puffy even after it reaches room temperature. The egg whites will also give us a very large volume of filling. If you are using a standard pie plate, you’ll probably have some filling leftover; if you use all the filling in a standard pan, it will overflow in your oven. I don’t know about you, but pretty much the only thing I don’t love to do in the kitchen is clean the oven. If you use a deep dish pie plate, you should be able to use all of the filling. I don’t have a deep dish pan, but if you try this recipe in yours, leave me a comment to let me know how it turns out!

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This pie starts with a single crust of cream cheese pie dough. We roll it out, fit it into the pie plate, trim and crimp the edges, and chill it while we make the filling. In a large mixing bowl, we combine pumpkin purée, light brown sugar and granulated sugar. Then, we have to separate some eggs. Separate two eggs, reserving the egg whites in a separate bowl. Separate a third egg, but discard the white. Mix the three egg yolks into the pumpkin mixture. Then stir in cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt, followed by heavy cream. Now, go grab those two reserved egg whites and your electric mixer (hand- and stand-mixers are both fine). Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Then, with a silicone spatula, gently fold them into the pumpkin mixture. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust, brush the crust with some additional cream, and chill it again while you preheat the oven. Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 425F, before turning the oven down to 350F for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. If the crust looks too brown, cover it with foil or a pie protector for the remainder of the cook time. I use a 9-inch hoop that I made out of foil, and it works like a charm.

This pie will definitely be one of the best things on your Thanksgiving table. Traditional Pumpkin Pie is a classic for a reason, but I think this light and fluffy version gives it a run for it’s money!

Make sure to check back in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving for two more pie recipes!

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Pumpkin Pie
heavily adapted from Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie on Simply Recipes
makes one 9″ pie (deep dish or standard)

1/2 recipe Cream Cheese Pie Dough
2 cups pure pumpkin purée (1 15-ounce can)
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs (separated) + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream + extra for brushing

On a floured surface, roll out pie dough to a 12″ diameter. Fit into a 9″ pie plate and trim the overhang to 1/2-inch. Crimp the edges and chill the crust while you prepare the filling.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together pumpkin purée, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Whisk in three egg yolks, and reserve the two egg whites. Stir in cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Add in heavy cream. Set aside.

Pour the egg whites into a separate mixing bowl. With an electric mixer, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form, 3-4 minutes. With a silicone spatula, gently fold the whipped egg whites into the pumpkin mixture. Pour pie filling into prepared crust.* Brush the crust with a little heavy cream. Chill prepared pie while oven is heating.

Preheat the oven to 425F. When it reaches temperature, bake the pie for 15 minutes. Then, turn the oven temperature to 350F and bake for an additional 32-45 minutes,* covering the crust with foil if it starts to get too brown. The pie is ready when the filling no longer jiggles, or when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool pie on a rack for at least two hours before slicing and serving. Pie will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Notes:

  1. If you are using a regular pie plate, you will have roughly 1/2-3/4 cup of leftover filling. If you are using a deep dish pie plate, you should be able to use all the filling.
  2. Thirteen minutes is a huge gap in doneness time, but ovens and pies are all different. Mine (made in a standard pie plate) are done at exactly 35 minutes.

4 thoughts on “Pumpkin Pie

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