Last year we asked The Times Test Kitchen to come up with the perfect pumpkin pie. Mayi Brady accepted the challenge and went to work baking pie after pie. It wasn't easy to please everyone. Some wanted more sugar, some more spice. Brady came up with an excellent pie that has a little more sugar than she originally wanted. But she didn't give in on cloves: She hates them and believes that they overpower everything else in the filling. If you like pumpkin pie on the spicy side, add a little. But don't blame Brady if you can't taste the pumpkin.
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 egg yolk
6 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups half and half
4 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons melted butter
Place flour, sugar, salt and butter in bowl of food processor. Process briefly until mixture resembles coarse meal, 20 to 30 seconds. Or combine flour, sugar and salt, then work butter into ingredients with fork or dough cutter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add egg yolk and pulse or mix to combine. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, with motor running until dough forms ball. (May be done by hand.)
Turn dough out on floured work surface, roll flat and lay over 9-inch pie plate. Pat dough in plate, then trim and crimp edges. Chill 20 to 30 minutes.
Combine pumpkin, brown and granulated sugars, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Beat until well blended. Add half and half, eggs and butter, then stir to combine. Pour filling into prepared pie shell. Bake at 425 degrees 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 35 to 40 minutes more until toothpick inserted into center of pie comes out clean. Cool to room temperature or chill before serving.
(Makes 8 to 10 servings. Each serving contains about 401 calories, 292 mg sodium; 193 mg cholesterol; 22 grams fat; 44 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams protein; 0.81 gram fiber.