Deep burnt orange in color and fragrant with cinnamon and nutmeg, pumpkin pie is the iconic dessert of Thanksgiving. This recipe sticks to the classic formula, upping the ante only with the spices to help cut through the richness of the pumpkin filling. You can use homemade pureed pumpkin if you like, but the canned stuff is perfect here. If you’d like to adapt this pie to a sweet potato pie, see the Variation below.
This recipe is part of our Guide to Classic Thanksgiving package, a collection of simple recipes for timeless holiday dishes to make this year and for years to come.
Blind-bake the crust: On a floured work surface, roll the chilled dough disk until ⅛ inch thick. Transfer to a regular (not deep-dish) 9-inch foil or light metal pie pan, leaving a 1-inch overhang all around and trimming any excess. Fold the overhang underneath itself so it forms a thick rim that’s flush with the edge of the pan. Crimp the rim with a fork or your fingers. Place the pie pan in the refrigerator and chill until firm, at least 20 minutes.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Tear off a sheet of parchment paper, wad it into a ball, then unfurl and flatten it. Place the sheet over the frozen pie crust, then fill it to the top (about 4 cups) with pie weights (you can use raw rice or dried beans too). Place the pan in the oven and bake, rotating halfway through cooking, until the edges turn light golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and remove the parchment paper sheet and weights. Let the crust cool until ready to use.
Meanwhile, make the filling: In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, followed by the evaporated milk and vanilla.
Pour the filling into the crust and return the pie pan to the oven. Bake until the center of the pie jiggles slightly when the pan is tapped on the edge, about 1 hour. Transfer the pie to a rack and let cool completely.
Before serving, combine the cream and liqueur in a large bowl and whisk until it forms stiff peaks. Serve each slice of pie with a dollop of the boozy whipped cream, if you like.
Basic Pie Pastry Dough
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and use your fingers to pinch and rub it into the flour repeatedly until pea-size crumbles form. Pour in the water and use a fork to toss (not stir) the butter-flour mixture until it’s evenly moistened.
Scrape the crumbly mass onto a clean work surface and pat and smush gently until it starts to form a solid piece of dough. Cut the dough in half, then flatten each piece into a disk, patting the edges to smooth them. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
After 2 days, freeze the pastry to store long-term, letting it thaw for 1 day in the refrigerator before using.
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