Nashville Hot Pumpkin Pie

Time 2 hours
Yields Makes two 9-inch pies
Nashville Hot Pumpkin Pie
(Leslie Grow / For The Times)

In a food processor, combine the flour, butter, chicken fat, sugar and 2 teaspoons salt and pulse 10 times until the butter is the size of peas. Add ½ cup ice-cold water and pulse quickly 4 or 5 times to moisten the crumbles but not combine the dough. If the dough seems dry, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons ice-cold water and pulse to combine. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and press lightly until it begins to stick together. Form the dough into a ball, then split it in half and form each half into a disk. Wrap the disks separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.


On a floured work surface, roll each chilled dough disk until ⅛-inch-thick. Transfer each 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 pans in the freezer and chill until firm, at least 20 minutes.


Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Tear off 2 sheets of parchment paper, wad each up into a ball, then unfurl. Place a sheet over each frozen pie crust, then fill each to the top with pie weights (you can use raw rice or dried beans too). Place both crusts in the oven and bake, rotating halfway through cooking, until the edges turn light golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove the parchment paper sheets and weights and continue baking the crusts until the bottoms brown lightly, about 10 minutes more.


Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, honey, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne and remaining ½ teaspoon salt until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, then the evaporated milk. With the pies still on the oven racks, pour half the filling (2 cups) into each crust. Close the oven and bake until the center of each pie jiggles slightly when the pan is tapped on the edge, about 35 minutes. Transfer the pies to a rack and let cool completely.


Up to 2 hours before serving, whisk the cream to stiff peaks in a large bowl. Spread half the whipped cream evenly over the top of each pie and dust lightly with more cayenne. Serve each slice with a drizzle of honey on top, if you like.

All-butter crust: No schmaltz? No problem! Nix the chicken fat and use 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter total.

Ben Mims is the cooking columnist for the Los Angeles Times. He has written three cookbooks and has worked as a food editor and recipe developer for several food media publications, such as Lucky Peach, Food & Wine, Saveur, Food Network and Buzzfeed/Tasty.
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