I rarely declare anything to be my “best ever” but this time I can honestly say that this pumpkin pie is the best pie I’ve ever made, hands down. My family agreed and they wouldn’t lie so it must be true.
I finally got a chance to use my new fancy pie crust decoration cut outs and of all the ones I bought, the autumn leaf cutters from Fox Run are definitely my favorite. They are the ones on the ring along the outside edge.
The pie itself was a labor of love, to be honest. I’ve been working on every aspect of my pumpkin pies from crust to filling to topping and I think I’ve found the perfect recipes for each, so the decorations on top are just the proverbial icing on the cake.
The pie crust is one I found on King Arthur flour’s website and I followed it exactly.
- 2 1/2 cups (297g)King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup (46g) vegetable shortening
- 10 tablespoons (142g) very cold unsalted butter
- 6 to 10 tablespoons (85g to 142g) ice water
1. Prep your ingredients
Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the shortening, working it in until the mixture is evenly crumbly, like coarse beach sand; you want everything thoroughly combined.
Tip: Why do we use both shortening and butter in pie crust? Shortening, thanks to its relatively high melting point, helps crust maintain its structure, preventing your pretty crimp or other decorative touches from collapsing as the pie bakes. (If you prefer not to use vegetable shortening, try our All-Butter Pie Crust.) Butter, along with its wonderful flavor, helps promote flakiness.
2. Work in the butter
Cut the cold butter into small (about 1/2″) cubes with a knife or bench knife. Add the butter to the flour mixture, and work it in quickly with your fingers, a pastry cutter, or a stand mixer until the mixture is crumbly. Don’t be too thorough; the mixture should be very uneven, with big chunks of butter in among the smaller ones.
Tip: Cold, flattened bits of butter, a mixture of dime-sized and smaller, help create layers of flakiness in your final crust. Every piece of butter creates a small space in the crust. As the pie bakes the cold butter melts, but not before the crust has partially set, leaving behind those small spaces — which translate to flakiness.
3. Add the water
Drizzle 4 tablespoons (57g) ice water over the flour mixture, tossing gently to combine. Add enough additional water by the tablespoon to make a shaggy, fairly cohesive mixture. It should hold together when you gather it up and squeeze it in your hand.
Tip: Beware of kneading the dough too much and/or adding too much water, as this will activate the flour’s gluten and toughen the crust.
4. Fold the dough
Transfer the shaggy mixture to a piece of parchment paper. Press it into a rough rectangle and fold the dough into thirds, like a business letter. If necessary, spritz any dry areas with cold water and flatten and fold again, repeating the process until all errant bits of dough have been incorporated. Folding the dough in this fashion will create more flaky layers in your final crust.
5. Divide and chill
Divide the dough in half. Gather each piece into a rough disk. Run the disks edgewise along a floured surface to smooth the sides, like you’re rolling a wheel. The smoother the edges now, the rounder your crust will be when rolled. Wrap the crusts in plastic or your favorite reusable storage wrap. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, or up to overnight.
Tip: Chilling hardens the fat in the dough, which will help the crust maintain its structure as it bakes. And the short rest before rolling relaxes the dough’s gluten, helping prevent a tough crust. If you want to make your pie later, wrap the pastry disks in aluminum foil over their first wrap, and freeze for up to two months.
6. Roll out the dough
When you’re ready to make pie, remove the crusts from the refrigerator or freezer, leaving them wrapped. Allow to thaw (if frozen) or warm a bit at room temperature (if chilled longer than 30 minutes), until softened enough to roll but still cold to the touch. Place the crust on a floured work surface; our silicone rolling mat is a great choice. Roll one piece of pastry into a 12″ to 13″ round. As you roll, you’ll notice big chunks of flattened butter in the pastry; that’s a good thing, as they’ll translate to flaky layers.
Tip: As you roll, regularly lift the pastry and move it around on the work surface to make sure it’s not sticking; add a light dusting of flour underneath as needed. Roll from the center outward, using short strokes; rolling back and forth can result in a tough crust. If the pastry cracks, gently push it back together, dipping your finger in water to smooth it out. If it develops severely ragged edges, try to gently roll the ragged parts toward one another so that they meet. If the cracks around the edges are minor, ignore them. Those imperfections will disappear when you join bottom and top crust to crimp.
7. Transfer to the pan
Lightly grease the pie pan with non-stick spray; this will make taking slices out of the pan easier later. Fold the crust in quarters and place it in the pan with its tip in the very center of the pan; then unfold and settle it gently in the pan. Or simply pick it up with a large spatula and move to the pan. Tent the crust with plastic wrap or the covering of your choice, and place it in the refrigerator while you make your filling.
- 15 ounces pureed pumpkin
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 eggs
- 1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust
Preheat oven to 425F.
Combine salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl.
Stir in pumpkin and spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk.
Pour into pie shell.
Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350F and bake for 1 hour or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.
Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
Top with whipped cream or cool whip.
2 cups very cold heavy whipping cream
4-6 tbs sugar (granulated or powdered)
1 tsp vanilla
Whisk cream until it begins to thicken, add sugar one spoonful at a time to taste, whip until well blended. Add vanilla. Sprinkle with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.
*Tip: Put your mixing bowl in the freezer for a half hour before making the whipped cream topping.
It came out absolutely perfect and the suggestion to flatten the dough into discs instead of balls before refrigerating and then rolling out was brilliant. It made forming the circle so much easier. They also suggested folding the rolled out crust in half and then half again and then placing the pointed end in the very middle of your pie plate. As you unfold it, it ends up perfectly placed in the center of your dish and is so easy from there to mold into place.
The reason I love the Fox Run leaf cutters is because they have a little push button on top that presses the design firmly into the cut out and it helps push the leaf itself out. I feel like overall they are just a good quality product.
I will definitely be making this recipe from now on, and will be playing around with more of the Fox Run cutters because they have other designs, too. The set I bought has a strawberry so that’s the next pie I’ll be working on. Probably for Valentine’s Day.
In the meantime, we get to deal with the guilt trips because honestly these pies are too good to share!
4 thoughts on “Now We’re Cookin’: The Best Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie Ever”
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I love it when instructions don’t just tell you what to do, but “why” you should do it that way. I’m a Certified Technical Writer and I find it a lot more enjoyable to share information when I can add to the topic with these kinds of interesting tangibles that honestly make it easier for me to remember. Like the part in the pie crust instructions about why both shortening and butter!
I like all the little things that take something “next level” whether it be dough cutouts and/or a dusting of powdered sugar, cinnamon or nutmeg. Thank you for this post!
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This looks delicious!! The doggo’s expression is so cute lol
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Thanks for the recipe!