I stepped out of the house this morning and thought: aaaaah. This autumn morning crisp is here to stay. You know what that means. It’s pie season! Where to even begin with such a staple: good ole pumpkin pie. My mom has been making this pie on Thanksgiving Day for as long as I can remember. Subtle pumpkin flavor, not too sweet and even better when topped with a dollop of whipped cream. That slice you see in the photo above was my breakfast yesterday morning. It was perfect! If the thought of making a pie from scratch has you nervous, don’t sweat it. I can honestly say that pumpkin pie is the easiest pie you can make. The filling takes less than 5 minutes and there is only a single crust to make. Leave it to King Arthur Flour to make one of the best crusts I’ve ever tasted. It’s part shortening, part butter, and 100% flaky and delicious! I’ve got some extra tips and tricks below. Happy baking!
Yield: 1 pie, single crust
- 1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 Tbsp shortening
- 5 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 to 5 Tbsp ice water
Pie Filling Ingredients:
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon + 1/2 tsp ground cloves (or, use 1 and 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Spice Mix)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 (15 oz) can Organic pumpkin
- 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
- For the crust, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the shortening, working it in until the mixture is evenly crumbly.* Add the butter to the flour mixture, and work it in roughly with your fingers, a pastry cutter, or a mixer. Don’t be too thorough; the mixture should be very uneven, with big chunks of butter in among the smaller ones. Add 2 tablespoons of water (must be ice cold!), and toss to combine.
- Toss with enough additional water to make a chunky mixture. It should barely hold together when you squeeze a handful, though the remainder may look quite dry. Scoop the mixture out onto a piece of parchment or waxed paper, and flatten it out a bit. Take a spray bottle of water, and spritz the dry parts with the water.**
- Using the parchment or waxed paper, fold the dough over on itself — first from one side, then from the other. You’ll find that the dry crumbs are becoming incorporated with the cohesive dough. If there are still dry areas, spritz them with additional water, and fold the dough in on itself again. Keep folding and gathering until just a few dry crumbs remain unincorporated; this should only take a few folds.
- Shape the dough into a disk about 1″ thick, and refrigerate it for 30 minutes or longer; this resting period allows the flour to absorb the water, making the dough easier to roll out. When you’re “ready to roll,” remove the dough from the fridge. If the dough has been refrigerated longer than 30 minutes, let it rest at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before rolling, to allow the butter to soften up a bit.***
- Roll the dough to the size needed (about 12″ for a 9″ pie). Place it in a pie pan, and refrigerate it while you prepare your filling.
- To make the pie filling, mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves (or spice mix) in a small bowl. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour mixture into pie shell.
- Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F and bake 40-50 minutes more or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours before serving. Serve or refrigerate. Enjoy!
Crust recipe courtesy of King Arthur Flour, www.kingarthurflour.com
*Add the shortening 1 Tbsp at a time and mix with pastry blender between additions. The goal is to coat the shortening crumbs with the flour. You’re just trying to cut the shortening into the flour, which is why a pastry cutter is best for this! Do the same with the butter, adding and mixing 1 Tbsp at a time. A little trick for the butter: freeze the 5 Tbsp of butter for 5-10 minutes and then grate with a cheese grater. This cuts the butter into smaller pieces, making it much easier to incorporate into the flour.
**My grandmother taught me to roll out dough between 2 layers of plastic wrap. I have had best success with this method. Also, be cautious of adding too much water. You only need enough to get dough to stick together. If you add more than necessary it will be too sticky to roll out. You can always add a tiny bit more flour to combat that, but be careful! It’s a balance between not too dry and not too wet. Stick to the recipe measurements for best results. This is something that will get easier to eye and feel with practice.
***You don’t have to refrigerate. Feel free to roll out the dough immediately.
Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco