The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie

November 18, 2011

Isn't it kind of silly when news outlets provide Thanksgiving tips and tricks a day or two before Thanksgiving? I don't know anybody who hosts the meal who decides mere hours before the meal what they're going to make. My mom starts weeks ahead, for instance, baking her pumpkin bread and strawberry sparkle muffins and freezing them before the big meal.

That's why it's this week and not next week that I'll share with you her recipe for "The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie" (via a 1993 Bon Appétit.) Before this recipe came along, I could take or leave pumpkin pie. Pumpkin often tastes like old people food to me (and you know exactly what I'm talking about.) I think it's the bit of apricot preserves that makes this recipe come alive, and the beautiful crust doesn't hurt either.

My cousin Regina, who is the ultimate Thanksgiving fan in my family, is absolutely rabid for this pie. Each year my mom makes Regina her own pie to take home just because her one-woman fan club for this pie is so vocal. My mom doesn't do this for everyone, you know. Not even her own daughter. Ahem. So if you want to check out the recipe that's driven one young woman so insane that the chef bakes her her own pie just to keep her satisfied, read on:

The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie

 

yield: Serves 8

Pumpkin pie was introduced to the holiday table at the Pilgrim's second Thanksgiving in 1623. Decorate this American classic with some whipped cream, or serve the cream alongside.
 

(a note from my mom: "You might want to warn your readers:  it calls for a 16 oz. can of pumpkin but lately I've found that a can of pumpkin weighs just 14 oz.")

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 tablespoons whipping cream

Filling

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon packed golden brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt
  • 1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves
Preparation:

For crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Blend first 3 ingredients in processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cream and process until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball, flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; chill 15 minutes.

Roll out dough on floured surface to 14-inch round. Transfer dough to 9-inch glass pie dish. Trim overhang to 1 inch. Fold overhang under. Make cut in crust edge at 1/2 inch intervals. Bend alternate edge pieces inward. Freeze 15 minutes.

Line crust with foil, pressing firmly. Bake until sides are set, about 10 minutes. Remove foil. Bake crust until pale brown, about 10 minutes more. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

Spread preserves over crust; pour in filling. Bake until filling puffs at edges and center is almost set, about 55 minutes. Cool on rack. Cover; chill until cold. (Can be made 1 day ahead.)

For filling:
Using whisk, mix first 6 ingredients in bowl until no lumps remain. Blend in pumpkin, whipping cream, sour cream and eggs.

Spread preserves over crust; pour in filling. Bake until filling puffs at edges and center is almost set, about 55 minutes. Cool on rack. Cover; chill until cold. (Can be made 1 day ahead.)