With Thanksgiving right around the corner, and an Easy All Butter Pie Crust just waiting to be used…I figured now was as good a time as any to post a good ole’ Pumpkin Pie.
I didn’t make that pumpkin pie right away, mind you. Nope. Once I had finished fluting the edges of the pie crust (and finished the long process of making the video ;) I wrapped that baby up and popped it in the freezer.
This is a hint for those of you who want to get a head start on Thanksgiving. Whether you’re making one pie or several, knock out the crust portion now and you’ll be ready to fill and bake when the big day comes.
Now, about that pumpkin pie….Our family happens to be huge fans of pumpkin. All. Year. Long. I still remember buying a pumpkin pie in early November one year. My son was much younger back then, but he is as big a fan of pumpkin pie as any of us.
I had put the pie on the counter and was busy unloading other groceries and working on other things, when I noticed the pie was no longer on the counter.
I looked around the island and found my son, gleefully sitting on the floor. He had the pie on his lap and a fork in his hand. I should have taken a picture, but I was too busy laughing at the sight of it. Yep. That kid had some BIG plans for that pie!
I have pumpkin ready to go in the pantry for easy brownies, baked oatmeal and pancakes. It doesn’t matter what I use it for…we love it. (Though I do have to admit the continuing trend of “everything pumpkin spice,” has been overwhelming and somewhat exhausting.)
One of the bonuses of pumpkin is the additional nutrition it adds to my baked goods. You get vitamin A and iron and fiber…
Of course, we’re talking pie today, so while pumpkin pie is one of the relatively “healthier” pies you can make, it’s still dessert. I just personally feel a little less guilt when eating pumpkin pie than other pie choices.
Pumpkin pie is also a lot easier to make than a fruit pie. Assuming you use pumpkin puree from a can, there’s no chopping or peeling involved. Just mix it up and bake it.
While there are a lot of different tips and tricks out there for the perfect pumpkin pie. I’m going with a fairly easy process today. The only step I’m adding is straining the filling before pouring it into the crust.
Why strain it? Straining removes little bits of egg solids and any undissolved clumps of sugar from the mixture.
You can skip this step, but once you pour the mixture into the crust, you may have some bits of sugar and egg float to the top.
They won’t necessarily disappear when baking. The egg solids will look like little bits of white and the sugar will look like little bits of dark.
Will it taste the same? Yes! This step is optional. It simply makes for a more uniform looking top and a smoother texture.
All canned pumpkin puree is not created equal. My pumpkin puree was on the wetter side, so my filling was pretty thin and easy to pour through a mesh strainer.
If your pumpkin puree is much thicker, then you might want to skip the straining or make sure you use a sieve with large enough holes to push the mixture through it.
On the subject of keeping everything pretty simple, I also don’t blind bake the crust. (Gasp!) I know. I know. With many custard pies, it is recommended that you pre-bake the crust. We don’t mind a crust that hasn’t been pre-baked, at least for pumpkin pie, so I usually skip that step.
(Oh, and if you’re not into pie crust in general, then make these bars instead! Then you can have your pie on top of a cookie!)
I’m sure that some day I’ll try all the extra tips like pre-baking the crust, and pre-cooking the filling or letting the unbaked filling sit overnight in the refrigerator to let the flavors bloom. When I do, I’ll report back on which tips were life changing and which were not.
But, my life is crazy busy at the moment, and I bet many of yours are too. So, I took the simple route and just mixed, strained and baked. (And remember, you don’t even have to strain if you don’t want to.)
I also added a touch of molasses to the recipe. It deepens the color and adds another depth of flavor. I didn’t add a lot because I didn’t want it to overpower the flavor of the pie. I could taste it, my family could not. That worked for me. I wasn’t looking for it to be noticeable as a separate ingredient, just have an underlying impact on flavor. If you hate molasses, omit it.
Pumpkin Pie begs to be topped with whipped cream. I decided to step it up just a bit and made a Brown Sugar Cinnamon Whipped Cream. It’s not too sweet and has just a hint of spice. It won’t over power your pie. Instead, it will add just a little something extra to plain whipped cream.
Whipped cream tip? At least for pie? Whip your cream to soft peaks. It will be easier to dollop on top of each slice. Go with stiffer peaks if you’ll be piping the topping.
And c’mon…look at that beauty of a pie! Simple. Classic. Almost makes you want to take the whole pie, find a comfy space on the floor and grab a fork. I’m sure there’s at least one person in my house,
who’s already making “plans.” :)
Pumpkin Pie with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Whipped Cream
For the Filling:
- 3/4 cup brown sugar packed
- 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch finely ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg I used freshly ground
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
- 1 Tablespoon unsulfured molasses I use Grandma's Molasses
- 3 large eggs beaten
- 1 12 ounce can evaporated milk I used 2%
- 1 unbaked, single pie crust I used my Easy All Butter Pie Crust
For the Brown Sugar Cinnamon Whipped Cream:
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the filling:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and set aside. See notes about making and using a pie crust shield before starting recipe.
In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, flour, salt, pepper and spices. Use your fingers, or the back of a spoon to break up any stubborn clumps of brown sugar so that you have a uniform mixture.
Whisk in the pumpkin and molasses, followed by the beaten eggs, then the evaporated milk, combining well after each step.
Pour filling mixture through a mesh sieve to remove any egg solids or bits of brown sugar that didn't dissolve. This step is optional, but will give you a smoother texture and help break up any air bubbles created while mixing. If your pumpkin is really thick, you might want to skip this step. Mine was on the thinner side and poured through the strainer easily.
Place pie crust pan on the prepared baking sheet near the oven, so you don't have to transport it too far. Pour the filling carefully into the prepared unbaked crust.
Bake for 50-60 minutes. Check the color of the crust about 20-25 minutes into the baking time. I usually put a pie crust shield on at this point. (See notes for more details.) Bake the pie until the filling looks set 2" from the edge. The middle should still be a bit wobbly. It will continue to set after you remove it from the oven. Mine baked for about 57 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving. Store in refrigerator.
Make the whipped cream:
To make the whipped cream, mix brown sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon in a small bowl with a spoonful or two of the cream and the vanilla. This will give the brown sugar a little head start on dissolving before adding to the rest of the cream.
In a medium bowl, beat the balance of the whipped cream and the sugar/spice/cream mixture to soft peaks. Serve with pie.
- I used my Easy All Butter Pie Crust, but you can use your own favorite recipe or buy an already prepared unbaked crust.
- You can use 3 1/4 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice in place of the the individual spices.
- If you don't love the flavor of molasses, feel free to omit it. It will still be delicious!
- (Update 11-24-17) If you'd like a sweeter pie, increase the brown sugar to 1 cup or add 1/4 cup granulated white sugar.
- For clean cuts, allow pie to cool completely.
- Check the pie after about 20-25 minutes to see how your crust is browning. I hate an overcooked crust, so at about halfway through cooking time, I'll cover the crust with a foil shield.
- If you don't have a pie crust shield, make one out of foil before you fill the pie. Cut a 12" square of foil. Fold it into quarters and cut out the center and round the edges so that you have a 2" ring. Place it over your unfilled pie crust to easily check size. I like to fold the edges over the pie crust and then remove it and set it aside until I need it. You want to do this in advance so when the time comes, you can just quickly open the oven door and place the shield on the pie.
- I like a lightly sweetened whipped cream. Add more sugar to taste if you like yours sweeter. Add more cinnamon if you'd like more spice.
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