It is not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie.
A few years ago, when my son was a Vanderbilt student, I asked if he wanted to invite friends over from school who couldn’t get home for Thanksgiving. About ten of his friends joined us. He asked if they needed to bring any food. I told him we had the meal covered, but if anyone enjoyed cooking and wanted to bring something, they should feel free to do so.
A few days later, he sent me an email with a headcount and said his friends had dessert covered. Wonderful. As I scrolled further into his letter, I noticed a copy of the letter he had sent his friends. It said, “My mother said if it’s part of your wellness to cook during the holidays, feel free to bring a dessert, otherwise just bring yourselves.” Part of your wellness, how nicely put. Cooking is part of MY wellness.
On Thanksgiving Day, as everyone arrived, the desserts were dropped off in the kitchen — coconut cake, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, mint ice cream. Alas, there was no pumpkin pie, my favorite. So now we get to the point of the story, my mother’s pumpkin pie. It is so easy; I was able to prep it with ingredients I had on hand in the amount of time it took to preheat the oven. The pie cooked while we ate dinner. No one was the wiser, and I had my beloved pumpkin pie.
Yield: Makes one 10-inch pie or one 9-inch deep-dish pie.
3 large eggs
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon fine salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1¾ cups pumpkin purée (15-ounce can)
1½ cups warm milk (heat for one minute in the microwave)
1) Preheat oven to 450º
2) Prepare pie crust. If you are using a 10-inch pie pan, you may need to roll the crust a little more to stretch it to fit better. I like to use Trader Joe’s Pie Crusts.
Technique Time: How to arrange a TJ’s pie crust into a pie pan:
Once the crust comes to room temperature, which takes about 90 minutes, unroll it retaining the plastic sheets. You will find that the dough breaks up into wide strips as you unroll it. Not a problem; use a rolling pin to rejoin the cracks while the dough is sandwiched between the plastic sheets. Next, remove the plastic covering from one side of the crust. Using the corners of the remaining plastic square, lift the crust, turn it over, and plop it into the pie plate. Continue to leave the plastic on as you press the dough into the pan, then remove the plastic.
Tuck crust edges under and crimp to make pretty.
3) Prepare Pumpkin Filling: Blend all ingredients together in a mixing bowl for one minute on medium-low speed. Be sure to warm the milk as this will decrease the cooking time. Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl with a spatula as you blend the ingredients together.
Pour filling into prepared pie crust.
For best results, cover the pie rim with foil or a Pie Crust Protector until the last 15 minutes of baking. While the pie is cooking, take a look at this post about must-have cooking tools, Stocking Stuffers: Tools for the Cooking Life
4) Bake for 10 minutes at 450º. Turn oven down to 350º and cook for 45-55 minutes, depending on whether you are using a regular or deep-dish pan. To check for doneness, prick the center of the pie with the tip of a knife. It should come out clean. If not, let the pie cook five more minutes and test again.
This pie is delicious served warm from the oven or cold from the refrigerator (for breakfast!).
My friend, Renée, skips the pie crust altogether and pours the pumpkin batter into small ramekins for single-serving desserts.
Other Desserts for Thanksgiving:
Mrs. Walker’s Cranberry Nut Pie
Mom’s Apple Pie (with a cheddar streusel topping)
Pumpkin Bread Pudding (with caramel sauce and whipped cream on top!)
Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie
Marion’s Crazy Good Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips
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