I moved on to this important Thanksgiving staple in hopes I could find a perfect combo by the big day.
I started with Ina Garten's pumpkin pie from her brand new cookbook, Foolproof. As I sent it through my taste testers... starting with Mr. Hungry and ending with my coworkers... all comments were pretty much the same. Those who really liked pumpkin pie were not a huge fan, however, those who did not traditionally like pumpkin pie, thought it was great. I believe the orange zest in the pumpkin filling is to blame for this. It gave the pie such a fresh twist that it simply didn't taste right to the pumpkin pie fans among us.
However, there was a very important and unbelievably perfect element that was discovered in this first experiment... the rum whipped topping. Not only will this always accompany my pumpkin pies in the future, it might just find its way on anything from coffee to ice cream. And maybe the best discovery of all... adding creme fraiche or mascarpone to fresh whipped cream, allows it to be refrigerated for up to 24 hours without separating so you can prep it ahead of time.
After a few more rounds, I believe I have come to find the most delicious pumpkin pie one can hope for. All the traditional flavors of a perfect pumpkin pie with a dollop of the best whipped topping on earth. With Thanksgiving just days away, you can leave all the test rounds and experiments to me and go with this meshed together version of the best part of several recipes. Thanks, Ina... you're the best.
I have already cut it close to the big day deadline so I'm going to leave you now in hopes that you get cracking on this pie... and because I have lots to say about pie crust.
From my little kitchen to yours...Happy Thanksgiving.
As usual when it comes to doughs and things of the sort that have scared me for the first 26 years of my life, I feel inclined to go step by step with pictures. Maybe it's just me but I loved picture books as a child for a reason.
Thanksgiving is definitely the time to go the extra mile and you will be shocked at how easy this pie crust comes together.
Let's start by chatting about a few important factors...
You want ice cold butter, ice cold water and very cold shortening. When I diced up the butter and measured out the shortening, I stuck both in the freezer while I prepped the rest of the ingredients.
I also put ice in my already very cold water and strain it out at the last minute. As long as everything is very cold, the food processor can do all the work.
Form the dough into a disk and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
This recipe makes two crusts so divide your dough into two even balls after it has rested.
Roll out the dough nice and thin, and remember to add extra flour to keep it from sticking to the board. I don't like to take chances on making sure I have the right circumference so I place my pie pan on top of the dough to make sure I have an inch border. If making a 9-inch pie, you will have more than an inch and you can trim off the extra dough.
To easily get the pie crust in the pan. Fold it in half over your rolling pin and place it inside the pan.
Do a little bit of adjusting so it sits right smack in the middle.
Now it's time to crimp the edges. I never worry about this looking perfect because if I have taken the time to make a homemade crust, I almost want it to look imperfect so everyone is well aware I went to the extra trouble.
The next step in the process is blind baking. Blind baking helps the crust not become soggy when you add the filling. I choose to use a bag of dry beans for this process. When finished, store the beans in a ziploc bag and reuse the same beans every time you bake a pie.
Perfect Pumpkin Pie with Rum Whipped Cream
Adapted from Ina Garten's Foolproof and the back of a can of Libby's Pure Pumpkin
Makes: A 9-inch deep dish pie or an 11-inch thinner pie (and one extra pie crust)
Note about pie size and crust: This recipe will bake a 9-inch deep dish pie or an 11-inch pie. The 11-inch pie comes out a bit thinner, which is what is pictured here. Being a huge crust fan, I love these proportions. If you go with the 9-inch pie, you will be able to trim off crust at the end. Make sure to keep the crust as high up the sides as it will go. It will shrink a bit during baking.
Note about blind baking: Blind baking helps the crust not become soggy when you add the filling by baking the crust before you add the filling. The crust is cooked with dry beans inside to keep the crust from bubbling up and shrinking. Keep your dry beans to use over and over for blind baking.
Note about rum whipped topping: Adding mascarpone or creme fraiche in whipped cream stabilizes the mixture so you can make it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator up to 24 hours. If you do not mind making the cream right before serving, you can skip this ingredient.
For the crust:
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup vegetable shortening, such as Crisco
1/2 cup cold ice water
dried beans, for blind baking
For the filling:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 ounces) 100% pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 can (12 fluid ounces) evaporated milk
For the rum whipped topping:
1 cup cold heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon mascarpone or creme fraiche (if making ahead)
1 tablespoon good dark rum
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Step by Step
For the crust: Cut the butter into 1/2-inch dice and measure out a 1/3 cup shortening. Place both in the freezer while you prepare the flour mixture.
Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse about 10 times, until the butter is pea sized. With the machine running, pour the ice cold water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump out dough onto a floured surface and form into one large disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, and up to 24 hours.
Cut the dough in half. Roll each piece on a well-floured board into a circle at least 1 inch larger than the pie pan, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough so it doesn't stick to the board. Place your pie pan upside down on top of the dough circle to ensure that you have at least 1 inch extra around the entire dish. If you are making a 9-inch pie, you will have about two inches extra dough outside the pan and you can trim the dough once it is pressed in the dish.
Fold the dough in half over your rolling pin and transfer to your pie pan. With a small sharp pairing knife, cut the dough 1 inch larger around the pie pan. Keep your pie crust as high in the pan as possible. It will shrink a little bit when baking. Fold the edge under and crimp the edge with your fingers (as seen above) or press down with the tines of a fork.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line your pie crust with parchment paper. Fill the paper three-quarters full with the beans and bake the crust for 15 minutes, until the edges begin to be light golden brown. Remove the beans and paper (save the beans for your next pie), prick the crust all over with a fork and bake for another 5 minutes. Turn down oven to 350 degrees F.
For the filling:
While pie crust is baking make the filling. Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a small bowl. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture into the eggs. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
Pour into pie shell. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for two hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
For the rum whipped topping:
Place the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk or beaters attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the sugar, mascarpone or creme fraiche (if using), rum and vanilla and beat on medium-high until it forms soft peaks. If you overwhip the cream and it looks touch or curdled, add a little more cream and whip it until soft peaks form. Serve with pumpkin pie. If mascarpone or creme fraiche has been used, you can store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.