By Emily Malloy
Aside from turkey, does anything announce Thanksgiving quite like the aroma of pumpkin pie filling the house?
There are countless recipes of pumpkin pie with really interesting additions that are extraordinary on the palate, but sometimes there is nothing better than the comfort provided by tradition. The simplicity of baking a dessert is the only thing to rival the comfort its consumption provides.
What I love best about this no fuss, easy pumpkin pie is that is absolutely delicious. There is no need for any of the flourishes and additional flavors that I so desperately tried to impart in the past. It is just simply scrumptious without any of the complication or fuss. Need we ask for more? I think not.
So, we kick off our exclusive Theology of Home Thanksgiving Menu in the sweetest way as the food preparation for the day (if not hosting a potluck) can feel overwhelming. Because of this, we begin with the dishes that can be made well in advance and frozen! (More on the steps of this process below.)
No Fuss, Easy Pumpkin Pie
Yields: 8-10 Servings
Time: Approximately 3 hours
For the filling--
2 pie crusts, store bought or homemade recipe from below** (one for the bottom, one for any decorative flourishes)
3 large eggs
15 ounces pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 and 1/4 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 and 1/2 cups evaporated milk
1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon remaining evaporated milk
Directions for the pie:
1. Preheat oven to 425*F. Prepare your pie dish with the crust.
2. In a large bowl, beat the pumpkin puree and eggs with the sugar. Add the salt, pepper, pumpkin pie spice, and evaporated milk.
3. Pour pumpkin mixture into prepared pie dish. Decorate the edges of the crust to your liking. (I love using cutters to make festive leaves to line around the edges). Brush crust with egg wash.
4. Place onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
5. Reduce the heat to 350*F and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until custard is no longer wobbly (or an inserted knife comes out clean from the center).
6. Remove from oven, place onto cooling rack, and allow to cool for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
**For the crust, yields 2 pie crusts--
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 to 3/4 cup ice water
Directions for the crust:
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
2. Add half of the cubed butter and using your hands, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse sand.
3. Add the remaining butter cubes and continue rubbing it into the flour mixture, but this time it does not need to be fully incorporated, some little specks of butter makes for a flaky crust.
4. Add lemon juice and 1/4 cup of ice water, mixing and fluffing the mixture with your hands. When the mixture lightly holds together, you are finished. If it doesn't hold together, add more ice water by the tablespoon.
5. Separate the dough into two discs and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour before using.
6. When ready to use, lightly flour your work surface and roll until the disc is 2 to 3" wider than your pie dish. Gently lay it into your pie dish and you are ready to go!
How to Bake Your Pie Ahead of Time and Store it in the Freezer:
If you want to bake this pie ahead of time and store it in the freezer before Thanksgiving, there are a few ways to do it to ensure your pie retains its glorious freshness.
1. Baking the pie in a disposable aluminum pie dish ensures it freezes more quickly and that ice won't form on the crust that, once thawed, can lead to the dreaded "soggy bottom".
2. Once the pie is fully baked, allow it to cool completely (the full 2 hours or more to be sure) before wrapping it up to store in the freezer.
3. Wrap the pie several times, generously, with plastic wrap. And to be sure to fend off ice crystals from even the most freezing of freezers, place into an extra-large freezer resealable bag.
4. Thaw your pie slowly! The afternoon before Thanksgiving, place your frozen pie into the refrigerator to thaw. As you cook during the day, you can place your pie on the counter to come to room temperature, or even place into a warmed oven for a few minutes!