Quite possibly the best pumpkin pie you will ever make!
Prep Time: 20minutes
Cook Time: 1hour20minutes
Chilling time: 2hours40minutes
Servings: 8to 10 servings (one 9" pie).
1/2cupwhole spelt (or whole wheat pastry) flour
4ouncescold, unsalted butter, in 1/2" dice(8 tablespoons/1 stick)
about 4 tablespoons ice water
Creamy Pumpkin Filling:
1 1/2cupsroasted squash puree (see note)
3/4cuproasted sweet potato puree (see note)
1teaspoonpacked finely grated fresh ginger
1/4teaspoonfreshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2cupshalf and half
whipped cream sweetened with maple syrup (and a splash of whiskey)
freshly grated nutmeg
Make the crust:
In a large bowl, stir together the flours, sugar and salt. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour, and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles sand with lots of pea-sized butter chunks. Drizzle the ice water over, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a rubber spatula, until the dough will hold together when you give it a squeeze. Dump the dough out onto a counter, divide it roughly into 6 portions, and fraisage by dragging a portion of dough across the counter using the heel of your hand. Scrape up the dough, gently press it into a ball and flatten into a disc. Slip it into a plastic bag, and chill for at least an hour or up to 2 days.
Remove the dough from the fridge, unwrap, and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough into a 12" circle, dusting the dough lightly with flour as needed, rotating and flipping it to prevent it from sticking. Ease the dough into a 9" pie plate, fit it into the corners, and trim it to a 1" overhang. Fold the overhang under, and flute the crust by pressing it between the thumb of one hand and the index finger and thumb of the other hand.
Chill the crust for 20 minutes, then freeze it for 20 minutes.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400º. Remove all other racks from the oven.
Place the frozen crust on a rimmed baking sheet. Line it with a piece of parchment paper, and top with pie weights, dry beans, or clean pennies. (I keep my weights in a cheesecloth bag for easy handling; see photo in post, above.)
Bake the crust for 20 minutes, then remove the weights and parchment and bake until the bottom is lightly golden, 15 - 18 minutes longer.
While the crust bakes, make the filling:
Combine the squash and sweet potato purees, maple syrup, sugar, spices and salt in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place over a medium flame and bring to a sputtering simmer, stirring frequently with a heat-proof silicone spatula, 5-7 minutes. Continue to cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until thick and shiny, 10-15 minutes longer.
Whisk together the eggs, dairy and vanilla in a large measuring cup, then slowly whisk the dairy mixture into the hot squash mixture until combined. Pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve and into a large bowl or measuring cup, and use a spatula or ladle to work the mixture through. (I have two strainers: one is super-fine, and one is medium-fine. The superfine one makes for the smoothest filling, but takes forever; this time, I gave up and used the medium one.) Re-whisk the mixture.
Place the hot, par-baked crust on its rimmed baking sheet in the lower rack of the oven (still set to 400º), and carefully pour in the hot filling.
Bake the pie at 400º for 10 minutes, then decrease the temperature to 300º and bake for another 20-35 minutes. The outer edges should be set and slightly puffed, the center should wobble like jello, and an instant read thermometer inserted in the center should register 175º. The pie will seem under-baked, but will continue to cook from residual heat; for this reason, the pie must cool at room temperature and not in the refrigerator.
Cool the pie at room temperature, 2 - 3 hours, then chill in the fridge for another 1-2 hours. (Cook's says you can cut the pie at room temperature, but I am always too chicken to do so, and chill mine first.) Slice into wedges and serve with whipped cream and a grating of nutmeg.
This pie is best the day it is made, but will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Adapted generously from Cook's Illustrated and Smitten Kitchen.To save time, you can certainly use canned pumpkin, and even canned sweet potatoes. Otherwise, to roast your own: Preheat the oven to 400º. Slice a large (2 pounds or more) winter squash in half lengthwise (I prefer butternut or kabocha to pumpkin for their consistently dense, flavorful flesh). Leave the seeds in. Place the squash halves, cut-sides down, on a lightly oiled, rimmed baking sheet. Prick a large (1 pound) garnet or jewel sweet potato several times with the tines of a fork. Place it on the baking sheet with the squash. Roast until the vegetables are collapsed and very tender when squeezed with a pair of tongs, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool until handleable. Scoop out and discard the seeds and strings of the squash, and measure out 1 1/2 cups. Scoop out the sweet potato flesh and measure out 3/4 of a cup. Puree together in a food processor until completely smooth. (Extras are delicious with butter and salt for a snack, or saved for another pumpkin recipe.)For comprehensive photos, see Deb's post on making pie dough by hand; I take the extra step of fraisage-ing the dough (dragging portions of dough across the counter with the heel of your hand), which helps to create flaky layers, but you can omit this step and still end up with a tender, flaky dough.Pouring hot filling into a hot crust helps to keep the crust crisp, so make the filling while the crust is baking (or make the crust up to a day ahead and re-heat it before pouring in the filling). This pie requires cooling at room temperature for 2-3 hours (to fully bake the pie from residual heat), and chilling for another 1-2 hours, so do plan accordingly.Nutritional values are based on one of eight servings.