Pumpkin pie is the iconic fall dessert. There are so many reasons I adore this family recipe but perhaps the fondest is that my husband’s dziadzio (Polish for grandfather) polished his first-ever slice off in no time. Why is this such a big deal? As a POW during the Second World War, his diet consisted of a lot of pumpkin, which he grew to dislike and swore off eating when freed from his internment camp. (This was unbeknownst to me at the time as I never would’ve served it.) The fact that he was so gracious to try a slice and willingly ate the whole thing brought me great joy and still does to this day.
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 can (16 ounces) pure pumpkin
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 2/3 cup half and half cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, pure or extract
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cake and pastry flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup shortening, refrigerated
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, refrigerated
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Water, chilled in freezer
1. To make the crust by hand, sift all-purpose flour onto wax or parchment paper. Measure 3/4 cup and put in large bowl. Discard remaining flour. Repeat step for cake and pastry flour. Add salt and stir to combine.
2. Using a pastry cutter, cut the shortening into the flour mixture until the dough resembles bread crumbs. Repeat step for unsalted butter. The mixture is good when the dough bits are pea-size.
3. Crack egg into a 1/2 cup measuring cup. Add lemon juice. Top up measuring cup with chilled water. Pour mixture into bowl and whisk together with fork until combined.
4. Slowly sprinkle 1/4 cup of the egg mixture onto the flour and discard the rest. Use a knife to combine the wet and dry ingredients. Finish bringing the dough together with your hands.
5. Mould dough into a ball and then wrap in plastic wrap. Put in refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.
6. Place chilled ball of dough onto wax or parchment paper. Flatten dough into a disc with 6 to 8 gentle taps of a rolling pin. Place 2 pieces of plastic wrap on top of the dough to cover same area as the parchment or wax paper. Roll out dough so it is 1/4-inch larger than a 9-inch pie plate.
7. To place dough on pie plate, turn the dough upside down so that the plastic wrap is now on the counter. Remove parchment or wax paper. Flip the dough onto the pie plate and remove plastic wrap. Push dough down to fit. Roll 1/4-inch overhang of dough up to create a nice edge. Place pie crust in freezer for 10 minutes while you make the filling.
8. Preheat oven to 425°F.
9. In large bowl, whisk together slightly beaten eggs, pure pumpkin, packed brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, cloves, nutmeg, half and half cream and vanilla.
10. Remove pie crust from freezer. Pour in filling.
11. Bake in oven for 15 minutes at 425°F. Reduce temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 40-45 minutes until the filling is just set. Tester inserted in centre should come out clean.
12. Let pie cool before eating. Top with whipped cream, if desired.