Braided Bourbon Pumpkin Pie

Pastry Dough:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, very cold
3/4 cup cold water, plus 1 tablespoon

Filling:
1 (15-ounces) can pure pumpkin
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
4 1/4 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon fine-grain salt

Whipped Cream:
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sifted confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pie size: 9 1/2-inch pie dish 

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Using a box grater, grate the cold butter atop the flour mixture. Transfer to the freezer to chill for 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile, measure out your cold water and add a few ice cubes.

2. Working quickly, and using your hands, break the butter bits into the flour until they resemble the size of small peas. Add 1/2 cup of water and mix using your hands. This is a little bit of a messy process but it goes quickly! The mixture will be super crumbly at this point. From here, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until the dough comes together. I ended up adding about 5 more tablespoons of water, equaling the measurement above. This may vary for you. The dough shouldn’t be too <em>too</em> wet, it’s fine if it’s a little crumbly. The moisture will distribute throughout the dough while it’s chilling in the fridge. Lightly dust your counter, and dump the dough onto it. Knead a few times more until it comes together and divide the dough, forming two discs. Wrap both discs in plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour or overnight.

3. Take the first disc and roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round and fit into pie plate. Trim edge, leaving a 1/4-inch overhang. Fold overhang under and lightly press against rim of the pie dish. Lightly prick the bottom of the pie dough all over with a fork. Transfer to the refrigerator.

4. Grab the second disc and roll out the dough like you did the first one: on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch round. Using a sharp knife, cut 1/4-inch strips. Take three strips and lay them side by side. Dab the top with a few droplets of water and press them together so they're conjoined, top with a pinch of flour. Braid the strips downward. Trim the top and bottom, using your knife. Walk the strip to the refrigerator and gently place it around the pie crust. Repeat the process until you have enough strips for the entire pie.

5. Remove the pie from the refrigerator and remove the strips. Using a pastry brush or your fingers, moisten the outer rim of the pastry dough. Place the strips along the outer edge of the pie and gently press down. This will secure the braided rim to the pie. With moistened finger tips, press at the points where each braid meets the other one, locking them together. (Did you enjoy that pun? Sorry!) Transfer to the freezer to chill for 10 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in the middle. Line the pie shell with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake until side is set and edge is golden, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove weights and foil and bake shell until lightly golden all over, 10 to 15 minutes more. Cool completely.

7. Whisk the filling ingredients together until smooth. If there are visible lumps, either from the sour cream or pumpkin puree, run it through a sieve. Transfer the pie dish to a baking sheet and pour in the filling.

8. Bake until edge of filling is set but center trembles slightly, about 45 minutes (filling will continue to set as it cools). IMPORTANT: At the 10-minute mark, create a tent around the edges of the pie, using strips of foil. This will ensure that the pies crust won't brown too much. Cool completely before serving, about 2 hours. If you slice it up too soon, you might have a runny center.

9. Serve with whipped cream, if you like. To make, add all of the ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk, using a hand-mixer, until light and fluffy, about 1 minute or so.
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