Very Pumpkin Pie

Serves 8
Adapted from Flour Bakery Cookbook 

*Warning: This pie, as with most pies, takes a long time to make. It's not difficult, just time-consuming.*

For the Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons total) cold unsalted butter, cut into 9 pieces
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons cold milk

For the Pie:
One 16-ounce can pumpkin puree
2/3 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Tiny pinch of ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup (5 ounce can) evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

First make the crust (this can be done a day ahead).  Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar and salt together. Scatter the butter pieces over the top ad mix on low speed for about 45 seconds. The flour will hold together with you clump it and you should be able to see pieces of butter throughout the dough.

In a small bowl mix together the egg yolk and milk. Add this to the flour-butter dough and mix on low speed for another 30 seconds until the dough barely comes together. It will look shaggy and damp in some spots and dry in others. This is what it is supposed to look like.

Turn the dough onto an unfloured work surface and gather it together in a mound. Then, using your hands, slide the dough outwards such that the butter chunks get smeared into the dough in long streaks. Do this once or twice. 

Gather the dough into a ball and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Press into a disc about 1-inch thick and put into the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. Note: this dough can be made up to 4 days in advance and kept in the fridge or it can be kept in the freezer for up to one month.

Onto the pie! 

Take the now cold dough out of the fridge and turn out onto a well-floured work surface this time. Roll the dough into a circle about 12-inched across and 1/8-inch thick. Roll it onto the rolling pin and unfurl the dough into a 9" glass or aluminum pie plate. We actually used a smaller, deeper ceramic pie plate and just increased the cooking time gradually. Use whatever pie pan you have and just keep an eye on the cooking. Easy peasy.

Once the dough is across the pie plate, press it gently into the bottom and sides. Evenly pleat the overhanging dough with your finger(s) for a decorative trim. Trim the edges off the pie using a  knife or scissors, but leave about 1/4-inch lip because the dough is going to shrink in the over. Remember though, it doesn't need to look perfect. It just needs to taste good. 

Put the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Then turn on the over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit to preheat. Note: you can make the pie up to this point up to one full day ahead if you keep it tightly covered in the fridge or almost 2 weeks ahead of time if you keep it tightly covered in the freezer.

Now that the pie crust is cold, line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights (or uncooked beans). Bake the crust for 35 to 45 minutes or until when you lift the parchment, the shell looks light, golden brown all the way through (the edges may look a bit darker, don't worry). 

While the crust is baking, put the pumpkin puree and brown sugar into a heavy-bottomed medium-sized saucepan. Place over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon for 40 to 45 minutes or until the pumpkin has reduced to a dark, thick, sticky paste. 

While the crust and pumpkin are cooking, whisk together in a large bowl the eggs and egg yolk until well blended. Add the cream and vanilla slowly. Set aside.

Measure out the evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk and spices in small, separate bowls. Set aside. 

Don't forget the pie crust. When it's done, remove the weights and parchment and leave the oven on!

When the pumpkin is nice and tacky, remove it from the heat and stir in the spices, sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. Slowly whisk this pumpkin mixture into the egg-cream-vanilla mixture until everything is thoroughly mixed.

Pour this pumpkin custard into the empty, cooked shell. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until the pumpkin custard is just set. The edges will puff up a bit but the center will still have a little wiggle. 

Let the pie cool on a rack for at least 2 hours. Serve the pie at room temperature or chilled. We also added some whipped cream with a dash of maple extract to make it look prettier. Obvy.

To store the pie, keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

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