When it comes to traditional, perfect, delicious pumpkin pie, I have a theory: Most of us love it or hate it. Like licorice, there's rarely any in between wiggle room. I know people who adore it (in fact, in another life, when I worked for a teen mag, Nick Jonas' mom told me it was his fave and what she'd get for him on his birthday every year) and I know people who loathe it (my mother!).
But for those of us who fall into the former camp, the good news is that from now until pretty much New Year's, it's everywhere. Maybe that's because it is just so darn easy to make! Here, two different, but equally super-easy pumpkin pie recipes ...
Easy pumpkin pie - If you love a homemade crust and you want to be able to control how much sugar and spice go in your pumpkin, this Food Network recipe's for you!
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cold butter (1 stick), diced
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Flour for rolling the dough
- 1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened pure pumpkin puree (about 2 cups)
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 1/4 cups half-and-half
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- To make the dough by hand: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles yellow corn meal mixed with bean-sized bits of butter. (If the flour/butter mixture gets warm, refrigerate it for 10 minutes before proceeding.) Add the egg and stir the dough together with a fork or by hand in the bowl. If the dough is dry, sprinkle up to a tablespoon more of cold water over the mixture.
- Alternatively, to make the dough in a food processor: With the machine fitted with the metal blade, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add the butter and pulse until it resembles yellow corn meal mixed with bean-sized bits of butter, about 10 times. Add the egg and pulse 1 to 2 times; don't let the dough form into a ball in the machine. (If the dough is very dry, add up to a tablespoon more of cold water.) Remove the bowl from the machine, remove the blade, and bring the dough together by hand.
- Form the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 hour.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough with a rolling pin into a 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie pan and trim the edges, leaving about an extra inch hanging over the edge. Tuck the overhanging dough underneath itself to form a thick edge that is even with the rim. Flute the edge as desired. Freeze the pie shell for 30 minutes.
- Set separate racks in the center and lower third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Put a piece of parchment paper or foil over the pie shell and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake on a baking sheet on the center rack until the dough is set, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and lift sides of the parchment paper to remove the beans. Continue baking until the pie shell is lightly golden brown, about 10 more minutes. Cool on a rack.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
- While the pie shell is cooling make the filling. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, half-and-half, spices, and salt until smooth. Return the pie shell to the baking sheet and pour in the filling.
- Bake on the lower oven rack until the edges of the filling are set but the center is still slightly loose, about 50 to 60 minutes. (If the edges get very dark, cover them with aluminum foil.) Cool on a rack. Serve room temperature or slightly warm.
Even easier pumpkin pie - If you're in a hurry, this is the way to go!
- Mix pumpkin pie mix, evaporated milk, and eggs in large bowl.
- Pour into pie shell.
- Bake in preheated 425°F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°F; bake 50 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
Note: You can always mix and match a combo of methods from the two recipes (like using an unbaked, pre-packaged pie shell #2 with the homemade filling of recipe #1).
Image via rick/Flickr