living the sweet life

Pumpkin Pie with a Homemade All-Butter Crust

You guys, I baked a pie!

I’ve never baked a pie before and I’ve certainly never made a pie crust from scratch. So, I’m clearly very excited. I went out yesterday to Bed, Bath and Beyond to buy some new kitchen toys – a pie pan, a rolling pin, and a pastry cutter – and I was so excited to test them out.

You see, it’s Thanksgiving on Thursday and it’s kind of my favorite holiday ever. I love Christmas, I love Swedish Midsummer, I enjoy the fireworks on the 4th of July…but I love love LOVE Thanksgiving. I think it’s always been my favorite holiday, and while the way I’ve celebrated over the past few years has shifted, it doesn’t look it’s wonderfulness. Thanksgiving was always when my huge extended family (most of which grew up within 10 minutes of my house) on my dad’s side would get together. My grandma would cook and prep for days and pull off the most amazing dinner. Turkey, gravy, stuffing, potato pie, this delicious pureed carrot dish, green beans, rolls, cranberry sauce, applesauce, and literally a bunch more things I can’t even think of. All I know is that I ate leftovers for days after the holiday and I would cry when they were all gone.

My favorite part of the holiday is potato pie, which are basically the most amazing mashed potatoes ever. I literally look forward to it every year and it’s all I require. That, and dessert. Obviously. I can’t remember if I always loved pumpkin pie. I just remember demolishing all of the Ferrero Rochers my grandma used in her centerpiece while my cousin ate all of the grapes. My god did we have bad stomachaches afterwards.

So this year, I decided that I needed to finally learn how to make pie so I can make pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving in a few days. And I didn’t want to use any store bought crust. I know they’re good, but after having made my first pie dough from scratch, there was something special about biting into the extra flaky crust that made it all worth it.

I’m not going to pretend that I’m any pie expert by any means. This was my first pie and I’m sure the next time I bake one everything will go wrong. But part of this blog and ultimately baking is about learning and pushing yourself (and myself) to try new things. So step one. Bake a pie. My pumpkin pie might not be the most perfect looking or pristine pie, but it was rustic and more importantly delicious. Or at least, that’s what all of my coworkers told me as the pie disappeared in a matter of minutes. (Don’t worry, I had 2 slices)

If you haven’t decided on dessert for Thanksgiving yet or if you’re just too afraid to bake a pie from scratch, fear not! If I can do it, you can.

All Butter Pie Crust

makes 1 double pie crust or 2 single pie crusts

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold
1/2-3/4 cup ice cold water

Pumpkin Pie

makes about 12 servings; 1 9-inch pie

1/2 batch of All Butter Pie Crust*

3/4 cup granulate sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 large eggs
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
1 12-oz can evaporated milk

For the dough: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Cut cold butter into large chunks and add to the flour. Using a pastry cutter, work butter into the flour mixture until the butter is no bigger than the size of peas and the flour looks like coarse meal. Drizzle half of the water over the flour and use a spatula to gently mix it together. Add the rest of the water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough can be lightly kneaded together. If the bowl isn’t large enough, transfer dough to a counter or cutting board and knead there.

For a pie that requires 2 crusts, simply wrap the entire dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. For a pie that requires only 1 crust, divide the dough in half, wrap separately, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Flour your rolling pin and counter/cutting board liberally and put dough down. Sprinkle a little flour on top and roll out the dough into a large circle (roughly 12-13 inches, or desired size), moving the dough around in quarter turns to ensure you’re rolling it out evenly. Gently roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer to the pie pan. Trim any extra overhang, leaving a 1/2 inch overhang. Fold the extra dough under and crimp it into a V shape using your fingers. Prick the bottom with a fork and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

For the pie: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. While pie dough is chilling, prepare the filling. Mix sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs. Stir in the pumpkin and the sugar mixture and whisk until combined. Slowly pour in the evaporated milk, mixing until just incorporated.

Pour into the pie shell. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees F. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 35-45 minutes. To test for doneness, insert a knife and if it comes out clean it’s done. Or you can shake the pie pan gently and if there’s only a slight jiggle, it’s done.

Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Then serve or refrigerate the pie covered until ready to serve.

[source: pie crust very lightly adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, pie lightly adapted from Libby’s recipe]

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