Variations abound on pumpkin pie, from deep dish to crumb coated, but when we talk about classic pumpkin pie here’s what we mean: a pumpkin custard that is sweetened and lightly spiced, baked until creamy but sliceable in a crisp pie crust. It’s the pie most guests expect at Thanksgiving and one we think every home cook should master. Here’s how to do it.
This recipe calls for canned pumpkin purée. You can use homemade, but you’ll still need to purée it more and cook it on the stove per the directions below.
The pie bakes for 50 to 60 minutes at 375°F.
Be sure to cool the pie completely before slicing and serving.
Four Steps for Perfect Pumpkin Pie
Blind bake the crust:
A soggy crust is the curse of many a good pie, particularly custard-based ones like our dear pumpkin. To help avoid this, partially bake the crust before adding the filling.
If you’ve never done this before, don’t worry it’s easy. Just roll out the crust and fit it into the pan. Then, line it with a piece of parchment paper and fill the bottom with pie weights, dried beans, or even pennies. The weights help keep the bottom from puffing up and the sides from slouching. Bake for about 15 minutes, remove the weights, bake for another few minutes to dry out the bottom, and you’re ready to go.
Purée the purée:
This is a trick I picked up from Cook’s Illustrated a while back: Run the pumpkin purée in a food processor or blender for a minute before proceeding on with the recipe. Even though canned pumpkin purée is already, yes, puréed, fibrous stringy bits often remain. Puréeing the purée helps ensure a silky-smooth texture.
Cook the filling:
When I say “cook” here, I really just mean to let the pumpkin purée bubble on the stovetop for about five minutes. I find that this brief kiss of warmth helps cook out the raw pumpkin flavor and give the finished pie much more depth. It also melts the sugar into the purée and infuses it with the spices for an all-around richer, more complex flavor.
Add the warm filling to the warm crust:
To make sure that the filling and the crust fuse into a single delicious creation, add the warm filling to the warm crust. Don’t get too fussy about this,I know that the blind-baked crust and the warmed filling might not be ready in perfect synchrony. I mention it only because it’s a detail that pumpkin pie-lovers will appreciate.