Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving isn't Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. Although I like to experiment when cooking and baking, for holidays I'm mostly a traditionalist, so when I was looking for a pumpkin pie recipe for the Thanksgiving meal I was hosting, I went right for the trusty red-and-white checked wisdom that is the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. There's a reason that book has been an indispensable kitchen resource for so many people, all the way from 1950s housewives to avid home cooks today.

Pumpkin pie is extremely easy to make with one exception-getting the pie from the counter to the oven without spilling the custard filling. Better Homes and Gardens recommends putting the pie shell on the oven rack and carefully filling the shell; I prefer to set the pie plate on a baking sheet, fill the shell, and very carefully transfer the pie to the oven so the oven temperature doesn't drop too much. Use whatever method works best for you, but I prefer having the pie on the cookie sheet so I can easily rotate it, ensuring even cooking.

Pumpkin Pie
from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook
serves 8

1 9-inch pie crust, homemade or store-bought
1 15-ounce can pumpkin (about 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup half-and-half, light cream, and milk

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare and roll out pastry for a single-crust pie. Line a 9-inch piece plate with the pastry circle and trim. Crimp edge as desired.

2. For filling, in a bowl combine pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Add eggs; beat lightly with a fork until combined. Gradually add half-and-half; stir until just combined.

3. Place the pastry-lined pie plate on the oven rack. Carefully pour the filling into pastry shell. To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of the pie with foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil. Bake about 25 minutes more or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill within 2 hours.

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