Everyone’s got a pumpkin pie recipe they love. This one is ours. We’ve tried this classic each and every way and have found that while there’s some room for improvement along the way, keeping things classic is what makes this recipe a keeper. Any changes — like roasting the pumpkin purée — are only in the interest of making a richer, more flavorful pie.
Here’s what you need to know to make a truly delicious pumpkin pie from scratch.
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 (i.e., “blind bake” the crust).
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.
Warm Filling Loves a 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.
Prep the pie crust: Arrange a rack in the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 425°F. Roll out the pie crust and transfer it to a 9-inch pie pan. Crimp the edges. Chill for 30 minutes while the oven heats.
What You Need
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract