The "Not a Pumpin Pie Fan" Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Pumpkins Big dessert fan. Huge.  But I've never loved pumpkin pie, and thinking back, I believe that last year may have been the first year I've ever chosen to have a slice.  Point being, it's not my favorite.

I had an early Thanksgiving dinner this past weekend, and volunteered to make the pumpkin pie.  "If you're not a fan, why would you offer to make it" you ask, especially since I could have walked to the store and purchased a pre-made pie? Because I believe when food is homemade, it comes from love.  Seriously.  When one takes the time to make food for others, it comes from a place of kindness, which you can't replicate with store bought goods.

A reader asked me recently if I tested a recipe before I made it, especially for a holiday like Thanksgiving, where food is front and center. I tend to NOT test the recipe first, reason being that I select recipes from sources that I trust and where I have previously found successful recipes.  Having never made a pumpkin pie, I went to my "go-to" sources.  For the crust, I went with Martha Stewart.  I've made many of her recipes, which are user friendly and always turn out great.  For the pie filling, I went to America's Test Kitchen, who have some of the tastiest recipes, hands down.

You can go with a store bought crust if you wish or if you're short on time.  Since this was a single layer pie, without a top crust, I cut the recipe found here in half and it turned out great.  I sprinkled a bit of cinnamon onto the crust before I put it into the oven for a little added deliciousness!  This was a time when I wished I had purchased pie weights.  Whenever I see them, I think to myself that I should buy them, but can't think of a time in the near future when I'll be making a pie.  Lesson learned? Pick them up the next time I see them! For this pie crust, I used rice to keep the bottom on the pie dish, which worked just as well.

Pumpkin Pie Filling:

1 cup heavy cream 1 cup whole milk 3 large eggs plus 2 large yolks 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree 1 cup drained candied yams from 15-ounce can (I used the entire can sans liquid) ¾ cup sugar ¼ cup pure maple syrup ¼ teaspoon ground ginger ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt 1 pie crust, homemade or store-bought

Preheat oven to 400 ° F. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, and place rimmed baking sheet on the rack.

Whisk cream, milk, eggs, yolks, and vanilla together in medium bowl, and set aside. For this, I used my standing mixer, but a hand mixer will work just as well.

Combine pumpkin puree, yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in large heavy-bottomed saucepan; bring to sputtering simmer over medium heat, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue to simmer pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly and mashing yams against sides of pot, until thick and shiny, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and whisk in cream mixture until fully incorporated. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl, using back of ladle or spatula to press solids through strainer. Re-whisk mixture.

**If making your crust from scratch, you will need to bake it according to the directions, before adding filling.**

Place pie crust in pie plate and carefully place plate on the preheated baking sheet. Bake pie for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 ° F, and continue baking until edges of pie are set (instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 175 ° F), 20 to 35 minutes longer. The center 2 inches of the pie should look firm but jiggle slightly; the pie finishes cooking with residual heat.

Transfer pie to wire rack and cool to room temperature for 2-3 hours, not in the refrigerator to ensure that the filling sets. Cut into wedges and serve at room temperature or chilled with whipped cream.

*** As a side note, I had some filling left over, which I made into 6 mini-pies for friends, using pre-made graham cracker crusts.  And, I LOVED this recipe.  I sampled one of the mini-pies, and enjoyed every bit of the deliciousness!***

Thanksgiving Dessert

For Thanksgiving, my family is getting together to celebrate. I look forward to this time of year, as it is the one time that we are all together and there's usually LOTS of delicious food! This year, I am giving a new recipe a try- a Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle, courtesy of Paula Deen, from the Food Network. Here's the recipe:

2 (14-ounce) packages gingerbread mix
1 (5.1-ounce) box cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
1 (30-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping
1/2 cup gingersnaps, optional

Bake the gingerbread according to the package directions; cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside to cool. Stir the pumpkin pie filling, sugar, and cardamom into the pudding. Crumble 1 batch of gingerbread into the bottom of a large, pretty bowl. Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the gingerbread, then add a layer of whipped topping. Repeat with the remaining gingerbread, pudding, and whipped topping. Sprinkle of the top with crushed gingersnaps, if desired. Refrigerate overnight. Trifle can be layered in a punch bowl.

I'm planning to make the dish today and let it set in the refrigerator overnight, in a pretty, trifle bowl. What are you making this Thanksgiving? Send me your favorite holiday recipe and enjoy the day!