There are just two of us, so two pies seem unnecessary. We’ll just have to deal with it, I guess.
I make a variety of pie crusts, some with lard, some with solid shortening, some with butter, and some with combinations of all these. Today I made Martha Stewart’s “Pâte Brisée” (The Martha Stewart Cookbook, New York: Clarkson Potter, 19995. p. 4), an all butter crust. It does have a tendency to brown on the edges more than I would like, even when covered with foil strips, but the flavor is good. The dough rolls and shapes easily, and that saves a lot of frustration. Her “Country Pie Pastry” (p. 5) is a good alternative that uses both butter and solid shortening.
I pretty much always fall back on the pumpkin pie filling from my Betty Crocker New Picture Cookbook (p. 351) that I have mentioned here before, with the exception that I use half and half instead of the milk called for.
Preheat oven to 425°
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
2 sticks (1/2 lb) cold butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water—I needed about two more tablespoons of water to bring it together
- Put dry ingredients in food processor with dough blade.
- Add butter cubes and run on dough speed for 10-15 seconds until butter is cut in to a rough texture (this could all be done by hand).
- Add ice water slowly through the feed tube until the dough starts to form a ball. As I noted above, I had to use a little more water, but that always depends on things like humidity and fairy magic. Just don’t pulse it to death or the dough will be tough.
- Turn out onto your floured pastry rolling mat or board and knead into a ball, then cut in half for two crusts. Most recipes suggest that you chill the dough at this point, but I can’t be bothered with that in the winter.
- Roll out to about 1 1/2 inches larger than your pie dish top. Fit into dish, trim, leaving about a half inch hanging over the side. I like to roll under the edges and then crimp, so that there is a substantial crust edge—we like the crust. Use your favorite crimping method. I use my two thumbs, but I can’t take a picture of it without a third hand.
Pie Filling and Baking
1 29 oz can of pure pumpkin
3 1/2 cups half and half
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Beat all ingredients and pour into pie crusts. Bake 45 minutes. Start checking at about 40 minutes for doneness by inserting a sharp silver knife 1″ from the edge of the pie. When it comes out clean, the pie is done and should be removed to cooling racks. The centers will not appear to be done—they will jiggle like liquid—but they will continue to cook during cooling. Do not wait until the centers are done or your pie will weep water after being cut. That’s the biggest mistake people make with custard pies, overcooking.