Every year for Thanksgiving, I head to my parents house for my mom’s famous frozen pumpkin pie – or rather, Sara Lee’s famous frozen pumpkin pie. Which is … lacking, to be kind about it. While there are always other offerings – I can name quite a few cheesecakes that I’ve slaved over for this get-together – pumpkin pie is the traditional choice. Anything else just doesn’t seem right.
So this year, I put my foot down. The pumpkin pie will be the only dessert available. I will make it. And it will include cream cheese, but don’t tell my father. Or else he’ll turn his nose up at it.
First step: get the pie dough into the pie pan. Maybe if I had something more to work with than a galley kitchen, I would consider making my own pie dough. I have done it before – for my grandmother’s 75th birthday party. But most of the pre-made, refrigerated dough is fairly stellar. I opted to use Wegmans brand – a) because Wegmans is awesome and b) because it was $.50 cheaper than Pillsbury.
Next, get the edges in order. I’m a big believer in presentation, but I don’t go all out for edging – I am a straight-up fluted edger. Seriously, don’t spend more than three minutes on this endeavor if you don’t want to.
The recipe I’m using says to put the pie crust in the freezer for one hour before baking in a 350 degree for 10 minutes with pie weights (or uncooked beans) in place and some foil around the edges. I got bored after 30 minutes, went to preheat the oven and started messing around with the decorative pie crust. Don’t be like me. Anyway, after the initial 10 minutes, remove the foil and weights and bake for another 10 minutes.
While you’re doing all this waiting, start assembling your ingredients. You will need:
- 8 ounces (one package) of cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups of canned pumpkin, mashed
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 egg
- 2 egg yolks, scrambled
- 1 cup half & half
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
- sprinkling of nutmeg
The filling is pretty straight forward. First, whip the cream cheese until fluffy (whip it good!). Add pumpkin and beat until combined. Add sugar and salt and beat until combined. Add the egg, egg yolks, half and half and melted butter. Beat until combined. Add all your seasonings and beat once more.
Add the filling to the prepared pie crust and bake for 50 minutes or until the center of the pie no longer wiggles. In the meantime, watch an episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Place pie on a wire rack and cool completely.
Enjoy with a heaping dollop of whipped cream, after gorging oneself on turkey but before settling into a food coma. Happy Thanksgiving!