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pumpkin cream pie

January 29, 2012

When I was a young’un, one of my first forays into making my own food was this no-bake pumpkin pie recipe from Taste of Home. I made it every Thanksgiving, dumping a can of pumpkin and a bunch of spices into some instant vanilla pudding, pouring it into a storebought graham cracker crust, and popping it in the fridge for a few hours. My brother always begged to eat the leftover filling straight out of the bowl–and I have to say, it was pretty delicious. I mean, it was pumpkin pudding in a basically-cookie crust. Where could you go wrong?

Of course, I could count on Martha to complicate up that classic a bit–and you could count on me to try the overcomplicated version immediately. And it was pretty darned good, if I do say so myself, even without the homemade whipped cream mounded classily on top. (I wouldn’t dare enter the kitchen on Thanksgiving day to do up any finishing touches–it’s my mom’s realm at that point.) It’s a grown-up version of that glorious childhood fave, a little less sweet and a little bit spicier. And that crunchy, simple crust is absolutely ah-maaaaazing.

Pumpkin Cream Pie
1 1/4 cups ground gingersnaps (from about 25 cookies)
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
pinch ground cloves
1/2 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/4 cups solid-pack pumpkin
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

1. For the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine gingersnaps, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Stir in melted butter and press mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes, then bake until crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool.
2. For the filling, bring milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, 1/4 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk egg yolks with cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl.
3. Gradually whisk about 1/2 cup milk mixture into yolk mixture. Gradually whisk in remaining milk mixture and return entire mixture to saucepan. [I usually just dump the yolk mixture straight into the pan with the rest of the yolk mixture once I’ve added the 1/2 cup milk.] Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until bubbling in center and thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in pumpkin and butter.
4. If you really want to overachieve, at this point, you can strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into the crust. However, at this point, I was already running late for my car inspection and was not about to spend half an hour watching the thick custard drip through the strainer. I think it turned out perfectly fine, so feel free to go without straining; just pour the custard straight into the crust and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours.

Source: Martha Stewart

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