Two weeks ago I did something I've never done before: I entered a pumkin pie contest. I don't know what came over me, but for some reason I needed some unknown third party to taste and judge my baking. And I'm not even an avid pie-baker!
So I made this really nicely spiced pumpkin pie, following a recipe I found on Epicurious, and using Martha Stewart's dough recipe. One thing about pumpkin pie crust, you have to be sure it is COLD before prebaking it. If it isn't cold enough, it will shrink up to 1/2 its size! And use pie weights, they will help with that shrinkage as well.
The recipe is extremely easy, that's what I love about pumpkin pie. The biggest challenge is the crust. I made my crust in a pretty French quiche tin, and people raved about the look.
How did I do in the contest, you ask? Second place. Not bad, but not first! (My guess is they didn't like the spin on the classic pumpkin pie: toffee and pecans around the top). Ahh, a challenge for next year. I won two tickets to the aquarium that we already belong to, the irony of it all.
So, on to the pie:
Martha Stewart Flaky Pie Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tb granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/4 sticks cold unslated butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup plus 1 to 2 Tb. ice water
-Pulse flour, sugr and salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream until dough just holds together (no longer than 30 seconds).
-Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days). Dough can be frozen for up to one month, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
-On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disk of dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into a 12 inch round. Fit dough onto the bottom and up sides of a pie dish. Roll and pinch the overhang.
-Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prick bottom of crust all over with a fork. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Line with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until edges begin to turn golden, about 15 minutes. Remove weights and parchment. Return to oven and bake unti the center is golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
For Pumpkin Pie Filling:
1 15 ounce can pure pumpkin
2/3 cup packed golden brown sugar
2/3 chp whipping cream
1/3 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 cup chopped and toasted pecans
1/3 cup English toffee bits (I used Heath bits)
Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Whisk first 12 ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into prepared crust. Bake until filling is set, about 55 minutes. Transfer to rack. Sprinkle nuts and toffee around the edge of the hot pie, forming a border. Cool completely. (Can be made 6 hours ahead, let stand at room temperature. I made mine the day before and it was very good, the crust got more tender overnight as well.)