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Pumpkin Pie
The perfect pie begins with the perfect crust—one that is tender and flaky. Cutting the butter into the flour mixture is a key step. The butter must be cold and hard; if it warms up and softens, the flour will absorb it, become sticky and yield a dense, tough crust. We recommend mixing the ingredients in a food processor. It allows you to work quickly so the butter doesn't have a chance to soften. And by running the machine in short pulses, the processor won't heat up and melt the butter.

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 tsp. sugar
  • 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter,
       cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 1/2 to 6 Tbs. ice water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

For the filling:

  • 2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (from about
     1 1/2 cans, each 15 oz.)
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3 whole eggs plus 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbs. brandy
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream for serving

Directions:

To make the dough, in the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt and sugar and pulse to blend. Add the butter and process in short pulses until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 3 Tbs. of the ice water and pulse twice. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water, 1 tsp. at a time, pulsing twice after each addition.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Cut off one-third of the dough and shape into a disk. Shape the remaining two-thirds of the dough into a disk. Wrap the disks separately with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven. Place a cookie sheet on the rack. Preheat to 400°F.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes. Place the large dough disk between 2 sheets of lightly floured waxed paper and roll out into a 12-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Brush off the excess flour. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch Emile Henry deep-dish pie dish and fit the dough into the dish. Trim the edges, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold under the excess dough and, using your thumb, decoratively flute the edges. Using a fork, gently poke holes in several places on the bottom of the crust.

Place the small dough disk between the same 2 sheets of waxed paper, flouring the paper if needed, and roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick. Using a 1 1/2-inch leaf cutter, cut out about 32 small leaves. Using the back of a paring knife, score leaf veins on each cutout. Brush the edges of the piecrust with the beaten egg, then arrange the leaves on the edges. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 15 minutes.

Line the piecrust with parchment paper or aluminum foil and fill with pie weights. Place the pie dish on the preheated cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment and weights and bake until the crust is light golden brown, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F.

Meanwhile, make the filling: In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Add the flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves and whisk until smooth. Add the eggs and egg yolks and whisk until combined. Add the cream, milk, vanilla and brandy and whisk until smooth. Pour the filling into the cooled piecrust.

Place the pie dish on the preheated cookie sheet. Bake until the filling is set, about 1 hour and 15 minutes, covering the edges of the crust with foil if they get too brown. Transfer the pie dish to the wire rack and let the pie cool completely, about 4 hours, before serving. Accompany each slice with a dollop of whipped cream.
Serves 8 to 10.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.