From An Obsessive"s Guide to Cooking a Fabulous Thanksgiving Dinner, November 2010, By IVY MANNING
Roasted Pumpkin Pie
Makes one 9- to 9-1/2 -inch pie
When you've got a house full of relatives and a long to-cook list, fiddling with a pie crust is the last thing you need. Using a premade pie crust is totally acceptable, as long as you choose a good one. We like Grand Central Bakery's all-butter pie crust and Whole Foods' 365 Organic pie shells. Both have a "homemade" flavor and a hand-crimped look.
You can atone for the pie dough shortcut by making your own roasted pumpkin filling. It's a cinch to make, and the rich flavor of fresh roasted squash is worth the extra time. For the best pumpkiny flavor, try kabocha squash, Hubbard squash or sugar pie pumpkin that shows no sign of green near the stem (a sign of immaturity and therefore lackluster flavor). Roasting, rather than steaming, ensures the squash puree won't end up watery.
- One 9- to 9-1/2-inch premade pie shell
- 1-1/2 cups roasted pumpkin or winter squash puree (see accompanying recipe)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- Whipped cream, for serving
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Defrost the frozen pie shell at room temperature for 10 minutes. Prick the crust all over with a fork. Bake pie shell until the crust has set, 10 minutes, pricking the dough gently if it puffs up while cooking. Allow the crust to cool for 30 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, buttermilk, egg yolks and vanilla. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, salt, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and whisk to combine.
Pour into the pre-baked pie crust and place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue baking until a knife inserted about 1 inch from the center comes out clean, 45 minutes to 1 hour. (The pie can be made up to one day ahead. Cool completely, cover with plastic and chill.)
On the big day: Warm gently in 300-degree oven, if desired, and serve with whipped cream.
Roasted Squash or Pumpkin Puree
Canned pumpkin (which is often made from butternut squash) can't hold a candle to the buttery, earthy flavor of real roasted squash. It may sound like a pain in the neck, but it's really very simple. If you're gun-shy about cutting into a tough winter squash or pumpkin, microwave it for a few minutes to soften it up. (Poke the squash with a knife a few times before microwaving.)
To roast the squash, cut it in half and place it cut-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast in a 400-degree oven until you can easily plunge a fork into the squash and twist it easily, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours, depending on the size and thickness of the squash. Scrape out and discard the seeds and strings. Scrape out the roasted flesh and pass it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any fibrous bits. Refrigerate the puree in an airtight container for up to two days or freeze for up to three months. A 4-pound squash or pumpkin will yield about 1-1/2 cups of squash puree.