Thanksgiving Recipe Prep: ATK's Silky Smooth Pumpkin Pie

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Here's another one for your upcoming holiday meal planning:  pumpkin pie!  It's an institution, right?  If you're Southern and also accustomed to sweet potato pie, this recipe combines the best of both worlds, which I believe is where lies one of the secrets to the pie's success- it contains both pumpkin and candied yams.

This is a variation on America's Test Kitchen's Silky Smooth Pumpkin Pie, by way of Smitten Kitchen, and while it's simple, it does involve a few steps, so be warned that you will put in a little effort for this, but it's well worth it.  It always gets rave reviews!

The recipe title is also a link to the Smitten Kitchen page with this recipe and Deb's (is it OK to call her Deb even though I've never met her but have read her blog for something like 5-6 years?) beautiful photography.

Silky Smooth Pumpkin Pie
adapted from a recipe by America's Test Kitchen
makes 1-2 pies (see notes)

Pie dough to make one 9 inch pie
2 cups half and half
3 lg. eggs plus 2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 cup of candied yams (from a 15 oz can), drained from syrup
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1- 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. table salt

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Prepare crust: roll out dough onto a floured surface to make a circle of dough approx. 12 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick.  Place into pie plate/dish- the easiest way is to roll it loosely around the rolling pin and unroll it into the dish, leaving about an inch overhang all around.  Gently ease the pie crust into the dish until it is fitted to the dish.  Trim the crust until there's about a half inch overhang on all sides.  Flute or press the crust edge to your liking.  Refrigerate crust until firm, about 15 minutes.

Remove crust from the fridge, line with aluminum foil, and place pie weights into dish.  Plac pie plate/dish onto a baking sheet lined with foil and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove the foil and weights, rotate the pie crust, and continue baking another 5-10 minutes, until crust is golden brown and crisp.  Remove from oven.

While the crust is baking, begin to prepare the filling.  First, combine half and half, eggs and yolks, and vanilla in a medium bowl (my quart sized measuring cup is perfect for this).  In a large saucepan, combine the pumpkin puree, candied yams, sugar, maple syrup, and spices/seasonings.  Bring to a sputtering mixture over medium heat, approx 5-7 minutes.  Continue to simmer, while stirring constantly and smashing yams up against the side of the pot, until the mixture is thick and shiny, about 10-15 minutes.  

Remove the pan from the heat.  Mix in the dairy/egg mixture slowly, until fully incorporated.  Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer set over a medium bowl, using a spoon to press the solids through the strainer.  Re-whisk the mixture and pour into baked pie crust.  Return the pie plate, still on the baking pan lined with foil, to the oven.  Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 300.  Continue baking pie until the edges are set (a thermometer would read 175), another 20-35 minutes.  Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and cool at room temperature for 2-3 hours.  

  • It could be me, but I often have enough filling left over that I could make 2 pies.  If you're using a deep dish pie crust/plate, then you'd most likely just get one.  Here would be a good time to make mini pies with a muffin tin, or just have a little less filling in a second, full-sized pie.
  • I have made this pie 3-4 times, and each time I have used a refrigerated pie crust.  Very un-food-bloggery of me I know, but when you're making several recipes at once, it's nice to just pull that out.  To use, though, I treat it like a homemade crust- I unroll it, roll it out a bit to get it evened up and get the factory look off it, and then place it in the pie dish.  
  • I use a glass pie dish for this pie.  Often my crust needs a longer baking time as a result.
  • Instead of pie weights, you can use lentils and even coins.  Make sure you line it pretty well, though, so that the sides of the crust don't bubble out.  
  • This recipe has been so forgiving!  The first time I ever made it, I accidentally bought pumpkin pie filling.  I compensated by not putting in the spices.
  • I also didn't have a strainer with me the first time, so I blended it in a blender.  Still worked really well!

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