Ginger Pumpkin Pie
makes one 9 or 10-inch pie
(Note: We’re going to go through this crust step by step, just because Thanksgiving seems like a decent time for a blind-baking pie crust tutorial. Also, I’ve made this pie recipe create a tad more than the average single crust. That way, it will fill a slightly bigger pie pan if that’s what you’re working with, or if you have excess, you can trim it off and bake it separately for snacks!)
1. Make the crust. Combine the vinegar, water, and salt in a cup, stir to dissolve the salt, and place the cup in the freezer. Then combine the flours, butter, and crystallized ginger in the bowl of a mixer fit with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 10 seconds to combine. Take the vinegar mixture out of the freezer and then, with the mixer running on medium speed, slowly add the liquid to the bowl. It will be crumbly at first, but after 20 seconds or so, the mixture should come together. As soon as it clumps around the paddle in one ball of dough, stop the mixer. Gather it up into a ball and wrap in plastic or wax paper, pressing it into a 1-inch disk as you go. Put the disk in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, but up to 3 days. (The dough can also be frozen at this point.)
2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for about 20 minutes to soften. Butter a pie dish. (What kind of dish, you ask? Well in this case, that pie dish needs to survive the direct journey from the freezer to the oven, so aluminum or stainless steel is your best bet. Some say stoneware is good for this too, but I don’t have personal experience with that one.) On a lightly floured counter, roll your crust to between 1/8 and 1/4-inch. Fold it in half, then in half again, then center it over the pan and gently unfold. (You can also roll it over your rolling pin.) Press it gently into the pan, and trim the crust so it hangs about 1 inch over the side of the pan. Use the extra crust to create a decorative edge. (For mine, I folded the crust over and used my knuckles.) Put the crust in the freezer for at least 1 hour. (Again, the crust can be stored indefinitely in the freezer at this point- just put it in a freezer bag if you plan on keeping it there for longer than a day.)
3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the crust from the freezer, line it with parchment, and fill it with beans or pie weights. I use a jar of adzuki beans my mother has in the pantry but NEVER uses, and so I just reuse them over and over as pie weights. Make sure to fill the crust most of the way up with your weights.
4. Put the crust onto a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Then remove the parchment and beans, and bake for another 5 minutes. Then the crust will look something like this:
Let it cool for a few minutes while you make the filling. Reduce your oven temperature to 375 degrees.
5. Make the filling. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, eggs, creme fraiche, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Combine with a sturdy whisk (or a wooden spoon is a close second) until the mixture is fairly uniform. Pour the filling into the pie crust. (I’ve made it so you have enough filling for a 10-inch pie here. If you have too much filling for your crust, lucky you! Pour it into a ramekin or two, and bake it along side the pie for the first 20 minutes or so. Then you get pumpkin custard while you wait for your pie.)
Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, or until the pie just barely jiggles in the center. If you’re using fresh pumpkin, it will probably be on the shorter side of the time scale, as canned pumpkin tends to have a higher water content (so takes a bit longer). If your pie cracks as it cools, it means it cooked a bit too long. It’s okay–still delicious! And more real and human and beautiful, kind of like this wonderful holiday itself.
Let your pie cool a for at least an hour before you cut into it. Then, have at it! This also holds up great, covered with plastic wrap, in the fridge for up to two days, so you can absolutely make it on Tuesday or Wednesday.