Friday, November 18th, 2011
Pumpkin Pie with Graham Cracker Crust

A fall favorite!  The homemade graham cracker crust is super easy to make, even if you’ve never made a pie before!  Be sure to let the pie cool completely before you eat it.  Better let, chill it in the refrigerator overnight to give the filling time to fully set and for the flavors to meld together.

Makes one 9-inch pie

FOR THE CRUST

5 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter, plus additional for greasing
10 graham cracker sheets; about 6 oz. (will make about 1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt (omit if you use salted butter)

FOR THE FILLING:
1 1 3⁄4-lb. fresh pie pumpkin (or 1-1/2 cup canned pumpkin)
2⁄3 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1⁄4 tsp. ground ginger
Pinch ground cloves
1 1⁄2 cups evaporated milk (1 12-ounce can)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1⁄2 tsp. salt

  1. Make the crust: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly butter a 9- to 9 1/2-inch pie plate.  Break the graham crackers into smaller pieces and grind them up by pulsing in a food processor until the crumbs are fairly fine.  (No food processor?  No problem!  Simply seal the graham crackers in a zip-lock bag, place the bag on a cutting board, and pound lightly with a meat mallet, rolling pin, or a can until you get crumbs.)  Melt the 5 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over low heat (or in the microwave).   Stir together graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, and salt (if using) in a bowl and press evenly on bottom and up side of pie plate. Bake until crisp, 12 to 15 minutes, then cool on a rack to room temperature, about 45 minutes.
  2. If using fresh pumpkin, fill a large pot, fitted with a steaming rack, with about 2 quarts water, and bring to a boil over high heat.  Cut the pumpkin in half.  With a spoon, scrape out and discard the seeds and any stringy pieces.  Cut the pumpkin into a few large chunks.  Place pumpkin on steamer rack, cover the pot, and steam until pulp is soft, 30-35 minutes. (You can check that the pumpkin is done by carefully inserting the tip of a sharp knife into some of the pieces.  It should slide right through the pumpkin, with no resistance.)  Allow the pumpkin to cool, then scrape the flesh from the skin.  (Discard the skin).  Place the pumpkin flesh in a food processor and purée until very smooth.
  3. Make the filling: Transfer pumpkin puree (or canned pumpkin) to a bowl and stir in sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, condensed milk, eggs, and salt until just incorporated.
  4. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.  Carefully pour the pumpkin filling into the pre-baked graham cracker crust.  (It’s possible that you’ll have a touch too much filing.) Bake for 15 minutes on the middle oven rack, then reduce heat to 350°F and continue to cook until filling is set, another 30–40 minutes. Cool for at least 2 hours before serving. (Or refrigerate overnight.)

Filling recipe adapted from Saveur, Issue #15.  Crust recipe adapted from Gourmet, Nov. 2006.

Notes

  • If you use fresh pumpkin, try cooking it a day ahead (cool, cover, and refrigerate) so that it will be ready to go when you make the pie.
  • Crust and filling can be made a day ahead.  Keep separate until ready to bake, then bake the shell, let it cool, fill the crust, and bake the pie!
  • If using canned pumpkin, you may want to increase cinnamon to 1 1⁄2 tsp., ginger to 1⁄2 tsp., and cloves to 1⁄4 tsp.
  • For this recipe, I like to use pumpkins from Sycamore Farms, butter from Ronnybrook Farm, and eggs from Knoll Crest Farm, all of which are available in the Union Square Greenmarket
  • Recipe featured at Bottlerocket’s 2011 Thanksgiving Workshop

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