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The Best Pumpkin Pie
From Cook's Illustrated, 1993, by Stephen Schmidt

The pie may be served slightly warm, chilled, or — my preference — at room temperature.


Flaky Pastry Shell

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, measured by dip-and-sweep
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
10 Tbsp ( 1-1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pats
3-3-1/2 Tbsp ice water

Spicy Pumpkin Filling

2 cups (16 ounces) plain pumpkin puree, canned or fresh
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup milk
4 large eggs

Brandied Whipped Cream

1-1/3 cups heavy cream, cold
3 Tbsp confectioners' sugar
1 Tbsp brandy


1. For pastry shell, mix flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor filled with steel blade. Scatter butter over dry ingredients; process until mixture resembles cornmeal, 7 to 12 seconds. Turn mixture into a medium-sized bowl.

2. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of water over flour mixture. With blade side of a rubber spatula, cut mixture into little balls. Then press down on mixture with broad side of spatula so balls stick together in large clumps. If dough resists gathering, sprinkle remaining water over dry, crumbly patches and press a few more times. Form dough into a ball with your hands; wrap in plastic, then flatten into a 4-inch disk. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (Can be refrigerated for 2 days or, if sealed airtight in a plastic bag, frozen for up to 6 months.)

3. Generously sprinkle a 2-foot square work area with flour. Remove dough from wrapping and place disk in center; dust top with flour. (If if has been chilled for more than 1 hour, let dough stand until it gives slightly when pressed, 5 to 10 minutes.) Roll dough in all directions, from center to edges, rotating a quarter turn and strewing flour underneath as necessary after each stroke. Flip disk over when it is 9 inches in diameter and continue to roll (but don't rotate) in all directions, until it is 13 to 14 inches in diameter and just under 1/8-inch thick.

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