perfect spicy pumpkin pie

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Cold pumpkin pie for breakfast is just about my favorite fall treat. I love the creamy custard texture of the filling, the richness of the crust, and if I'm feeling really decadent, some cinnamon whipped cream on top.

Here's the thing. I've never been a huge fan of the Thanksgiving meal. Some of the sides definitely inspired worship, but generally it was never my favorite meal of the year.

But the pie? I love the pie. Apple. Pumpkin. Bourbon pecan. Chocolate. Yes, yes. This pumpkin pie is everything you want your pie to be- just spicy enough, with the flavor of the pumpkin shining through. Incredibly creamy, even though it sets perfectly so your slices are nice and crisp.

I started making this pie a few years ago, and aside from a very few minor changes the first time, I haven't changed a thing. The original recipe came from King Arthur Flour's recipe database- I swapped ground white pepper for the black pepper, and added ground cardamom. Even if you make the original, you will be absolutely wowed by the pie. Mm-mm-good.

There are a few tricks to making this perfect. 

1. Cook the pie until the edges are cooked, but the center is still wobbly. The key here is which type of pan you're using. After you pull the pie from the oven, the center will continue to cook from the residual heat. If you use a metal pie pan, the heat will dissipate much more quickly, so you only want about 1-2" of wobble in the center (think of the size of a half-dollar).  If you are using a glass or ceramic pie plate, the residual heat will last much longer, so you want the pie to be cooked about 2-3" from the edge, with about a coaster size wobble in the center.

2. This recipe has a large amount of filling, so if you are not using a 9" pie plate you will probably have extra left over. You can cook it in a ramekin for a personal pumpkin pudding. 

3. Don't be afraid of the pepper, and be sure to let the filling sit overnight before baking. Letting the filling rest allows the flavors to all make friends the night before, so by the time they are hitting your table they are super close. This is important. It also allows the eggs to relax, which gives the pie a rich, creamy smoothness. This does require planning ahead, but the end result is worth the extra effort.

Edited 11/24: Here's the link to my pie crust recipe. Totally worth doing!

Ready? Here's how it's done:

First, combine the sugars, spices, flour, and salt. 

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs really well, until they are completely combined.

Add the pumpkin and evaporated milk to the eggs, and whisk well to combine.

Once everything is totally incorporated, add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk well to combine.

Now that everything is all incorporated, cover the mixture well and refrigerate at leas 8 hours but up to two days. 

When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 and prepare your pie crust.

However you decide to flute your edge, you want a nice thick crust because the filling will rise substantially in the oven, and it needs a good barrier to taking over the oven floor. I braided mine this time because I'm an overachiever.

Pour in your filling and pop her in the oven. 

Bake the pie for 45-60 minutes (mine usually takes about 55) and make sure you read the instructions above about your pan vs. how baked your pie should be.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely before slicing- do not rush the cooling process or your pie will be underbaked.

Serve. Delicious alone or with cinnamon whipped cream (recipe follows). Enjoy :).

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