I realized something recently that I’d never really thought about before; my family really loves pie.
I mean, I’ve always known that they liked it of course because every holiday season there has to be pie on the dessert menu and it usually disappears pretty fast. Okay, so maybe this is completely naive of me to have thought this, but I always figured that its appeal was more about the tradition and novelty than the actual pie. Yeah, that was pretty silly of me to think that I guess.
Anyway, my mom sort of has this thing for apple pie (it’s a big thing), and she asked me if I felt like making one a few weekends ago when we were having some friends over. I told her I loved the idea of pie for a change because the truth is that I really hadn’t done many pies before, so I made apple pie for her. I also made a few other pies to give variety and, I’m not even joking, every piece was eaten before the night was over. It pretty much blew my mind just because I didn’t realize the power of pie with this crowd. Since that night I’ve tried to make pies for dessert every chance I can when we have the same friends over and they’ve continued to be a hit.
Where I’m going with this is that pies are becoming more and more of a regular thing around here and I was wondering if I’m not the only one who’s ever underestimated them. Well that, and I was also trying to decide how I feel about making pumpkin pie this early in the season, does it seem too soon since it’s only October? That’s another mentality I’ve always had stuck in my head and I think it’s probably a misconception. For some reason I’ve always considered pumpkin pie as solely tied in with Thanksgiving and occasionally acceptable up until Christmas. Now that we live outside the States though, it gives a whole different perspective to this.
Oh, speaking of Thanksgiving, I’m already starting to make plans and get excited even though it’s still pretty far off. Some of you are probably like “Can we please just get passed Halloween before we have to think about all that?” and if that’s the case then just ignore my thinking ahead, but for those who are as excited as I am about the holidays I have to quickly mention how much I’m freaking out a little. In both a good way and a bad. Good, because we are for sure going to have a big group this year, and bad because, we are going to have a BIG group this year! I’ve explained the last few years that even though we don’t live in the US any more my crazy family still likes to do Thanksgiving. Haha, we’re weirdos, yes, but at least we know it. I just want everything to be perfect this year since we’ll be inviting some friends that have never celebrated a turkey day. It’s kind of unreasonable I guess but I can’t help it, I love traditions!
Alright, I should probably say something about this recipe before I’m done here, shouldn’t I? I know everyone and their Great Aunt Ruth have a recipe for pumpkin pie, but ask yourself, can you really have too many pumpkin pies???? I’m gonna go with not. This pie sways a little bit away from the basic by including the perfect amount of streusel crumb on top simply to dress it up and add that little bit of extra yum! I know I’ve got a problem with not being able to leave plain and safe things alone, but I can’t help it. Hey, just trust me on this, once you try the streusel you’ll be totally sold even if you’re a devout purist in the pumpkin pie department. It’s that good!
I was really happy with this version and even with the added step of making the topping, it’s still a very easy pie to make and doesn’t require any special tools or ingredients. It’s a pie that I hope you’ll love enough to include in many future holiday menus and want to share with your friends and family!
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 3 tablespoons lard, coconut oil, or organic vegetable shortening
- 6 tablespoons ice cold butter, cubed
- 1/4 cup ice cold water
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs + 1 yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C). Combine flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of food processor and pulse. Add butter and lard and pulse a few times more until crumbly. Add water and process until the dough comes together adding more water if necessary. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and flatten into disk. Roll out pastry dough on lightly floured surface into a circle that is roughly 13 inches in diameter. Gently wrap around rolling pin and lift over a 9-inch pie pan. Unroll over pan and press down gently; then crimp the edges into desired trim or brush with water and add small cut-outs of the extra dough. (For this pie I did a braided trim.). Place crust in the refrigerator until the filling is ready.
- Whisk together the sugar and eggs in a medium mixing bowl until combined well and slightly frothy. Add salt, vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, sweetened condensed milk, and pumpkin and mix until smooth.
- When oven is hot, remove crust from fridge, poke small holes in bottom, and cover the edges with small sheets of foil pressed down into shape of crust. Place the crust on a cookie sheet or tray so that you won't accidentally knock off the foil while handling and pour the filling into the crust. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the edges around the top start to look nearly done. During this first bake time, make your streusel.
- Cream together the butter and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl. Add the yolk,salt, vanilla, and cinnamon and stir to combine. Add the flour and mix well until it forms a dough. Lightly flour your hands and crumble the dough into little pieces so it's ready to put onto the pie.
- When the pie is starting to look partly done after 15 or 20 minutes, remove from oven and as quickly as you can reasonably do it, crumble the streusel dough over the top in an even layer (don't worry if the middle sinks just a bit). As soon as you've finished, return the pan to oven and continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes more until you can nudge the pie without it the center jiggling.
- Remove from oven and allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes. You can serve it warm, room temp, or chilled depending on preference.