I must have read at least 10 different recipes for pumpkin pie, before I settled on this one from Serious Eats. I like that it’s a little bit different with the addition of cream cheese, but still very much a classic pumpkin pie. The cream cheese is not enough to make it cheesecake, but just enough to lend a smooth, silky texture to the pumpkin pie and just a hint of tang. The pie tasted a little less sweet than I would have liked, but it turns out anything smothered in maple-cinnamon whipped cream (see recipe below) is amazing. It wasn’t perfect, but Cynthia still declared it delicious (always the optimist) - especially with the whipped cream.
I made my own pie crust using this straight-forward, all butter recipe, but you can always use store-bought, if you don’t have the time.
Notes: This pie really did have a great, super smooth texture. I got super excited about sharing pies with Cynthia, so I decided to go all out and make my own pumpkin puree for this recipe. Was it hard? Actually, no. Did you know that in the Fall, most grocery stores (even Trader Joe’s) carry Sugar Pie Pumpkins, perfect for making your own pumpkin puree? Once I googled it, I realized it wasn’t actually that big of a deal. This recipe is super easy to follow.
Some variations - if you want to make your own puree but don’t want to fuss with whole pumpkins, you could roast cubed butternut squash, and it would still be delicious. I bet no one will be able to put their finger on how it’s different from pumpkin pie! I didn’t press the pumpkin pie mixture through a fine mesh strainer as the recipe suggests, but I did pass the homemade pumpkin puree through the strainer. I still found the texture to be extra smooth. Lastly, taste your pie filling and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Maybe you like more spices. Maybe you like it sweeter. You aren’t bound to the recipe. Make the changes that make the pie yours.
READ MORE: THE SHARED PIE
6 ounces granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree, or 15 ounces homemade pumpkin puree
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs
One half recipe Easy Pie Dough
Adjust oven rack to lower middle position. Place a heavy duty rimmed baking sheet on the rack and preheat oven to 425°F.
Roll pie dough into a circle roughly 12-inches in diameter. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Using a pair of kitchen shears, trim the edges of the pie dough until it overhangs the edge of the pie plate by 1/2 an inch all the way around. Fold edges of pie dough down, tucking it under itself, working your way all the way around the pie plate until everything is well tucked. Use the forefinger on your left hand and the thumb and forefinger on your right hand to crimp the edges. When oven is ready, line chilled pie shell with foil or parchment paper and fill with weights (I reuse dried beans for this), transfer to the preheated baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove weights and liner, turn pie, and bake until the bottom crust is a golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove pie shell from oven and allow to cool completely.
Reduce heat to 350°F. In the bowl of a food processor, combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, and pulse 3 times to mix. Add the cream cheese and pulse until a homogeneous paste forms. Add the pumpkin and butter and process for 30 seconds. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl, then process until the mixture is completely smooth, about 30 seconds longer. Add the eggs and process until completely smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. For extra-smooth pie, press the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or a chinois using the back of a ladle.
Pour the mixture into prepared pie shell and smooth over the top with a rubber spatula. Rap the shell firmly against the counter a few times in order to release any air bubbles. Transfer to the baking sheet in the oven and bake for until the filling puffs slightly and the center only moves slightly when jiggled, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pie half way through baking. Allow the pie to cool for at least one hour before serving. It may be chilled for up to two days.
Makes one 9” pie. Recipe doubled to yield two pies.
Maple - Cinnamon Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup maple syrup, preferably Grade B (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
Combine heavy cream, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt in a chilled mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, whip on the highest setting until soft peaks form. Do not over beat (you’ll get maple butter)! Dollop liberally onto your pie and enjoy!