Peerless Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving may be over this year, but the heady fragrances of the pies, turkey and sage dressing remain in one’s memory.  A day of hard core cooking and the baking of three pies are rewarded by the words, “This is the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever tasted.”  I must have done something special.  For one thing I use cream (not ultrapasteurized) and add a few flourishes.  I don’t use dark brown  sugar as the rusultant pie looks darker than I w ant, but the addition of a tablespoon of molasses gives it the most appetizing hue. Also, a small amount of a delectable Italian flavoring, fiori di sicilia, adds a citrusy counterpoint.  If you have a convection oven, use it.  The finished pie should not have a crack in it.  And even though you might say, “Picky, picky, picky,” don’t poke a hole in it with a toothpick to test for doneness and you will have an unblemished  velvety finish.  The prebaked pie crust will prevent a soggy crust.

Pie crust

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 t salt

1 T sugar

8 T unsweetened butter cut into small cubes

3 T vegetable shortening

4 T ice water

Pulse flour, salt and sugar in food processor to mix.  Add butter and shortening.  Mix briefly.  You should still see small bits of butter in mixture. Sprinkle around metal disk 3 T of the water. Pulse briefly.  Check to see if mixture holds together between fingers.  Add a little more if needed.  Pulse but don’t let ball form.  Empty mixture on a sheet of plastic wrap.  Press out with heel of hand (frissage) and form into a flat disk.  wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1/2 hour.  Roll out to a 1- inch round and fit into a 9-inch pie pan.  Crimp edges.  Place a buttered piece of aluminum foil in pan and weigh down with pie weights.  Bake in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Take off foil and put back in oven for about 5 minutes until bottom of crust is dry but edges are not browned.  Cool.


¾ cup white granulated sugar

1 t ground cinnamon

1/2 t ground ginger

¼ t freshly ground nutmeg

¼ t ground cloves

1/8 t ground mace

1/2 t salt

3 large eggs

15 oz. pureed pumpkin

1 T molasses

½ t vanilla

1/8  t fiori di sicilia*

8 oz heavy cream

Mix sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, mace and salt in a small bowl.  Beat eggs with a fork in another bowl.  Place pumpkin in the mixing bowl of stand mixer.  Add spice mixture. Mix briefly.  Add eggs,  pumpkin, molasses, vanilla and  fiori di sicilia. Mix on low speed and gradually add cream.

Pour into prebaked crust and bake in lower third of oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes and then at 350 for about 45 minutes or until center of pie just barely jiggles.  To prevent edge from becoming too dark, cover with a strip of aluminum foil or a silicone edge ring.  Cool on a rack.  Serve with a generous dollop of whipped cream and bask in the compliments you will get.

  • (optional) Fiori di sicilia is an Italian flavoring that adds a lovely citrusy taste and aroma.  It can be obtained from King Arthur Flour and other cake specialty shops.

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