Pumpkin Pie


Silky filling in a crisp graham cracker crust. And super-easy.
TIME About 1 hour
MAKES One 9-inch pie (about 8 servings)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 ounces graham crackers, broken, or more as needed
5 tablespoons butter, melted, or more as needed
2 eggs
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch salt
1½ cups canned pumpkin purée
1¼ cups half-and-half, cream, or milk


Method
1 To make the crust, heat the oven to 350°F. Combine the sugar and graham cracker pieces in a bowl or food processor and process until they’re finely ground. You should have about 1½ cups; add or remove some if not. Slowly add the butter and pulse a few times until they’re all moistened by the butter (if the crumbs aren’t all moistened, add a little bit more melted butter). Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom and sides of a pie plate.

2 Bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes, just until it begins to brown. Set the pie plate on a rack; the crust will crisp as it cools. Turn the oven up to 375°F.

3 While the crust is baking, use an electric mixer or a whisk to beat the eggs with the sugar, then add the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Add the pumpkin purée, mix, then add the half-and half.

4 Put the pie plate with the crust on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the crust all the way to the top (you might have some left over). Transfer the whole baking sheet to the oven (in case of spillover) and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the mixture shakes like Jell-O but is still quite moist in the center. Cool on a rack until it no longer jiggles, then slice into wedges and serve, or refrigerate for a day or two.

Variations
  • Ice Cream Pie: Dessert in a hurry. Skip the pumpkin custard ingredients. After you make the crust, take a half gallon of ice cream (or frozen yogurt or sorbet) out of the freezer to soften. When the crust is completely cooled, spread the ice cream into the shell. When the pie is half filled, add a sprinkle of nuts, a drizzle of fudge, or some chopped fresh fruit if you like and add the remaining ice cream on top. Cover with plastic and freeze until set.

Tips
  • Parbaking the crust is essential for most pies made with graham cracker crust. The filling is so wet (and the crust so porous) that if you don’t bake the crust first it will turn soggy. Also the timing works pretty well. In the time it takes for the crust to prebake, you can mix the filling and start to warm it on the stove.
  • Since pumpkin pie is a Thanksgiving staple, you should be able to find canned pumpkin purée at any supermarket. Make sure to buy the unsweetened and unspiced variety if you have an option (you’ll add your own).

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