I tried this recipe from Milk Street last year and it was a big hit at Thanksgiving. Using a tart pan produces an elegant presentation for traditional pumpkin pie. They started with their fuss-free pie dough, made easily in the food processor, and it can be prepped and frozen for up to a month ahead. For their filling, they use canned 100% pumpkin puree, but they intensified the flavor by giving it a quick sauté with dark brown sugar. This simmers off excess moisture and lends caramel flavors to the mixture. The addition of crème fraîche gave the filling tang and richness that other dairy products couldn’t match. Serve with your favorite whipped cream topping.
For the pie dough:
3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (159 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
⅛ teaspoon table salt
10 tablespoons salted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces, chilled
2 tablespoons sour cream
- In a small bowl, whisk together the water and cornstarch. Microwave until set, 30 to 40 seconds, stirring halfway through. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Once the cornstarch mixture has chilled, in a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt and process until mixed, about 5 seconds. Add the chilled cornstarch mixture and pulse until uniformly ground, about 5 pulses. Add the butter and sour cream and process until the dough comes together and begins to collect around the blade, 20 to 30 seconds. Pat the dough into a 4-inch disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 48 hours.
- When ready to bake, heat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the middle position. On a well-floured counter, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle.
- Hang the dough over the rolling pin and transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Gently ease the dough into the pan by lifting the edges while pressing down into the corners of the pan. Trim the edges, leaving a ½-inch overhang, then tuck the overhang under itself so the dough is flush with the rim of the pan. Crimp the dough with your fingers or the tines of a fork, then chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Line the chilled shell with foil and fill with pie weights, then place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake on the lowest rack until the edges are light golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Remove the foil and weights, then bake until the bottom just begins to color, another 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and reduce to 325°F.
For the Pumpkin filling:
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
149 grams (¾ cup packed) dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
¼ cup bourbon
8 -ounce container (1 cup) crème fraîche
3 large eggs
⅛ teaspoon table salt
- While the crust bakes, in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, combine the pumpkin, sugar, and pumpkin spice. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thickened, dark and leaves a film on the pan, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a 2-cup liquid measuring cup (the yield should be 1½ cups). Add the bourbon to the skillet, set over medium-low and scrape up any browned bits; add to the pumpkin mixture.
- In a food processor, combine the pumpkin-bourbon mixture and crème fraiche; process until smooth. Scrape down the bowl, add the eggs and salt, then process until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Pour the filling into the warm crust, smoothing the top. Bake on the baking sheet on the middle rack until the edges start to puff and crack and the center sets, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool the tart in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Remove the outer metal ring to serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.