Introduction: Pumpkin Pi With Homemade Crust

Pumpkin Pie is a favorite of mine and so is the excuse to eat it another day of the year: Pi Day!  This pie recipe is complete with homemade crust (a must in my opinion) and holiday embellishments (optional). 

Step 1: Gather Ingredients

For the crust:
2 Cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 Heaping Tablespoons sugar
2/3 Cup shortening
5-7 Tablespoons of cold water
**This is for a double crust to have enough for Pi Day embellishments.  Single crust amounts below. 

For the filling:
1 can pumpkin
12oz can evaporated milk
1 Cup sugar
1Tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 Eggs
1 1/2 Tablespoons melted butter
1/8 Cup molasses

Optional Supplies:
Pastry blender
Pie crust shield
Sous Chef

Single Crust:
1 1/2 Cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Heaping Tablespoons sugar
1/2 Cup shortening
4-5 Tablespoons of cold water

Step 2: Crust

While we're at it, let's preheat the oven to 450. 

Homemade crust just makes a pie.  It takes a little bit extra time, but very worth it.  Once you get the hang of it, you won't go back.  It is good to keep the store-bought unroll-able crusts for emergency baking since they are quicker and easier, though not quite so tasty!

Sift flour, salt, & sugar together.  If you don't have a sifter, you can just stir it.  The sifter just removes and lumps, which in general you don't find in pre-sifted flour these days.  Cut in shortening with pastry blender or fork until pieces are the size of small peas.  Gradually sprinkle the water over a part of the mixture and toss in with the fork.  Continue until all is moistened and form into a ball.  If it falls apart, you can add a little more water, but if it is falling apart, you're on the right track!  That makes for a flakier crust. 

If you made the double crust, split into 2 balls, saving the smaller for the Pi details.  Roll out on a floured surface to about 1/8" thick.  (You may also opt to chill the dough first for 15 minutes before rolling.)  I recommend using a silicone baking mat, cutting mat, etc that you can use to slip the crust into the pan.  I use my baking mats to roll up the crust like the store-bought ones and unroll them into the pan.  You can also put the pan on top of the crust and flip them over together. 

Roll out the remaining dough for your Pi and numbers.  If you happen to have number cookie cutters, awesome!  Otherwise you can free hand cut out the numbers with a sharp knife and toothpick. As you apply the numbers to the edge of the crust, use water on the crust and the back of the numbers if you have trouble getting them to stick.  Cut out a large Pi symbol, and keep separate on a cookie sheet.  You can bake this now if you'd like at 450 for about 10 minutes.  Just keep an eye out to make sure it does not get too dark. 

**If you want to just use the crust for another pie filling, prick the bottom of the crust and bake  at 450 for 10-12 minutes. 

Step 3: Pumpkin Pi Filling

In a medium bowl, sift together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and spices.  Again, if you don't have a sifter, you can just stir it, but it's helpful to get rid of any lumps.  Mix in pumpkin.  Beat eggs separately before adding them to the mix, along with all other ingredients.  Mix until well blended and pour into your prepared crust. 

Bake at 450 for 15 minutes before reducing down to 350 and continue baking for 50 minutes. To prevent the crust from burning, you may decide to use a pie crust shield or tinfoil to cover the crust during the last 30 minutes or so of baking.  This is optional and is not always an issue.  If you are using tinfoil, you might want to figure out your tinfoil before filling the pie and putting it in the oven to prevent burns.  Sorry if this came too late. 

If you didn't bake your center Pi symbol already, make sure to do so at 450 for about 10 minutes.

Step 4: Enjoy!

Marvel at your awesomeness at baking this masterpiece and your cleverness for finding another reason to eat dessert.  Happy Pi Day!

Serious Eats Pi Day Pie Contest

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Serious Eats Pi Day Pie Contest