I’ll keep the intro short on this one, folks. A couple months ago, I made this pie for the first time.
My dad, the world’s nit-pickiest pie eater, with over forty years’ pie eating experience, named it the best pumpkin pie he’d ever had.
It was there on Thanksgiving, and in all likelihood will be on the dessert table at Christmas. Enough said.
It’s my belief that the first step to any good pumpkin pie is to select your pumpkin. We chose this weird thing right here:
We’re sad to admit that we have no idea what this thing is called or whether you can get it at your local grocery store (our guess is…probably not). We buy it at the local wet market here in Beijing, and it’s absolutely the best baking “pumpkin” we’ve ever used. It’s super sweet, REALLY orange, and very easy to work with.
That being said, feel free to use a butternut squash or a sugar pumpkin. You COULD sneak off to your local mega-mart and furtively toss a can of Libby’s into your shopping cart as well. But we’re not sure it would taste quite as good.
Some folks will tell you to roast the pumpkin on a baking sheet. Ehhhhh… Last time we tried that, the puree wasn’t quite as smooth as we’d hoped it’d be.
Instead, we opt for the steaming method, which always yields perfect puree.
So just cut up your pumpkin, scoop out the seeds, remove the skin, and cut it into big chunks.
Then steam the chunks for about twenty minutes. We just put them all in a heat proof bowl and put it in our multi-level metal steaming contraption, which works super well. But feel free to steam them in whatever method you use in your house.
Then, once they’re really soft, throw all the pumpkin into a food processor or blender and puree it.
Alternatively, the pumpkin is so soft that you could just dump it into a big mixing bowl and whisk for a couple minutes until smooth.
When the puree is ready to go, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Now you can make your filling.
Whisk together the pumpkin and butter until well combined. Then whisk in the brown sugar, milk, eggs, spices, and vanilla until very well combined.
It’s good to have everything at room temperature. As you can see, if your butter is even slightly too cold, it’ll turn up lumpy. You’ll do better than I did, I’m sure.
Now, you can take your pie crust out of the fridge, where it’s been patiently waiting for this very moment. Let it sit at room temperature for a couple minutes to soften slightly.
Then throw it onto a floured surface. I like to use a big wooden cutting board. I find that it’s the best kind of surface to prevent sticking.
Roll out the pie dough into a lovely circle. Best way to do this is to turn it a quarter turn left every time you roll. Thank you, Food Network for that particular piece of wisdom.
Press the dough into your pie pan and flute/crimp the edges. Take your egg wash and lightly brush the edges of the crust. Pour in the filling.
In my younger, infinitely more naive days, I never used to bother with egg wash. But see that shiny crust? It really does make a difference in the end.
Bake the pie for 40 minutes. While that’s happening, make the streusel by putting all the streusel ingredients into a bowl and smushing it all together with your fingers. Not a spoon, not a spatula. Your hands. After those first 40 minutes are up, take the pie out of the oven. Take a moment to ooh and ahh.
Then, top the pie with the pecan streusel. Another round of ooh-ing and ahh-ing is permitted.
Put the pie back in the oven and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the pie is set (usually when a butter knife inserted in the middle comes out clean).
Let it cool completely before serving. See that golden brown and still-shiny crust action? And the sweet, slightly toasty pecans? And the glossy, custardy pumpkin filling? Get thee to a kitchen and make this pie.
Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Streusel
- 1 recipe single crust pie dough
- 1 egg (beaten with a tablespoon of water)
FOR THE FILLING:
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons softened butter
- 2/3-3/4 cup brown sugar (depending on sweetness of the pumpkin)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
FOR THE STREUSEL:
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2/3 cup chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon oil
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Start by making the filling. Whisk together the pumpkin and butter until well combined. Then whisk in the brown sugar, milk, eggs, spices, and vanilla until very well combined.
- Roll out the pie dough and shape into the pie pan. Brush the edges with egg wash. Pour in the filling. Bake the pie for 40 minutes.
- While it’s baking, make the streusel by mixing everything together with your hands. After 40 minutes of baking, spoon the streusel on top of the pie and bake another 20 minutes…until the pie is set…when a butter knife into the pie comes out clean.