I prefer a pumpkin pie that is subtle in its spice and sugar; with a creamy and tender filling, against a crust that has both flake and crunch. I’m lucky to have a friend in Nikole Herriott (of Herriott Grace), who likes that kind of pie as much as I do, so we paired her photographs with my recipe for one of our favorite versions.
We used the pastry dough from my upcoming cookbook, and a filling inspired by the spices used in Indian spiced tea, masala chai. The combination is only a bit of a departure from traditional pumpkin pie, but enough of a change to count. Adding crème fraîche to the roasted pumpkin keeps things velvety, and straightens up the sweetness.
I usually serve pumpkin pie with some whipped cream that's folded through with just enough maple syrup to take off its edge, but If in the mood for true gilding, I’ll serve it with a Black Tea Caramel (recipe on my site as of 17 November) -- heady with Darjeeling and cardamom, it completes the whole masala chai thing the pie has started.
Homemade pumpkin purée, actually one made with hubbard squash, is our preference. (For the amount needed here, two should suffice.) But homemade purées can be wetter than store-bought. The 15 ounces should be just shy of 2 cups. If your weight measure is more than this volume, either place the purée in a fine mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter and drain, or cook it longer when heating, until it's thick -- it might take 10 minutes or more.
If there is any concern about the amount of filling -- if it’s creeping up to the point where it might overflow -- bake any extra in a buttered ramekin alongside the pie. As soon as it swells in the center, it’s done, and then there’s the bonus of a cook’s (or in this case, baker’s) treat. —Tara O'Brady