Meet the pumpkin pie that will NEVER, ever crack. This pumpkin version of one of my favorite pies, sugar pie, uses flour to set the filling, which means that even if it gets a smidge overbaked, the top is perfectly smooth. I like to use the smooth surface as an opportunity for an easy, but particular beautiful décor technique. I lay a doily over the surface and dust the top with powdered sugar, leaving a gorgeous pattern behind when you lift the doily away. Best of all, this pie couldn’t be easier to make—just mix all the filling ingredients to combine and dump in a par-baked pie crust, then bake again until the filling is set. (For those who are curious, the traditional version of this pie is made flavored with vanilla and nutmeg, and is one of my favorite pies of all time—but it’s wonderfully adaptable to other flavors, like pumpkin!) Adapted from my cookbook, The Fearless Baker, available now.
Lightly flour the work surface. Roll out the dough into a circle 1/4-inch thick. To transfer the dough to the pie pan, roll the dough up onto the rolling pin, starting at the far edge of the round. With the pie pan in front of you, start at the edge closest to you and gently unfurl the dough into the pan. Press gently to make sure the crust settles all the way to the bottom, but be careful not to poke any holes in the dough. Trim away the excess dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang all around. Chill in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes, or freeze for 5 to 10 minutes.
Tuck the excess dough under at the edges, pressing lightly to help “seal” the dough to the outer rim of the pie pan. Return the dough to the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes or to the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes. Crimp the edges of the piecrust as desired.
Preheat the oven to 425° F, preferably with a baking stone on the bottom rack. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Cut a square of parchment slightly larger than the pie pan. Place the parchment over the crust and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the crust on the stone or bottom rack just until the edges barely begin to turn golden, 15-20 minutes.
Remove the parchment and weights and return the pan to the oven for another 2-4 minutes, just until slightly more golden around the edges and the base looks dry. Let cool completely.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar and all purpose flour to combine. Add the brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt and mix to combine.
Gradually whisk in the heavy cream and milk. Stir in the vanilla bean scrapings. Finally, whisk in the pumpkin puree.
Pour the pumpkin mixture into the cooled par-baked crust. Lower the oven to 375° F. Return the pie to the oven and bake until the crust is deeply golden and the filling appears set around the edges, but still slightly jiggly in the center 28-32 minutes.
Let the pie cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar to serve (I do this by placing a doily over the pie and dusting with powdered sugar, then lifting the doily up to reveal the pattern.) You can use any kind of stencil, or just wing it!
I always carry three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's pie. My first cookbook, The Fearless Baker, is out on October 24, 2017.