Pumpkin pie is a seasonal treat that fills the shelves of grocery stores across America every time Thanksgiving comes around. While these are perfectly good pies, there is a truly special flavor that stems from the tender love and care given to homemade pumpkin pie that no grocery store could ever recreate. While a Costco pie is perfect to leave in the breakroom for the workplace potluck, bust out this recipe when you’re in the company of the people who make you feel truly thankful.
Why make pumpkin pie from scratch?
I’ll be honest, you cannot beat Costco prices. They have an army of workers systematically and efficiently making pies en masse with industrial grade equipment. They buy in bulk, they bake in bulk, and they sell them practically at a loss to get you in the door.
While making a pie completely from scratch is a bit more expensive, (15 cents per ounce vs 12 cents per ounce at costco) I think the taste is absolutely worth the price and effort. Thanksgiving is only once a year, might as well go all out. Pumpkin pie is best eaten cold so it’s the best dessert for making one or two days in advance. If you’re really stretched thin then you can buy a premade pie crust and just make the pumpkin filling. That makes the recipe quite literally easy as pie!
Read this if you’re making pie crust for the first time!
First things first I applaud you for taking the leap. Your efforts will hopefully be rewarded with a buttery and crumbly crust. It is a little tricky but follow some general guidelines and you’ll be right as rain.
- Keep everything cold.
A flaky and soft pie crust hinges on (mostly) one thing: keeping the butter solid. Melted butter will result in a harder texture. So avoid excessive contact with your hands, especially when shaping and rolling the dough.
- Don’t add too much moisture.
Pie dough is generally much more dry and crumbly than other doughs. So it’s very tempting for beginners to add additional moisture. Once the ingredients are initially combined it’s normal for the dough to feel like it cannot possibly be rolled out as one piece. Do not worry, as it rests in the fridge the flour will hydrate further and it will be ready for rolling.
- Do not overwork the dough
Part of the reason we keep everything cold is to hinder the development of gluten. Gluten are structural proteins found in flour that give bread its chewy texture. Gluten is developed by working the dough, which happens when we mix the dough, shape it into a disc, and roll it out. It’s important to only do the bare minimum required work to complete these steps.
- Do not take any of this too seriously
A little melting in the butter, and extra tablespoon of water, or a little too much handling will not ruin your dough. It’ll be a bit less soft, but it’ll still turn out delicious as long as you don’t go out of your way to sabotage yourself by using hot microwaved butter, doubling the water, and chucking all of this in a stand mixer to run for a few minutes. It’s still good to keep these tips in the back of your mind, but there’s no need to fuss if something isn’t perfect. You know what they say, shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars. (Though technically stars are millions of miles further away from us than the moon, but that’s neither here nor there).
Better than Costco Pumpkin Pie
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened Condensed Milk
1 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
- Pie crust
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (190 grams)
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
5 tablespoons ice water
Making the pie crust. (skip if using store bought crust)
- Cut the butter into small cubes and place in the fridge to keep cold. Combine flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Whisk together to combine dry ingredients. Add the butter to the bowl. Use a fork or pastry cutter to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is evenly dispersed into tiny bits.
- Slowly sprinkle the ice water into the flour one tablespoon at a time. Mix constantly to evenly disperse the moisture. If needed add one or two additional tablespoons max. The dough should come together when pressed, but still crumble easily. Press the dough together into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Let rest in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Lightly flour a clean flat surface and lay out the dough onto it. Let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes to make rolling easier. Roll out into a circle about twelve inches in diameter. Using the rolling pin, drape the dough into a pie plate. Gently press the dough into the edges of the pan. Trim off excess dough from the pie pan and crimp the edges. Place the pie crust in the freezer for 15 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375F
- Remove the crust from the freezer and poke a few holes with a fork. Line with parchment paper or foil. Then fill with pie weights. Blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Making the pie
- Preheat the oven to 350 F
- In a large bowl, add 1 large egg and 2 egg yolks. Add the pumpkin puree, condensed milk, spices, and salt. Whisk until fully combined and homogenous.
- Carefully pour the filling into the pie crust. Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes. The center should wobble when tapped on the side. Remove and let cool on a wire rack completely. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge and let chill for at least an hour before serving.