Pumpkin Pie 101
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Makes: one 9-inch pie crust
T butter, softened
cup (4 oz) cream cheese, softened
cups all-purpose flour
T ice-cold water
Along with kitchen basics, you’ll also need either a food processor or a hand-held pastry blender, a rolling pin, a 9″ glass pie plate, and a metal pie ring (a pie ring doesn’t cost much, and I wouldn’t be without one).
(Note: If you don’t have a food processor, use a pastry blender instead and follow the instructions below.)
- Place butter and cream cheese in a small bowl; mix well. Form into a log and wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours, or overnight.
- Cut the roll into small pieces. (Note: You will need to work quickly when making your dough. It’s important that the butter/cream cheese combo stays chilled in the process.)
- In a food processor, pulse flour and salt for 10 seconds. Add the butter/cream cheese cubes and pulse until coarse crumbs form, about 10 seconds.
- With food processor running, add enough water slowly through the top opening until dough holds together in a ball without being sticky, about 20–30 seconds.
- (a) Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out, beginning at the center and pushing it towards the edges. (b) Before the dough is completely rolled out, dust the top with flour and flip it over so that it doesn’t stick to your surface. If the edges crack, just pinch them back together and roll over them lightly with the rolling pin. (c) Roll dough out to about 2″ larger than the size of your pie plate.
- Fold dough in half and carefully transfer it from your surface into a 9″ glass pie plate.
- Unfold the dough and form it lightly into the pie plate without stretching it; you should have rough edges hanging over the pie plate all around.
- Run a knife around the outer edge of the pie plate to trim off the rough edges. Use trimmed edges for Pie Crust Snacks, left. (Note: If using either the Edged or Crimped methods (see below), don’t trim). Dust the bottom of the crust lightly with flour to help seal it from absorbing the liquid filling before it is baked.
- Put the pie plate directly in front of you, and starting at the bottom of the plate (closest to you), put your index finger and middle finger from your right hand on the edge of the crust, spread apart about the width of your thumb, then take the thumb of your left hand and come into the “v” that your fingers form from the top, grab the edge of the crust, and pull it back toward the center of the pie to flute it (you’re “catching” the edge with your thumb). After you’ve made a few flutes like this, you’ll turn the pie plate clockwise so that you’re always working at the bottom of the circle. Place your crust in the refrigerator while you assemble the filling (coming next week).
- Clean-up tip: Use a stiff spatula or dough cutter/scraper to scrape up dough and flour before you wipe up with a wet cloth.
Alternate Edging Methods
In the Pie Crust directions above, I described how to flute your pie like my mother did. If you want to try another method, here are three more.
Scalloped Trim crust as in the fluting method (step 8), put the pie plate directly in front of you, and starting at the bottom of the plate (closest to you), put your index finger and middle finger from your right hand on the edge of the crust, spread apart about the width of your thumb, then take the thumb of your left hand and come into the “v” that your fingers form from the top. Push in with your fingers and push out with your thumb to create an indentation, or “scallop.” After you’ve made a few scallops like this, you’ll turn the pie plate clockwise so that you’re always working at the bottom of the circle.
The methods below are easiest and don’t require trimming:
Edged: Simply fold under excess crust and pinch dough together, creating a thick edge, working your way around the crust clockwise.
Crimped: Simply fold under excess crust and pinch dough together, creating a thick edge, then press the tip of a fork into the edge, working your way around the crust clockwise.