1 9-inch unbaked pie crust
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Prep. Time → 20 min
Cook Time → 160 min
1. Make the pumpkin purée: Cut a medium-small sugar pumpkin in half. Scrape out the insides (reserving the pumpkins seeds to toast) and discard. Line a baking sheet with Silpat or foil. Place the pumpkin halves cut side down on the lined baking sheet and bake at 350°F until a fork can easily pierce them, about an hour to an hour and a half. Remove from oven, let cool, scoop out the pulp.
2. Prep the pie crust: Arrange a rack in the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 425°F. Roll out the pie crust and transfer it to a 9-inch pie pan. Crimp the edges. Chill for 30 minutes while the oven heats.
Blind bake the crust: Line the pie crust with parchment or aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the edges just start to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the weights and lining, and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and keep near the stove.
Prepare the purée: Combine the pumpkin purée, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, spices, and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment or blender. Blend until the brown sugar is completely mixed in and the purée looks glossy.
3. Cook the purée mixture: Transfer the puree to a saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Stir frequently until you see wisps of steam rising from the purée, then stir continuously until the mixture is very steamy and "plops" when you pause for a second. The mixture will also start to smell like spices and cooked pumpkin. Cook for no more than 5 minutes.
4. Whisk in the milk and eggs: Remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in the milk and cream. To warm the eggs and ensure that they don't cook when you add them to the pumpkin mixture, whisk them together in a separate bowl, then whisk in a few spoonfuls of the warm pumpkin mixture. Slowly whisk the eggs into the saucepan with the pumpkin mixture. Whisk in the vanilla.
5. Fill the pie crust: Place the partially baked pie crust on a parchment-lined baking sheet and set it near the stove. Carefully pour the warm pumpkin mixture into the warm pie crust. If it looks like there's too much filling for the crust, stop when you come close to the edge of the crust.
6. Bake the pie: Carefully transfer the baking sheet with the pie to the oven and immediately turn down the heat to 375°F. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes — until the pie is puffed in the middle, but still jiggles when you gently shake the pan. You'll also see small cracks form in the outer part of the pie and some bubbling around the edge. Check the pie every 15 minutes or so and cover the crust with a ring of foil when it becomes deep brown.
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