pumpkin pie time - best crust to make and do I prebake it?
Its that time of year. . . . I am making the pumpkin pie.
Debating what type of crust to make - all butter, all crisco, all lard, all oil or a mix of somesort?
Also, should I prebake the bottom crust to brown it and maintain flakiness?
mmmmmm....can't wait to hear what others do for their pumpkin pie. Love it!
I really like my crusts to have half butter and half shortening, they get flaky enough in that manner.
For pumpkin pie crusts, I have discovered that adding crushed nuts to the crusts makes for an excellent additional taste. Pecans work well, but really you can use whatever nut you like. I think almonds would be grand too. I have baked pumpkin pies with a struesel topping too that came out delicious.
Don't prebake it. Pumpkin pies are an old tradition in my family, and we don't prebake it, though you can certainly make the dough and shape it in the pan, then wrap it well and freeze it. This is what my Grandma, 88 and still going strong, does.
Use a solid fat. Don't use oil. I've had it, it gives a mealy crust rather than flaky. If you're going to make something as yummy as pumpkin pie, go all the way and make it really good.
I've never heard the nuts idea but it makes sense--the fat helps make the crust short, and the nuts themselves would be less prone than flour to absorb moisture and get soggy. And the subtle addition of flavor would be great too. A lot of nuts would work, but I would add one caveat--not peanut.
I make pumpkin pies for my friend who is allergic to wheat, with a crust made from pecan crumbs, a bit of cornmeal, brown sugar and melted butter. I usually bake it for 10 minutes or so before adding the filling but that's probably not necessary. It's a really good and very easy crust and I actually prefer it to normal pie crust.
I also add a lot of dark brown (Grade B) maple syrup to the pumpkin instead of sugar and sometimes I substitute sweet potatoes for pumpkin and once I even used mashed cooked carrots as the base for the filling which worked pretty well although it was rather coarse in texture.
I am firmly in the "prebake" camp. I make an all-butter crust, freeze it briefly, then prebake. My favorite filling is from the recipe for the "ultimate" pumpkin pie from Epicurious.com. For what it's worth, Cooks Illustrated recommends prebaking a butter crust and making a hot filling, then pouring the hot filling into the hot crust. I gave that recipe a try, but prefer the other recipe in my own butter crust.
A good pie crust recipe is Rose Levy Beranbaum's cream cheese pie crust. There's a recent thread about pies on the board. Her recipe is in it.