Classic Pumpkin Pie With No Shrink Pie Crust
Updated Oct 12th 2021
This classic pumpkin pie is creamy, sweet and luscious, with a homemade pie crust. It’s bursting with flavor and tastes delicious in this homemade no shrink pie crust, served with whipped cream or my pecan praline sauce or both. There are so many delicious ways to make pumpkin pie with many flavour options out there but if you are looking for a stand up, never disappoint classic perfect pumpkin pie than look no further. The crust is wonderfully tender and flaky and the filling is gently spiced and so rich and smooth. You will be savouring each bite.
I came across a very interesting recipe recently by Christopher Kimball for a no shrink pie dough and was very excited to try it. I love baking pies and love a classic all butter pie crust but I am always looking for new recipes and extra techniques and tips to make my pie crusts even better. At first I looked at the recipe and was puzzled by the cornstarch mixture in it. Apparently adding this method and mixture to your dough is adopted from Japanese bread-baking. The technique and mixture of the cornstarch and water keeps the dough hydrated throughout the process. Take 3 tablespoons of water and a couple teaspoons of cornstarch, mix it, and stick it in the microwave for 30 seconds until it develops a gel-like texture. Then you chill it and pulse this gel into your piecrust’s dry ingredients before processing in the butter. The result is that the pie dough is well hydrated and easier to handle without being overly sticky. It rolled out like dream and was so easy to handle and shape and fit into my pie pan. It baked up beautifully and its a technique and crust I will defiantly be using over again.
When it comes to dough shrinkage a few things are key whether you are using the mentioned secret ingredient in you pie crust or not. Do not over work the dough. That goes for in the food processor and also while rolling. When rolling you must take care not to be stretching the dough so that means keeping your work surface well floured so that while you roll you can pivot or rotate your dough in between. When placing the dough in the pan, make sure to press it firmly into the base and sides of the pan. While doing so its important again to be careful to not stretch it while doing so. Chilling the crust after it’s in the pan always helps and blind baking or par baking it with pie weights is also helpful.
When baking a pie like this with a custard filling and one that requires blind baking, it is good to seal the bottom of it with egg wash right after it comes out of the oven from blind baking it. This provides a nice barrier between the filling and the crust. Inevitably as crunchy as your pie crust may be, the bottom of it will always absorb some of the filling from a custard filling so don’t sweat it but the egg wash helps reduce the absorption by a little.
The filling is quite simple with a classic blend of spices in it. The texture of this one is so luscious and perfectly balanced, just sweet enough, gently spiced and not too overpowering, and irresistibly silky smooth. I love this filling and I have used it with a variety of crusts. You too can use it with any of your favorite pie crust recipe if you have any you love. Just be mindful that it makes enough for a deep dish pie so if you are using a standard pie plate you may end up with some excess pie filling but have no fear you can make min pies in a muffin tin using some dough scraps from trimming your dough. One thing to remember to help prevent any large cracks in your pie is to make sure to not over bake it. I tend to check it 10 min before its suppose to be done so that it doesn’t over bake. The outer edges will be on the firmer side but the middle should defiantly have some jiggle remaining. Remember the pie will continue to bake in the pie dish for a while longer and that jiggly part will firm up in no time.
So there you have it. Another tasty pumpkin pie recipe out there on the ‘interweb’ for you guys to try. I do strongly recommend serving it with the pecan praline topping. If you don’t want to put it on the pie just serve it on the side along with some whip. It’s such a special way to serve this classic pumpkin pie dessert. Enjoy!
For the no-shrink pie dough
- 3 Tbs. water
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 tsp. granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 10 Tbs. (1¼ sticks) cold salted butter, cubed
- 2 Tbs. sour cream
- 1 egg whisked for egg wash
For the pumpkin pie filling
- 2½ cups pumpkin puree
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ground ginger
- ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 whole eggs plus 2 egg yolks
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 Tbs. bourbon
- 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Pecan Praline Topping (optional)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup very coarsely chopped pecans, some full pecan pieces are fine
For the crust
- In a small microwave-safe bowl, whisk together the water and cornstarch. Microwave until set, 30 seconds, stirring once halfway through. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes. (It will be the consistency of firm jello)
- Once the cornstarch mixture has chilled, in a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt and pulse 1-2 times until combined. Add the chilled cornstarch mixture and pulse until the cornstarch mixture is evenly distributed, about 5 pulses. Then add the butter and sour cream and pulse until the dough comes together and begins to collect around the blade. Empty out onto a clean surface and pat it into a round flat disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375°F. Roll the dough on a well floured surface into a 12-inch round. Drape the dough over rolling pin and transfer to a 9-inch glass pie plate deep dish if possible. Gently ease the dough into the dish by lifting the edges while pressing down into the corners and edges of the dish. Do not stretch the dough while fitting it. Trim the edges, leaving a ½-inch overhang, then tuck the overhang under and then crimp the edges with a fork or fingers, then chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- To blind bake, line the chilled crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or beans or sugar. Bake until the edges are light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake until the bottom of the crust just begins to color, another 5 to 7 minutes. Brush the bottom and top edges of pie with egg wash as soon as it comes out of the oven. Let cool on a wire rack before filling.
For The Pumpkin Pie Filling
- In the meantime, make the filling: In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar until incorporated and glossy. Add the flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and whisk until smooth. Add the eggs and egg yolks and whisk until combined. Add the cream, bourbon, lemon juice and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Pour pumpkin pie mixture into crust. Bake the pie until the center is almost set, about 55-60 minutes give or take. A small part of the center will be wobbly. After 25 minutes of baking, be sure to cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil or use a pie crust shield to prevent the edges from getting too brown. Check for doneness at minute 50, and then 55, and then 60, until done to prevent over baking. *
- Once done, transfer the pie to a wire rack and allow to cool completely for at least 3 hours. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Slice and enjoy with whip cream or the pecan praline topping (below) or both.
For the Pecan Praline Topping
- In a medium saucepan combine brown sugar, butter, cream, and salt over medium-low heat.
- Bring to a simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla, pecans, and cranberries, if desired. Allow to cool slightly before serving with the pie.
- The cook time for this recipe may vary depending on your oven and also what kind of pie dish you are using. If you use a tin pie plate, it takes just about an hour to bake. If you are baking with a larger and thicker ceramic one you may need to bake it longer - up to 15 min more.
- Feel free to use pumpkin pie spice in place of the extra spices in the pie. I usually use 1½ teaspoons of ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice or more according to taste.
- If you prefer to use evaporated milk in the pumpkin pie filling instead of heavy cream you can
Adapted from Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen