I have a number of problems with most of the pumpkin pie out there, not the least of which is that canned pumpkin tastes, well, like canned pumpkin. It's the same reason I don't eat canned peas or green beans. Canning vegetables just changes their flavor and texture in a way I can't enjoy. I also often find other's pie too sweet. I don't like it savory, mind you, but I don't want it to be syrupy either. This started out as the recipe from the back of a can of Libby's pumpkin, I think. Then my mom tweaked it, and then I tweaked it even more. I really like the balance. I use the frozen pumpkin puree I put up every fall. The frozen, not canned, puree gives this pie a fresh flavor that can't be beat. To me, it's the perfect pumpkin pie.
Yield: one 9-inch pie
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (preferably not canned)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp dry ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk (one 12 oz. can) or light cream
Prepare a 9-inch pie shell. If you want to be sure your pie shell does not get gummy (see note 2 below), blind bake it first in a 425° F oven for 10-15 minutes lined with a little foil and weighted down with pie weights or beans. Let pie shell cool completely before filling. Preheat the oven to 425° F. In a bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add the remaining ingredients and stir gently to mix. If you mix too aggressively, you will end up with foam on the top of your pie. It doesn't taste bad, your pie just won't be as pretty. Pour the filling into a prepared pie shell. Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350° F and bake for another 45 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. Serve well chilled.
NOTE 1: I also like to make this as a custard, where I simply make the filling and bake it in a dish without a crust. Use a 9x9 inch glass/porcelain baking dish or similar. Otherwise, make exactly the same as for a pie. It's a great, easy, treat to make year round!
NOTE 2: The picture above shows a pie crust that I did not blind bake first. I was in a hurry, so I skipped that step. See how the crust looks like it has two layers? The inside layer here was chewy and not flaky at all like the outside half. The pie still tastes good, but the crust is not quite as delicious. I strongly recommend blind baking first, if you have the time and patience. If you do go this route, be prepared to lightly cover the edge crust with foil as it may begin to darken too much toward the end of the baking period.