The key to this pie is timing. Start preparing the filling when you put the pie shell in the oven. The pie may be served slightly warm, chilled, or at room temperature, which is our preference. The pie is fine by itself but much improved by a dollop of the brandied whipped cream.
1 recipe American Pie Dough for Prebaked Pie Shell, prepared through step 4
2 cups (16 ounces) plain canned pumpkin puree
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup milk
4 large eggs
Brandied Whipped Cream
1-1/3 cups heavy cream, chilled
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon brandy
1. Adjust oven rack to lower and middle positions and heat oven to 375 degrees. Partially bake pie shell on middle rack as directed in step 5 of American pie Dough for Prebaked Pie Shell recipe.
2. Meanwhile, process pumpkin puree, brown sugar, spices, and salt in food processor fitted with steel blade for 1 minute. Transfer pumpkin mixture to 3-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan; bring it to a sputtering simmer over medium-high heat. Cook pumpkin, stirring constantly, until thick and shiny, about 5 minutes.
3. As soon as pie shell comes out of oven, increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. Whisk heavy cream and milk into pumpkin and bring to a bare simmer. Process eggs in food processor until whites and yolks are mixed, about 5 seconds. With motor running, slowly pour about half of the hot pumpkin mixture through feed tube. Stop machine and scrape in remaining pumpkin. Process 30 seconds longer.
4. Immediately pour warm filling into hot pie shell. Ladle any excess filling into pie after it has baked for 5 minutes or so, by this time filling will have settled. Bake pie on lower rack until filling is puffed and dry looking and lightly cracked around edges, and center wiggles like gelatin when pie is gently shaken, about 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour.
5. For the whipped cream: When ready to serve the pie, beat cream and sugar in electric mixer bowl at medium speed to soft peaks; add brandy. Beat to stiff peaks. Accompany each wedge of pie with a dollop of whipped cream.
From Americas Test Kitchens.