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Thanksgiving Survival Guide

The Pumpkin Pie

November 18, 1998

Pumpkin pie is all about sugar, spice and other things that are nice. Balancing the amount of spice is the trick to good pumpkin pie. Several years ago, Times Test Kitchen cook Mayi Brady came up with what we believe to be the perfect pumpkin pie. Actually, it has a little more sugar than she originally wanted, but you may notice that it doesn't have any cloves. Brady dislikes them and believes they overpower the rest of the filling. If you like pumpkin pie on the spicy side, add a pinch of ground cloves or two. But don't blame Brady if you can't taste the pumpkin. Make the crust and filling two days ahead. Then assemble and bake the pie the day before Thanksgiving so the oven is free to roast the turkey.

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PUMPKIN PIE

Total Preparation Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Active Work Time: 20 minutes

CRUST

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter, cut into 6 pieces

1 egg yolk

6 tablespoons water

* To make by hand: Combine flour, sugar and salt in work bowl and stir to combine. Add butter and cut into dry ingredients with fork or pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg yolk and stir to combine. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring with fork in between, until dough forms ball. Wrap and refrigerate 20 minutes.

* To make in food processor: Pulse flour, sugar and salt to combine. Add butter and pulse 4 or 5 times until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg yolk and pulse to mix. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing briefly between, until dough forms ball. Wrap and refrigerate 20 minutes.

* Turn dough out on floured work surface, roll flat and lay over 9-inch pie plate. Pat dough into plate, then trim and crimp edges. Chill 20 to 30 minutes.

FILLING

1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups half-and-half

4 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons melted butter

* Combine pumpkin, brown and granulated sugars, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt in mixing bowl. Beat until well-blended. Add half-and-half, eggs and butter, and stir to combine.

Pour filling into prepared pie shell. Bake at 425 degrees 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 35 to 40 minutes more, until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool to room temperature or chill before serving.

8 to 10 servings. Each of 10 servings: 401 calories; 292 mg sodium; 193 mg cholesterol; 22 grams fat; 44 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams protein; 0.81 gram fiber.

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