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Asha's Perfect Pumpkin Pie

Recipe by: Asha Loupy

Makes: One 9-inch pie

Asha's Perfect Pumpkin Pie
Photo by:  

Melati Citrawireja

Say hello to one of the best pumpkin pies on earth. Yes, we stand behind that statement! After many, many tests, we landed on a pumpkin pie that is silky, luscious, and highly spiced. Made with our house Pumpkin Spice Masala, the filling gets additional warmth from jaggery, a splash of maple syrup, plenty of Kaveri Vanilla extract, and a nip of bourbon. There are a few tips we learned along the way, let's dig in.

Is there a trick to a shiny, crack-free pumpkin pie? Yes, and no. My biggest tip is to take the pumpkin pie out before you think it's fully set. The center should still be jiggly — we're talking about 3½-inch diameter — when you take the pie out of the oven. The pie has a lot of heat and will carryover cook for a few hours while it cools to room temperature. The second tip is to make sure the pie isn't going from a very hot oven to a very cold place (like the garage with other Thanksgiving preparation) — let the pie cool next to the stove where it is warmer for a couple hours before moving it to a cooler place. And, lastly, pumpkin pie needs to be chilled completely. Make the pie a day or two ahead of time and refrigerate it once it comes to room temperature. But, let me tell you, you can do all those things and your pie could still crack because pumpkin pies are notoriously fickle. Don't worry if it does, just cover it with some swooshes of whipped cream and chopped nuts. It will still taste absolutely dreamy!

Evaporated milk or cream? If you are looking for a richer, more custardy taste, you can substitute 1 cup heavy whipping cream and ¼ cup whole milk for the evaporated milk. The latter has about 6.5% butterfat content, which results in a leaner (but still luscious and silky!), more squash-forward pie. Heavy whipping cream, on the other hand, has between 36% and 40%, so the finished pie is — you guessed it — more cream-forward. Each one is delicious in its own right, it just depends on what you are looking for.

Want to make your own blend with whole spices? You can find a recipe for pumpkin spice mix here (it's not the same recipe as our house Pumpkin Spice Masala, but it is still pretty damn good).

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For the crust
  • 1¼ cups (163g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or ¾ teaspoon Surya Salt 
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vodka
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons ice water
For the filling
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin purée (we like Libby's)
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1½ tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon or brandy (optional)
  • 1½ teaspoons Kaveri Vanilla Extract or good-quality vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup Madhur Jaggery or light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 tablespoon Pumpkin Spice Masala
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt or ½ teaspoon Surya Salt
Optional garnishes
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream
  • Toasted, chopped pistachios or pecans


For the dough
  1. Combine the flour, granulated white sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the cold butter into cubes and add it to the flour mixture. Using your fingers, rub the cubes of butter into the flour until the butter is the size of chickpeas. 
  2. Add the vodka and 3 tablespoons ice water to the flour-butter mixture and gently stir until a very shaggy dough starts to form. Squeeze the dough together to form a ball. (If the dough seems dry, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until it comes together.) 
  3. Place the dough ball on a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap and then place another piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap on top and roll the dough into a 10-inch round. Remove the top piece of parchment and fold the dough in half lengthwise and then in half again crosswise (this is creating lots of flaky layers!). Form the dough back into a disk, wrap completely, and chill for 1 hour.
For assembly and filling
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface, roll into a 12" round (about ⅛" thick), and transfer to a 9" pie plate. Trim the dough so there is about 1" overhang, then fold the overhand under to create the crust, and crimp using your fingers or a fork. Prick the bottle of the pie crust with a fork a few times, line with aluminum foil and weigh down with pie weights (or rice or dried beans), and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue to bake until light golden, 12 to 16 minutes more.
  3. While the pie crust is blind baking, make the filling. Combine all the filling ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Reduce the oven to 325°F. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet, pour the filling into the blind-baked crust, and bake until the outside is set and the center is set but still pretty wobbly (we're talking about 3½-inch diameter of jiggle), 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove or next to it for a couple hours (the gradual shift in temperature will help reduce crackage). Once the pie reaches room temperature, cover, and transfer to the refrigerator to chill completely. (For best results, chill overnight.)
  5. To serve, remove from the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with lightly sweetened whipped cream and chopped pistachios or pecans, if desired.

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