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National Pumpkin Pie Day

The fact that National Pumpkin Pie Day is on Dec. 25, Christmas Day, is logical given that pumpkin pie is often the holiday pie of choice for Christmas dinner’s dessert. It’s also the tail end of pumpkin pie eating season, so to speak. Most Americans begin enjoying pumpkin pie in earnest around Halloween when all the pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns that are everywhere remind everyone how much they love a good piece of pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin pie eating reaches an all-time high at Thanksgiving when the pie from this simple orange vegetable takes its place of honor as the traditional dessert after the Thanksgiving feast.  The Pilgrims most likely had stewed pumpkins at their feast instead of the pumpkin custard pie with crust that we have today, but that fact doesn’t diminish it’s place as the most popular traditional Thanksgiving dessert. At Christmas, pumpkin pie doesn’t reach Thanksgiving heights, but it still makes a respectable showing as one of the favorite desserts following holiday dinners.

Below is Paula Deen’s recipe for pumpkin pie from the Food Network’s website. Here is also a link to a recipe on our own website for pumpkin pie with a twist: Pecan Pumpkin pie by Chef Nancy Pringle. You can find it at http://thanksgiving.holidayscentral.com/food-and-recipes/thanksgiving-pecan-pumpkin-pie#.UIr6w4b9y34.

 

Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin, mashed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, optional
  • 1 piece pre-made pie dough
  • Whipped cream, for topping

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place 1 piece of pre-made pie dough down into a (9-inch) pie pan and press down along the bottom and all sides. Pinch and crimp the edges together to make a pretty pattern. Put the pie shell back into the freezer for 1 hour to firm up. Fit a piece of aluminum foil to cover the inside of the shell completely. Fill the shell up to the edges with pie weights or dried beans (about 2 pounds) and place it in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the foil and pie weights and bake for another 10 minutes or until the crust is dried out and beginning to color.

For the filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined. Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined. Add the eggs mixed with the yolks, half-and-half, and melted butter, and beat until combined. Finally, add the vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger, if using, and beat until incorporated.

Pour the filling into the warm prepared pie crust and bake for 50 minutes, or until the center is set. Place the pie on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Cut into slices and top each piece with a generous amount of whipped cream.

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