Last year, when I riffed on the pumpkin pie recipe from Nancie McDermott's book Southern Pies, I believe I wrote something like: "[This is] the best [expletive] pumpkin pie I've ever made." And it was. And it is.
So this year, I'm offering you another riff on Nancie's pumpkin pie, but this time more of it, to feed a crowd, and to guarantee plenty of leftovers. This Thanksgiving, after the last guests leave, and you're stuck washing dishes, and you're cursing the decision to use the fancy cloth napkins because, of course, now you're going to have to iron them, you can drown your sorrows in a giant square of pumpkin pie because there will be extra just for you.
This pumpkin pie gets baked in a 9 x 13 inch rectangular baking pan. It's a pan you probably own and use to make large birthday cakes, or brownies, or lemon bars, or bread pudding. (Here's mine.)
When you eat your second slice -- after everyone has gone to bed and your hands are still sudsy and you're scraping dried gravy off the chipped wedding china -- you will give thanks. Not just for family, and friends, and good health, but for pumpkins, and Nancie, and pie in all shapes and sizes.
I, for one, am thankful for each and every one of you.
May next week go smoothly for you and your loved ones.
Recipe for Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie, rectangular version for a crowd (inspired by Nancie McDermott)
These may look like bars, or squares, or trapezoids (if your knife skills are poor), but it's pumpkin pie through-and-through. I encourage you to make it one day ahead of serving. After cooling completely, store in the refrigerator, covered.
Makes one 13 x 9 inch rectangular pie, serving 16-ish people
Your favorite pie dough for two 9-inch, single crust pies, unbaked
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon salt
One 28-ounce can pure pumpkin
1-1/4 cups evaporated milk (from one 12-ounce can -- you'll have a bit left over)
4 large eggs, beaten
Scant 1/2 cup good honey
Freshly whipped heavy cream with a pinch of nutmeg, for serving
Preheat the oven to 450 with the rack in the lowest position.
Line the bottom and sides of a 13 x 9 inch metal baking pan with pie dough. (Use a rolling pin, and roll your dough. Do half at a time if it's unwieldy.) Trim any overhang. Refrigerate while you make the filling.
In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, spices, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk the pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, and honey. Whisk in the sugar mixture and combine very well until smooth. Pour the filling into the dough-lined baking pan and place in the oven on the bottom rack.
Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake until set, about 1 hour more. Turn off the heat and let the pie hang out in the oven for another 30-45 minutes, if desired. (I think this produces the best texture.)
Remove from the oven. Cool completely on a rack. Serve with generous dollops of whipped cream, or refrigerate until cold, and then serve with generous dollops of whipped cream.