Eggless Pumpkin Pie
This originates from a recipe on cooks.com, which I am not linking to because it didn't work very well for me. After repeatedly baking and tweaking the liquid and starch ratios in this pie, we are now pretty happy with the results.
Start by stashing a pie pan in your freezer to get it nice and cold.
Make a single-crust pie crust from any basic recipe. I typically use my food processor and make half of the basic crust recipe from Joy of Cooking, using 1 Cup flour, 1/3 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon of butter for the fat, 2 Tablespoons of liquid plus just a little more if necessary. I use whatever neutral or fruity hard alcohol we have handy in lieu of water (which makes for a more tender crust). Or use the Pillsbury premade dough if that's your pleasure. Chill the dough a little if you are making your own crust. Roll it out. Put it in your pie pan and pretty up the edges.
Then stash the pie pan with raw crust in your fridge and preheat your oven to 450 degrees while you make the filling.
1 can pumpkin puree (15 or 16 ounces)
1 tsp cinnamon *
5 Tablespoons corn starch
1 1/2 Cup milk
2/3 Cup brown sugar
Add cinnamon and corn starch to the pumpkin. Stir in the brown sugar. Stir in the milk.
Bake in an unbaked shell.
Start for 10 minutes in a 450 degree oven.
Then reduce to 350 for an additional 1 hour.
Check it and it may need 5 minutes more.
Mine often does.
For flaky tender crust, keeping the dough cold at every step is important. As is starting with a hot oven. If your oven isn't fully up to temperature by the time you have the filling prepared and in the crust, you can stash the unbaked pie (filling and all) in the fridge until the oven is hot enough.
If you aren't a cinnamon hound like me, you can use just 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
For more complex flavor, use your favorite "pie spice" blend instead.
Or if you don't have that handy, wing it with any or all these additions:
Scrape in a vanilla bean with the sugar or a splash of vanilla extract with the milk.
Grate in a little bit of nutmeg.
Add just a little ginger or a very small pinch of cloves.
Add a bit of zest from a lemon or orange. Cooks.com called for 1/2 tsp lemon extract. I never buy that. So I omit or add zest from fresh fruit instead.
Combinations work nicely. For example, making pie Thanksgiving dinner tonight, I made the crust using orange cordial as the liquid. With the filling I used the full dose of cinnamon, a vanilla bean, just bit of nutmeg, and a the zest from one mandarin orange.
Making it vegan: You can use other liquids instead of milk to make the filling vegan.
And shortening or coconut oil can be used to make vegan crusts.