The Best Perfect Pumpkin Pie Ever

No, I’m not bragging.  : )

Unbaked pie crust
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. kosher salt

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Set the pie plate aside. In a large bowl, whisk all the other ingredients together, pour into the pie crust and bake for 15 minutes. Without opening the oven door, reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 40-45 more minutes or until a knife inserted about one inch from the crust comes out clean. Set on a rack to cool. Serve warm or cold.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

This is fabulous and beautiful with the speckling of spice. It’s also not as overpowering as a standard pumpkin pie may be to some.

Picture at left is pre-baked in a water bath.

Graham Cracker Crust:
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 Tbsp. melted butter
1 Tbsp. white sugar

Cream Cheese Filling:
3 8-oz. pkgs. Philadelphia Cream Cheese (NOT lite, NOT low fat)
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (not imitation, please)
1 cup canned pumpkin (Libby’s is the best)
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the cream cheese and eggs on your counter for at least 30 minutes while the oven is preheating.

Make the crust by combining all the crust ingredients into a medium bowl and stir well with a fork. Empty this into the springform pan and gently shake and tap the pan on the counter to distribute the crumbs. Gently press the crumbs into the bottom and just a tad up the sides of the pan as you turn the pan. Bake the crust for 5 minutes then set aside to cool. Wrap the springform pan in a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil – you will be baking the cake in a water bath (no cracks) and this will prevent spillages.  Place the wrapped springform pan inside a large pan with high sides (such as a roasting pan).

Now make the filling – in a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and the vanilla. Mix until smooth – about 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin, eggs, and spices and continue to mix for about 1 more minute.

Pour the batter into the pan. Slowly and gently fill the larger pan with hot water (6-8 cups, depending on the size of your large pan) until it comes about halfway up the sides of the spring form pan. Place the whole thing into the oven and bake for 60 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN. After 60 minutes, turn off the oven and let the cake sit in the closed oven for 1 hour.

Remove springform pan from larger pan (don’t remove the foil) and place pan on a rack for about 3 hours to cool. Now remove the foil and place cheesecake (springform and all) on a plate, then place another plate on top of the springform pan as a cover and place in the fridge at least overnight so it can set. Remove sides before cutting.

Braided Pumpkin Bread

This recipes creates one big, beautiful loaf or make 2 smaller loves.  It smells delicious while baking and tastes fabulous plain or slathered with cream cheese or butter. Sit back, kick your feet up and have a thick slice with your favorite beverage. We love eating it with hot tea after raking leaves.

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp. yeast
3 large or extra large eggs at room temperature
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup oil (such as canola)
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. kosher salt
6-8 cups flour

1 large egg, whisked well for an egg wash

Take the 3 eggs out of your fridge and set on the counter for about 30 minutes before you begin making the bread – this will bring them to room temperature.

Into a large mixing bowl whisk together the water and yeast, then add everything up to the flour and blend it well. Then add 6 cups of the flour and stir well with a wooden spoon until it forms a smooth dough, use more flour as needed. Add some flour to your counter top and dump out the contents of the bowl and being to knead for about 5 minutes, adding more dough as needed. You will probably use up all 8 cups of flour. Form a large dough ball.

Lightly grease the large mixing bowl you used, and place the dough in and turn it around in the bowl so it is all greased. Now cover with plastic and let rise for 1 hour. Turn dough out onto your floured counter top, deflate it and divide into 3 strand ropes for braids.  Now get out a large baking sheet and cover with parchment paper. Place the braids onto the baking sheet and form a braided bread loaf onto the pan. You can form this on the counter top but it may be difficult to transfer to the pan. Brush with about half the egg wash. Cover again with plastic and let rise for 90 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350, brush loaf again with the egg wash and bake for about 45 – 60 minutes for one loaf, about 40 for two loaves – keep any eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Let set about 30 minutes before you slice.

**Sprinklings of chopped seeds or nuts (shelled & chopped pumpkin seeds, pistachios) after the second egg wash would be a very tasty addition.

My Thanksgiving Meal – 2010

Here is our 2010 Thanksgiving Meal.  We don’t watch sports on this day, instead we hang, chat, nibble, watch the Macy’s Parade, and I begin to play holiday music.  Have a fantastic Thanksgiving, and blessed be!

Divorce Court Turkey 

Gravy

Mashed potatoes

All American Bread Stuffing

Corn and broccoli

Spanish Rice & Beans

Cranberry Sauce – (or use the canned)

Creamy Carrot Puree

Desserts
Chocolate Cream Pie

Apple Pie