June 19, 2024
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This pie has a graham cracker crust, so we’ll start there. Grind ’em up in a food processor (or, if you don’t have a food processor, throw ’em into a large ziploc and smash ’em with a rolling pin.)

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Throw in powdered sugar. This is an unusual addition to a graham cracker crust–you’d normally see granulated or brown sugar. But trust me on this one.

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Mix the crumbs and sugar together, then add melted butter.

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Pulse until everything’s mixed together and the crumbs are nice and moist.

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Next step–and this is very, very important: remove one heaping spoonful of crumbs, then place it in your mouth. Eat. Smile. Feel no guilt.

Repeat as needed.

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Next, dump the crumbs into a standard pie pan.

They kinda resemble Grape Nuts, don’t they?

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I like to use a one-cup measure to quickly flatten the crumbs into the bottom of the pie pan, then use my fingers to work the crumbs up the sides. Use gentle pressure. You want to secure the crumbs in there so they’re nice and tight.

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Next up, throw the crust into a 300 degree oven for about 8 to 10 minutes. This’ll set it and give it just a tiny bit of a toasted flavor. Then remove it, set it aside, and let it cool completely. Cover it with a dish towel if it’ll be a few hours before you’ll use it.

Now it’s time to make the filling.

(Brace yourself.)

(You’ve been warned.)

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You need a box of vanilla cook and serve pudding!

Don’t hate. Appreciate.

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Without fear or shame, dump the contents of the package into a saucepan.

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You know what I love about pudding mix? It sparkles with little fairy crystals, assuring you that using cook-and-serve pudding mix doesn’t make you a bad person. Nothing sparkly can be bad.

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Now, here’s the kicker: rather than mix in milk, you add a mixture of cream and half-and-half.

This is pie, people. It’s no time to practice restraint.

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Whisk the mixture together, then add a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves. I tend do underdo the spice a little bit because I don’t like it to be overpowered. But you can taste it and add spice to your taste.

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By the way, wouldn’t this be divine with vanilla bean? Kind of like a cheater’s version of creme brulee?

Hmmm. I’ll have to think about that one.

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Bring the pudding to a boil over medium heat and cook it for a minute or two, just until it gets nice and thick.

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Grab the booze. This is totally optional. It just gives the pie a certain…je ne sais quoi.

But you can absolutely leave it out if you don’t want to be naughty.

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Turn off the heat, then add in the whiskey. Stir it gently to combine.

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Next up, grab a heaping half a cup of pumpkin puree. This is from the can, but did you know you can make your own?

It’s true. And here’s how:


Take a walk on the wild side: Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree.

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Whether you use canned or fresh, dump the pumpkin right into the creamy mixture.

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Stir it around to combine.

Don’t worry about the lumps. It’s a pudding thing, and an I-was-taking-photos-and-didn’t-whisk-enough-while-it-was-cooking thing.

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Give it a taste and make sure the spices are where you want them, then cover the pot and let it cool for a little bit. After it cools slightly, throw the pot into the fridge to get it nice and cold.

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Later, when the filling is nice and chilled, add some brown sugar to some heavy cream.

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Whip the tar out of it until it’s very, very fluffy and stiff.

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Combine this with the pumpkin/pudding/cream mixture…

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And fold it together gently.

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Try not to dunk your whole head in this mixture and lose your good sense. It’s really, really delicious!

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Pour it right on into the cooled crust.

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Goodness gracious.

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Spread it to even out the surface, then cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least a couple of hours. (I know, I know. There’s a lot of chilling going on. But you want all the elements to marry and firm up a bit. Make it the night before Thanksgiving!)

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To serve, slice it up…

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And sprinkle on extra graham cracker crumbs. You can just use regular crumbled crackers (just do a quick ziploc crush trick) OR, save some of the butter and sugar-soaked crumbs from the day before, give em a little toast on a cookie sheet, and use those instead. Flavor, baby. And crunch!

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China Check: Herend Rothschild Bird. From Hungary, and from my blessed godmother Lela.

It’s my life.

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So is this pie. Utterly divine! If you’re not a huge fan of pumpkin pie, you have to try this one this year. I love how light and mild it is. Swoon.

Enjoy, my friends.


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