This recipe debuted in Bon Appétit in 1979 in a piece I did about our Italian family Thanksgiving.
Spicy Pumpkin Filling
Up to 2 days before baking make the crust by combining the first 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl, blending with a whisk. Cut in butter with pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. (If butter softens too much, chill mixture 30 minutes and then proceed.)
Beat egg with 2 tablespoons water in small bowl or cup. Add to flour mixture and toss lightly with a fork until just moistened, adding an additional tablespoon of water if necessary. You want the pastry to hold together when you press it in your hand, but not be sticky or wet; do not overwork, beat or stir. Gather into 2 rough balls, wrap and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.
Lightly grease 2 8-inch pie pans. Roll each ball out into a circle on lightly floured surface. You want it be about 1/8 inch thick. Gently and carefully fit into pans, trimming off all but a 1-inch rim hanging over the edge of the pie pans. Fold over the pastry so it is doubled on the pans’ rims and press with your finger every 1/2 inch or so to create a fluted crust. Chill 1 hour to overnight.
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line each pie shell with foil and fill with uncooked beans or rice. Bake 10 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven and gently lift out liners. Cool pie shells completely.
Blend the filling in a large bowl by whisking a little of the milk into the flour until lumps disappear. Then whisk in the rest of the milk, sugar, eggs and salt. Beat in the pumpkin, melted butter and spices until smooth. A food processor makes quick work of this.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400ºF. Divide filling evenly between cooled shells. Set on cookie sheet and bake 15 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF and continue baking until knife inserted in about an inch for the crust comes out clean, about 45 minutes. (Don’t worry if the center is wobbly, it will finish cooking as it cools.) Remove from oven and cool completely on a rack. Chill until about 30 minutes before serving to bring to room temperature.
Before serving decorate with whipped cream and sprinkle with pecans.
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