John Michael Lerma’s Basic Pumpkin Pie


1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, finely ground
1/4 cup Crisco butter-flavored all-vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 – 1/2 cup cold water; use only as much as needed for a smooth, satiny dough ball
Crisco butter-flavored cooking spray
1 egg yolk and 1 tsp water for egg wash

  1. All ingredients should be cold. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add shortening and butter.  Using a pastry blender, cut in the shortening and butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal or peas.
  2. Drop by drop, add the cold water. Mix in with the fingertips, not with the hands as the palms will warm the dough. Continue mixing in water until the dough begins to hold together without being crumbly yet not sticky.
  3. Place dough in plastic wrap. Fold over plastic wrap and press down to form a disk. This will make rolling out easier after chilling. Finish wrapping in plastic and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Lightly spray a deep 9-inch pie pan or 8 1/2-inch fluted flan pan. Roll out dough and place in pie plate, allowing the excess pastry to hang over the edge. Remove extra, tuck under, and crimp decoratively. Brush with egg wash.  Chill in the refrigerator while preparing filling.

(Makes pastry for one 9 inch single-crust pie.)


2 cups fresh pumpkin puree or 1 (16-ounce) can solid-pack pumpkin
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon fine sea solt
1/2 cup white sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk pumpkin, sour cream, whipping cream, brown sugar, eggs, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and white sugar. Blend well.
  2. Gently pour into prepared pie crust. Cover pie crust edges with a pie shield to prevent excessive browning or burning. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the center is almost set and not jiggly. Remove pie shield for the final 10 minutes of baking. Cool on a rack until room temperature.
  3. Decorate with pumpkin cutouts or other holiday cutouts.  Garnish with Sweetened Whipped Cream.

Serves 8-10

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