Ever since Starbucks rolled out their Pumpkin Spice Latte, our nation has been swept up in a Pumpkin flavored craze. Still, I think the most natural way to get one’s pumpkin fix is in a good old-fashioned pie. My first Thanksgiving back from college I took it upon myself to add pumpkin pie to our family’s dessert table and in my extensive googling (okay not that extensive), I settled on Paula Deen’s Recipe. I was skeptical of the recipe when I saw she included cream cheese and half and half. But since neither of these things are bad on their own, I figured they couldn’t combine into anything too terrible. Luckily, Paula knew best on this one.

In the past two years, I’ve added a couple alterations of my own. The original recipe calls for homemade pie dough, but sometimes, I don’t feel like washing a pie dish, and rather conveniently, I think this Pumpkin Pie tastes pretty fantastic on pre-made graham cracker crust. Plus, graham cracker crust is readily available at any average supermarket in the continental United States. The pie also tastes even richer and more magnificent when you mix up the spices. It’s important to always go overboard on the cinnamon, and this Thanksgiving, I threw in almond extract as well as ginger and nutmeg.

While some might say Pumpkin Pie is on its way out for the season, I firmly believe you can keep it making it for the next month, especially since it is so damn delicious.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened (DO NOT MICROWAVE)
2 cups canned pumpkin, mashed
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger1 optional
1 graham cracker crust pie shell
Whipped cream, for topping

Directions:

1. Preheat yo’ oven to a toasty 350 degrees.

2. Mix your softened cream cheese with an electric mixer until it’s smooth and more than spreadable.

3. Throw in the pumpkin and keep beating.

4. Next, add sugar and salt to the mix and just beat it.

5. Once that’s all smoothed out, add your eggs (the whole one and the yolk), half-and-half, and melted butter.

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6. If you make it this far (which you will!) add the vanilla and other spices. Now is the time to be bold and make this pie your very own.

7. With confidence in your culinary prowess, pour your pie filling into the graham cracker crust and bake.

8. This pie usually takes a whole hour to bake fully (you really want it to be firm enough in the middle).

9. Pop the pie out of the oven and wait. I highly recommend overnight refrigerator chilling to maximize the deliciousness of this pie experience.

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