1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
To make the crust: Make sure all the ingredients are chilled, including the flour.
In a small bowl, stir the salt into 1/3 cup water until dissolved. Put the flour in a food processor and scatter the butter on top. Pulse until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Add the salt water and pulse until the dough begins to come together in large clumps. Add the vodka, or 1-2 tablespoons of water. Shape the dough into a 1-inch-thick disk, wrap in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 16-inch circle. Transfer to a 10-inch pie plate, easing the dough into the bottom and onto the sides and gently pressing into place. For a traditional crimped edge, trim the overhanging dough to 1/2 inch from the edge of the plate. Fold the overhang under and crimp decoratively. Or trim just to the top edge. Reserve the dough scraps. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight, or freeze for up to two weeks.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line the chilled pie shell with foil or parchment and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until the sides have just set and look dry, 16 to 20 minutes. Remove the liner and bake until the edges are lightly golden and the bottom is pale and completely dry, about 5 minutes.
Let the crust cool completely on a wire rack before filling. To make a decorative edge, reroll dough scraps and cut out 45 circles about 1 inch in diameter. Brush the top edge of the pie shell with beaten egg white. Overlap the cutouts around the top edge. Brush the circles with egg white and sprinkle with sugar.
For the filling: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk the pumpkin, eggs, egg yolk, half-and-half, cornstarch and brandy or vanilla. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, pepper and cloves. Whisk the sugar mixture into the pumpkin mixture.
Pour the filling into the cooled piecrust. Bake until the pie is set around the outside but still slightly wet and jiggly in the center, about 1 hour. The filling will continue to set as it cools. Let the pie cool completely on a wire rack and refrigerate for at least two hours and up to two days before serving.
Whip the cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until it forms very soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar, ginger and brandy or vanilla and continue whipping until it forms medium-firm peaks, about 30 seconds longer. Put a dollop in the center of the pie and spread outward, leaving a band of filling visible around the edge of the pie, or put a dollop on individual servings.
-- Adapted from Fine Cooking magazine, November 2008 issue.
334 calories (55% from fat), 21 grams fat (12 grams sat. fat), 33 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein, 230 mg sodium, 112 mg cholesterol, 69 mg calcium, 2 grams fiber.
Apple and pear pie
Preparation time: 35 minutes
Total time: 2 hours (not all active time)
This pie has a great flavor combination: tart apples and sweet pears spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon.