FOR THE PIE CRUST
- ▢ Flour, for the work surface
- ▢ Dough for single 9-inch pie crust
- ▢ 1/4 cup heavy cream, for glazing
FOR THE PUMPKIN PIE FILLING
- ▢ 1 cup canned or fresh pumpkin purée
- ▢ 2 large eggs, beaten
- ▢ 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- ▢ 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ▢ 1/2 teaspoon salt
- ▢ 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ▢ 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
FOR THE MERINGUE TOPPING
- ▢ 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- ▢ 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ▢ Pinch salt
- ▢ 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- ▢ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
MAKE THE PIE CRUST
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper
- On a clean, lightly floured work surface with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough until it forms a 10-inch circle. Fold the circle in half, place it in a 9-inch pie plate so that the edges of the circle drop over the rim, and unfold the dough to completely cover the pie plate. Using your thumb and index finger, crimp the edges of the pie shell. Lightly brush the edges of the pie shell with heavy cream (this creates a perfect, golden-brown finish). Set aside while you make the pumpkin pie filling.
MAKE THE PUMPKIN PIE FILLING
- Using an electric mixer on medium speed, combine the pumpkin purée and eggs until really well mixed. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Mix the ingredients together, scraping the bowl down several times. Add the heavy cream and mix once again, until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the unbaked pie shell. Carefully slide the pumpkin pie onto the baking sheet.
- Bake the pumpkin pie for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the filling is firm in the middle but still soft to the touch. Move the pie to a wire rack and let cool for at least 2 hours. (You can loosely cover the cooled pumpkin pie and refrigerate it for up to 2 days before topping it with the meringue.)
MAKE THE MERINGUE TOPPING
- Just before serving, preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
- Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until they become foamy. Add the cream of tartar and salt and continue mixing until soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Once all the sugar has been added, add the vanilla and beat for 30 more seconds. It should be light and fluffy. To test it, insert a spatula into the mixture and quickly pull it out. If it forms little peaks but does not fall, you have achieved the desired consistency.
ASSEMBLE THE PUMPKIN MERINGUE PIE
- Using the spatula, spread the meringue on the pumpkin pie, mounding the meringue in the center of the pie and lifting the meringue into swoops and swirls and peaks. Take care to spread it generously all the way out to the edges of the crust to completely cover the pumpkin pie filling because the meringue will shrink during baking.
Place the pumpkin pie on the middle oven rack and bake for 6 to 10 minutes, or until the desired brownness has been achieved. You’ll want to check the meringue frequently, keeping an especially careful eye on it as soon as the tippy tops of the peaks begin to turn brown. (If you have a kitchen torch, you can also use this method as an alternative, but be careful to spread the flame evenly across the entire surface to achieve a uniform look.) The pumpkin pie is best served the same day.