My pie of choice for this activity, which I would classify less as a habit than a response to pie being in the house at all, was Dorie Greenspan's Caramel Pumpkin Pie. A classic pie in most ways -- milk, sugar, eggs...the main twist here was that half the sugar is caramelized prior to being added to the other fillings, making a darker and more complex pie. I have a vague memory of making this pie a few years ago, and not being overly impressed, but this particular version was one of the best pumpkin pies I've ever made. I kept the caramel a little on the light side, and used mashed squash from a mix of squashes that I happened to have recently roasted.
The crust was also standout, and here is where the confession comes in--I fear that I may owe its awesomeness to the addition of a nasty margarine/baking goop/can't believe anyone would think this is butter product, which I used quite a bit of. As normally a fan of the all butter crust, I do have to say that the few crusts I made recently using said product were memorable. Also, because the pumpkin pie crust spends quite a bit of time in the oven at a gentle heat waiting for the custard to firm up, it gets baked to a crispness that fruit double-crusted pies rarely achieve. I remember Emily of Four and Twenty Blackbirds describing a similar phenomenon in the creation of the deeply caramelized crust of her Salty Honey Pie, and she was right. Mine didn't make it to quite such long-cooked glory, but it was one of my better crusts for sure.
Although I did eat several slices of this pie for successive breakfasts, I didn't eat it all--I took the last few slices to the ladies of Polybe + Seats, who seemed pleased that I'd made such a sacrifice. One eater was in fact heard to remark, "But this is better than pumpkin pie!"
It was pretty great. Not better than pumpkin pie, because what could be? But a pretty great pumpkin pie. I hope to make many more. Next week's TWD continues the pie love with the all-American classic apple.