From America's Test Kitchen Season 1: Holiday Pies
Pumpkin pie is a holiday classic, but with high quality canned pumpkin puree available, it is simple enough to make more often than only on Thanksgiving. We wanted a pie with a crisp crust and firm, tender exterior—a dessert good enough to eat alone, but that would taste even better with a dollop of homemade whipped cream.
For the crispest crusts possible, we took a threefold approach with our recipe. First, we baked our crusts almost completely before filling them. Next, we made sure that both the shell and the filling were hot when we assembled the pie, so the custard could begin to firm up almost immediately instead of soaking into the pastry. Finally, we baked the pie quickly, near the bottom of the oven where the bottom of the crust is exposed to the most heat.
If you do not have a food processor, the pumpkin may be put through a food mill or forced through a fine sieve with the back of a wooden spoon. Alternatively, you can cook the pumpkin, sugar, and spices together before pureeing, then whir the mixture in a blender, adding enough of the cream called for in the recipe to permit the pumpkin to flow easily over the blades. In either case, heat the pumpkin with the (remaining) cream and milk, as indicated, then slowly whisk the mixture into the beaten eggs. The pie may be served slightly warm, chilled, or at room temperature.