Holiday traditions always seemed so fixed and immutable, but as Brian and I have built our own life and pieced together ways of celebrating from our own families while adding elements of our own, I’ve watched our daughters come to see these new holiday traditions as the timeless, ancient rites, even as I’ve had my eyes opened to how alive and changing they are. It’s a delight to watch the kids form their own holiday memories and nostalgia with familiar foods, flavors, and smells.
Brian and I began hosting our own Thanksgiving pretty early on, and have been tinkering with traditions ever since. We always get a heritage breed turkey, we make traditional cranberry sauce (for Brian) and super tangy cranberry relish (for me), and always, always there’s pumpkin pie. I love selecting a sugar pumpkin, or kabocha or butternut squash, roasting it, and then making my pumpkins pies. They are the first thing I do Thanksgiving morning, so we can get them out of the oven in time for the turkey. And I love my them–they’re rich, flavorful, but also light and not too sweet.
Enter this silky, bright, and tangy buttermilk pumpkin pie. The filling is light and velvety, with subtle notes of fresh pumpkin (and, ahem, rustic flecks of vivid orange pumpkin or squash skin). Is this my new Thanksgiving dessert? We’ll see – we might all be too attached to the old one. But it certainly is a delicious seasonal dessert, and a lighter, brighter option for those who find pumpkin pie too rich or heavy after a big meal.
- one pie recipe pie dough (simple all-butter dough recipe here), chilled
- 1 1/4 cups pumpkin or squash puree
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a shallow pie pan.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 14-inch circle. Fold into quarters; unfold in prepared pie pan. Poke all over with the tines of a fork. Line shell with tin foil and add pie weights, beans, or rice as pie weights. Bake 12 minutes, remove weights and foil, and bake 10 minutes more or until crust is set and hasn’t browned in the least. Remove from oven and set aside while you make filling.
- Set oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine pumpkin or squash puree, butter, lemon juice, ground ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and sea salt. Beat with a whisk until well-combined and fluffy.
- In a small bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar, whisk together a minute or so and set aside.
- Pour egg yolk mixture into the puree mixture; beat with a whisk until smooth and light. Slowly fold in flour, followed by the buttermilk.
- Meanwhile, with clean, dry beaters, whisk reserved egg whites to soft peaks, and fold into filling.
- Spoon filling into the baked shell, and bake 35 - 40 minutes or just until the very center is set – it should have some movement, but not still seem like a liquid.
- Cool 2 - 3 hours, slice, and serve.