Pumpkin Pie with or without Pecans

I love pumpkin pie and often wonder why I only make it at Thanksgiving or Christmas.  It’s such an easy pie to make and it’s so delicious. Canned pumpkin works best for pumpkin pie.  It has a more consistent texture than fresh pumpkin as fresh pumpkin can have a water content that varies quite a bit.  I tried to cut the fat a bit with this recipe but still make the pie taste like you are indulging yourself with a holiday treat so I used fat free half and half but didn’t skimp on the eggs. If you aren’t looking to cut calories, real ½ and ½ would work well too.  If you want to bake these the day before, they hold up well.  This recipe makes 2 nine inch deep dish pies.  I had a little extra pie filling and I filled two ramekins and enjoyed the pumpkin pie without the pie crust.  When reviewing a whole lot of pumpkin pie recipes, I came across a couple recipes for pecans along with pumpkin.  I thought that sounded interesting as I love both pumpkin pie and pecan pie.  I made one pie with pecans and the other plain pumpkin; both were very yummy and a little less dense than some pumpkin pies ( in a good way).  I liked the pecan/pumpkin version but I’m not sure it will replace pecan pie or pumpkin pies on their own.  But it was a nice change from the usual pumpkin.  I didn’t make my own pie crusts, I really love the frozen pie crust at Trader Joes, they are so delicious I seldom make my own anymore, but the freezer section was bare, they were totally out, so resorted to the regular grocery store variety of premade, nowhere near as good as homemade or Trader Joes.

3 ½ cups pumpkin (about two 15 ounce cans of pumpkin)

8 eggs

2 cups brown sugar

2 ¼ cup fat free half and half

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root

1 cup of pecans per pie (optional)

2 nine inch deep dish pie crusts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix eggs, pumpkin, half and half, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger until well blended.  Pour half the mixture into each pie shell.  If adding pecans, sprinkle pecans evenly into the pie and gently stir to just barely cover the pecans with pumpkin mixture.  Bake for 40 minutes or until the center of the pie is firm or a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Serve with whipped cream and sprinkle whipped cream with a pinch of nutmeg.  Karen

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