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We love pumpkin pie, but we don’t love how dense and cloying it can be. We wanted a lighter, fresher take on this must-have Thanksgiving dessert. We started with our foolproof, fuss-free pie dough, which handles any amount of abuse or misuse during mixing and rolling. It’s made effortlessly in the food processor, and it can be prepped and frozen up to a month ahead. It was designed for blind baking and resists slumping and shrinking. For our filling, canned pumpkin puree was a great place to start, but we intensified the flavor by giving it a quick sauté with dark brown sugar. This simmers off excess moisture and lends caramel flavors to the mixture. Deglazing the pan with bourbon added a complexity we loved, but an equal amount of orange juice worked well, too. Crème fraîche gave the filling tang and richness that other dairy products couldn’t match.
15-ounce can pumpkin puree
01Heat the oven to 375°F with racks in the middle and lowest positions. On a well-floured counter, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Wrap the dough loosely around the rolling pin and transfer to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Ease the dough into the pan, then trim the edges flush with the rim. Freeze for 15 minutes.
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