Here is the recipe as I make it:
1/3 cup Agave Syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Approx. 1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 can (12 fl. oz) Carnation Fat Free Evaporated Milk
1 unbaked 9-inch (4 cup volume) pie shell
Combine all ingredients except the pie shell in a blender and blend well.
Pour into pie shell
Bake in preheated 425* oven for 15 mins. Reduce temp to 350* and bake 40-50 mins or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.
Typically I think most people make pumpkin pie too sweet so I cut the amount of sugar in half. I also reduce the amount of cloves by about half too. Another choice I make, that makes the pie lighter, is I use fat free evaporated milk. Those are the only alterations I make. For the pie shell, I use my oil crust recipe that can be found here: Pie Tutorial
The thing that I think makes my pumpkin pie special is how I dress the pie up with a leaf edge. It is easy to do, it just takes a little extra time. When I divide up my pie dough I make one of the balls a little bigger than I would if I were making a 2 crust pie. This will make a slightly thicker bottom crust plus you don't need as much dough for the leaf edge as you would if you were making a top crust for a fruit pie. I roll out the big ball and place it in the pie plate as usual.
I roll up the extra, hanging over dough and form a ledge that I will place the leaves on.
Just a note about the pie plate. Kaitlin commented in my pie tutorial that a pie plate with a lip will give the crust something to sit on. I guess I really never gave it much thought and my "go to" pie plates have this feature.
Anyway... The next step is to roll out the second dough ball to make the leaves. I use a leaf shaped cookie cutter and cut as many leaves as will fit on the dough. I don't worry about how many I'll need because I always end up with more than enough. Once the leaves are cut I use a table knife and lightly score the leaf veins in the dough being careful to only score the dough and not cut all the way through.
Now I use the knife to pick up the leaves and place them on the pie shell, overlapping them slightly.
I add the filling and the pie is almost ready to put in the oven. I learned the hard way that if you don't protect the pie edge, it will burn so it's important to cover your edge before it goes in the oven. There are commercially made rings that are for this purpose but it's not necessary to own one. It is easy to construct your own barrier from strips of aluminum foil. Just tear off a few strips about 3 to 4 inches wide and loosely cover the lip of your pie plate and your leaf edge. When you do this be careful that the aluminum foil doesn't dip into your filling... still leave it loose however. I happen to have a mangled piece of aluminum that I saved years ago from something (I don't remember what) that I purchased from the freezer section at the grocery store. It works much like the commercially made rings would. I just place it on top of my pie plate before putting it in the oven.
I will bake the pie for the maximum amount of time, a total of 65 minutes... plus if it looks like it could bake longer without burning or getting too brown, I'll leave it in for another 10 or 15 minutes just for good measure. That way I feel confident that it is done and I won't need to "mar" the pie surface by testing it with a knife. In the photo below I had an oopsy-doodle moment and accidentally dipped my aluminum protector in the pie. Oh well... it was still very tasty!
Now here is a little bonus that the kids enjoy! Actually, I'm pretty much of a fan too... I ball up the unused pie dough and roll it out as if I were making a crust. I put it on a square of aluminum foil and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar. I bake this along with the pie for the first 15 minutes (while the oven is set for 425*). I remove it from the oven when I turn down the temperature to 350*. YUM! ...a little treat!