Bake It Yourself

Pies baked by professionals can be spectacular. But for Thanksgiving, maybe you want to do your own. Here’s how it’s done by for the Melamud Thanksgiving dinner by writer Bob’s wife Lyn Laviana.

Lyn Melamud’s Pumpkin Pie
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen website and vouched for by Bay Weekly’s pieman Bob Melamud

Prepare a partially baked 10-inch pie shell.

Whisk together in a bowl:

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3 large eggs plus 2 large yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan:
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup drained candied yams from 15-ounce can (see recipe)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon table salt

Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly and mashing yams against sides of pot, until thick and shiny, 10 to 15 minutes. Be careful it doesn’t burn.
    Remove pan from heat and whisk in cream mixture. Strain mixture over medium bowl, using back of ladle or spatula to press solids through strainer. Rewhisk mixture and transfer to partially baked pie shell. Return pie plate to oven and bake pie at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees and continue baking until edges of pie are set (instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 175 degrees), 20 to 35 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack and cool to room temperature, two to three hours.

Pastry for Pie Crust

Enough for one two-crust pie or one single-crust 10-inch pie


1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt


1/3 cup cold butter
1/3 cup shortening

    Press the flour into the butter with your fingertips until the butter is the size of small peas. Then do the same with the shortening.
    Gradually sprinkle 1⁄3 cup ice water over the mixture, stirring with a fork until enough has been added to pat the dough lightly into a ball.
    Roll out between two sheets of wax or parchment paper.
    Chill before removing the paper and pressing into a pie pan.
    Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
    Line a 9-inch pie pan with pastry and freeze for 30 minutes.
    Line the pie shell with aluminum foil; add pastry weights, beans or rice.
    Partially bake the pie shell for 15 to 20 minutes; cool, remove weights and foil.