Perfect Pumpkin Pie

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Pumpkin pie has always been one of my favorite desserts and I've never quite understood why it's only acceptable to eat it around this time of year. It's the dish I look forward to most at Thanksgiving and since we're hosting for the first time, I made it my mission to perfect my pumpkin pie. My mom's version is incredible and so I tapped her for her technique, which I soon found to be pretty labor intensive, since it combines three separate recipes. After much trial and error (seriously, I've been making pumpkin pies about once a week for the past month and a half), I landed on the ideal recipe. The crust is buttery and flaky, but still crisp (a rarity with custard fillings) and the filling, since it's been heated, tastes a lot more flavorful and fresh. With a dollop of whipped cream, it's about as good as it gets - and quite possibly even as special as my mom's.