Sylvia Carter Sylvia Carter

Carter writes a food column for Newsday.

'American as apple pie," goes the cliche. But at Thanksgiving, there is but one pie. Pumpkin is the pie that brings us all together in a state of sated accord.

You can add candied ginger, Grand Marnier, pecans, or finely grated orange peel. But when all is said and done, this is the pie people expect to eat. You can't really improve on a classic.

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Recipe for Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie, slightly adapted

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
4 large eggs
1 (29-ounce) can Libby's pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 (12-ounce each) cans evaporated milk
2 (9-inch) unbaked deep-dish piecrusts

Directions:

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1. Place 2 cookie sheets in the oven and preheat to 425 degrees.

2. Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Add pumpkin and sugar- spice mixture and mix well. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shells.

3. Place pies on heated cookie sheets in oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Do not freeze as this will cause crust to separate from filling. Makes 16 servings.

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Recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients:

@Newsday

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 (16-ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

For topping:

1 (16-ounce) carton sour cream
4 ounces sugar

Directions:

1. Mix cream cheese, sugar, eggs and yolks until smooth and creamy.

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2. Add flour, cinnamon, cloves and ginger to cheese mixture. Beat in heavy cream, vanilla and pumpkin puree and blend thoroughly.

3. Pour batter into a 10-inch springform pan. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Turn off oven and allow cake to sit for 15 to 20 minutes in closed oven.

4. While cake is standing in oven, prepare topping. Blend sour cream and sugar until smooth; cover and refrigerate. Remove cake from oven; let cool to room temperature and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

5. Slide knife around edges of cake and unhinge springform pan. Spread cake with topping. Return to a preheated 350-degree oven for another 15 minutes. Remove, cool and refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 12 servings.