one 9-inch diameter pie or 6 to 8 (2 ¾ -inch) diameter tarts
or about 3½ dozen miniature shortbread tartlets
In a large heavy saucepan, combine the first 6 ingredients. Stir in milk. Gently fold in beaten eggs, blending well. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until gelatin melts and mixture thickens slightly. Stir in pumpkin, blending well. Transfer to a large bowl and chill until mixture starts to thicken.
While pumpkin mixture is chilling, whip cream in a chilled bowl with chilled electric beaters until cream forms soft peaks. Fold whipped cream into chilled pumpkin mixture, blending well. Spoon pumpkin mixture into baked pie shell or baked tart shells or shortbread tartlet shells. Chill pie, tarts, or tartlets in the refrigerator until pumpkin mixture is firm.
Serve plain or garnish pie, tarts, or tartlets with additional flavored sweetened whipped cream and finely chopped pecans and/or crystallized/candied ginger, if desired.
Note: Do not use pumpkin pie mix.
Note: Prepare and bake favorite single-crust piecrust recipe or bake ½ (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts (1 crust) according to package directions. One piecrust makes about 6 to 8 tart shells.
one (9-inch) diameter crust
Sift together the flour and salt into a medium bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, evenly over the surface, mixing lightly with a fork until particles hold together. Shape into a ball, wrap in wax paper, and allow to stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface or pastry cloth, roll out dough into a circle 1/8-inch thick and 1½ inches larger than the pie plate. Carefully fit crust into pie plate. Trim crust off 1 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold edge under and form a standing ridge, fluting the crust ridge with the thumb and forefinger. Prick holes in pastry shell, all over, with the tines of a 4-tined dinner fork.
Bake in a preheated hot oven (425 degrees F.) for 10 to 12 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Check crust after 5 minutes of baking and prick any bubbles that may have appeared in the crust. Cool thoroughly on a baking rack before adding the pie filling.
Vanilla Cookie Crust
one 9-inch pie crust
In a medium bowl, blend together crumbs, butter, and sugar, if desired; pack over bottom and partially up sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Stand reserved cookies, cut edge down, rounded-size-out, around edge of pie plate. Bake in a preheated moderate oven (350 degrees F.) for 7 minutes, then cool thoroughly.
one 9-inch pie crust
In a medium bowl, combine the crumbs and butter, mixing well with a pastry blender or fork. Pack crumbs evenly over the bottom and sides of a 9-inch diameter pie plate, forming a standing rim. Bake in a preheated moderate oven (350 degrees F.) for 7 minutes, then cool thoroughly.