Photo: Greg Dupree; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

This one-minute step makes a world of difference. (And it's not in the recipe.)  

Pumpkin pie is one of those Thanksgiving dishes that everyone expects to see on the table but doesn't look forward to eating. Except me. I love pumpkin pie and will choose it over apple or pecan any day—especially because it’s a once-a-year dessert. You can eat apple and pecan pie any time, especially on restaurant menus. Pumpkin pie is rare.

I think people are often lukewarm on pumpkin pie because they haven’t had a really great one. Of course, a great pie starts with a great foundation: golden, buttery, flaky piecrust. And it helps to use fresh spices, especially if you can’t remember how many years ago you bought that little jar of pumpkin pie spice. You can also get creative with pumpkin pie. Mild, earthy pumpkin plays well with other ingredients like coconut, chocolate, and pecans.

But even if you’re using a store-bought pie crust and following the recipe on the back of the can of pumpkin puree, you can still make a fantastic pumpkin pie. With no added ingredients and hardly any added time. The trick? Pureeing the puree. Canned pumpkin puree might look smooth enough when it comes out of the can, but this extra step eliminates any small fibrous squash strands, so your pumpkin pie filling will be extra creamy. Even though this step is included in hardly any pumpkin pie recipes, it’s a test kitchen trick to make your pie lusciously smooth.

WATCH: Our Easiest Pumpkin Pie Ever

Before you mix the canned pumpkin puree with the other wet ingredients, give it a quick 30-second whirl in your food processor. Then proceed with the recipe as directed, combining the extra-smooth puree with eggs, spices, and whatever other ingredients your recipe calls for.

Trust me, when people taste the pumpkin pie this year, they’ll know that something is different, but they won’t be sure what, which means they’ll eat a second slice to try to figure it out.