Place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375°F.
Allow the pie crust to defrost slightly for about 20 minutes, so it’s still chilled, but not frozen. Use a fork to poke holes in the bottom of the pie crust.
Line the still-chilled pie crust with aluminum foil, gently folding the foil to drape over the edges of the crust so the edges don’t brown too quickly. Fill the pan about 3/4 full with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the pie crust for 25 minutes until the crust is slightly golden and a bit firm, but not cooked through. Remove the crust from the oven, and take out the foil with the weights and beans. Leave the oven on and cool the crust on a wire rack.
Make the filling: In a large bowl combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Whisk in the pumpkin, eggs, and half and half until blended.
Pour the filling into the cooled pie shell and transfer the pie carefully into the oven, so that the filling doesn’t sloosh over the edge of the pastry. Bake for about 55 to 60 minutes, until the filling is set. If the edges of the pie start to brown too quickly you can cover them with strip of aluminum foil, or use a pie crust shield, which is a great thing to have around if you bake a lot of pies. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature for at least 3 hours. Refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, until ready to serve, up to 2 days.
To serve, decoratively place the baked crust cut outs on the pie before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream as desired.
To make the optional pastry leaves:
Lightly flour a clean work surface. Unroll one room temperature packaged refrigerated pie crust (you can also allow a shaped frozen pie crust to come to room temperature and gently press it flat). Place the pie crust on the lightly floured work surface. Use small decorative cookie cutters to cut out some shapes (think about little pumpkins, fall leaves, or anything else that feels seasonal). If you are using leaf shapes use a sharp small knife to carefully score the top of the leaves to mimic the marking on a leaf. Transfer the cut outs to a parchment or wax paper lined plate, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.Brush the leaves with a bit of heavy cream, half and half or milk. Place the crust cut-outs on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Cool the shapes on the baking sheet, then use to decorate the pumpkin pie.