Sunday, October 30, 2011

Caramel Pumpkin Pie

This is the second in my Thanksgiving prep series, providing you some fun new recipes for the upcoming holidays. Today, we're going straight from soup course all the way to dessert. Hey, I never said I was going to go in order.

Pumpkin Pi
I love pumpkin pie, although it usually is best with equal amounts of fresh whipped cream. Most traditional pumpkin pie recipes are made with a mixture of spices and evaporated milk. In this version, sugar and water are cooked together until it becomes a deep amber color and is then mixed with cream to make a smooth creamy caramel. The caramel is then mixed with spices and pumpkin puree and cooked together in the crust of your choice. It's not dramatically different from your traditional pie, but I absolutely love the hints of caramel throughout the pie.

I had picked up a few pie pumpkins at the farmers market and used those to make some homemade puree. It's really easy to make your own. Cut the pumpkins into quarters, remove the seeds and insides. Place in a roasting pan with some water in the bottom. Cook at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes or until tender all the way through. Remove the skins and process in a food processor until smooth. You may have to add a small amount of water to make it smooth.

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Caramel Pumpkin Pie
adapted from Epicurious


For pastry
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 to 5 tablespoons ice water

For filling
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 cups heavy cream
1 (15-oz) can solid-pack pumpkin (not pie filling; a scant 2 cups)
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten


Make dough:
Blend together flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Drizzle evenly with 4 tablespoons ice water and gently stir with a fork (or pulse in processor) until incorporated.
Squeeze a small handful of dough: If it doesn't hold together, add more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until incorporated, then test again. (Do not overwork dough or pastry will be tough.)
Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather all of dough together with scraper and press into a ball, then flatten into a 5-inch disk. Chill dough, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 14-inch round, then fit into quiche pan and trim excess dough flush with rim of pan. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
Make filling:
Bring sugar and water to a boil in a 3- to 3 1/2-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil syrup, washing down side of pan occasionally with a pastry brush dipped in cold water and gently swirling pan (do not stir), until mixture is a deep golden caramel, about 10 minutes.
Reduce heat to moderate and carefully add 1 cup cream (mixture will bubble vigorously), stirring until caramel is dissolved. Stir in remaining cup cream and bring just to a simmer.
Whisk together pumpkin purée, spices, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in hot cream mixture, then add eggs, whisking until combined well. Pour filling into crust and bake until puffed 1 1/2 inches from edge and center is just set, 55 to 60 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack, about 2 hours. (Pie will continue to set as it cools.) Remove side of pan before serving.


  1. Love your pumpkin pi! This looks delicious too!

  2. I need to get on my recipes too. You are so prepared!

  3. The hint of caramel laced throughout it is inspired. I think it elevates the charm of the pie. Plus I can do this without leaving the realm of the "traditional pumpkin pie" my husband must have ... year after year after year after year...

  4. If you are looking for an food processor that fits this recipe, check out here