Monday, October 31, 2005

My Favorite Pumpkin Pie

Last Saturday, I made pumpkin pie. I must confess that I prefer to use pumpkin in savory dishes --as in a curried cream of pumpkin soup-- rather than in desserts. But when fall comes and we start to see pumpkins everywhere, I pull out this recipe which I found years ago in a Pillsbury booklet. It is the only pumpkin pie that I really like, and I am afraid this has more to do with the crunchy pecan layer and delicious orange flavored cream topping than the pumpkin filling. The recipe is for a 9" pie pan, but repeated overflow incidents confirmed that the recipe makes too much filling for a pan of this size, so I recommend that you make this in a 10" deep dish pie pan, or even a 12"x8" pyrex pan. Let me also note that I substituted whipped heavy cream for the ready frozen whipped topping in the original recipe. Frozen whipped topping is already sweetened, so I had to sweeten my whipped cream, too. Unfortunately I forgot to measure how much sugar I added. All I can say is that it was not much. The resulting pie was light and delicious with the crunchy praline layer enhancing the smooth pumpkin and cream layers. (One last note to pumpkin lovers who might want to try this recipe: I made dessert for a crowd, so I had to modify the recipe into bars. The pie you see in the picture was made with the leftover pumpkin filling which was not much. If you stick to the measurements given below, your pumpkin layer will be thicker than in the picture.)

  • Pie crust of your choice for a 10" pie pan
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 16 oz can (2 c) cooked, mashed pumpkin
  • 12 oz can (1 1/2 c) evaporated milk
  • 2 slightly beaten eggs
Praline Layer:
  • 1/4 c firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1/4 c cold butter
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans
  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbs milk
  • 1 tsp grated orange peel
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • Enough sugar to sweeten the topping
Prepare pie crust and line your pie pan. Preheat the oven to 425F.

In a large bowl, combine all filling ingredients; beat until blended. Pour into pie crust-lined oan and bake for 15 minutes.

Reduce oven to 350F. In small bowl, combine brown sugar and flour. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle over the pumpkin filling. Bake for an additional 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely.

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, milk and orange peel; mix until smooth. In another bowl, sweeten and whip the cream. Add the whipped cream to the cheese mixture and fold until the two are uniformly combined. Spoon over the cooled pie. Dust with pumpkin pie spice if desired.

Pumpkin bars for a crowd