Dories Caramel Pumpkin Pie on its own is nothing to sneeze at. She takes a pretty standard pumpkin pie recipe and amps it up by swirling a luscious homemade caramel sauce into the filling. The marriage of that cool, smooth pumpkin and velvety, rich caramel is definitely something to wake up your taste buds. Adding a nutty, buttery streusel to the mix is nothing short of brilliant!
If the mere thought of making homemade caramel makes you want to run screaming into the night, you can skip that step and use a good quality store bought caramel sauce instead. Just add about 3/4 of a cup to your other filling ingredients. It won't be exactly the same, but you will still have a delicious pie.
Instead of using the recommended regular pie crust for this one, I decided to try it with a spicy gingersnap crust. I just liked the idea of something crunchy to go with all that creaminess. That, and because I was feeling lazy and didnt want to make a crust from scratch. It was a good call. As planned, the gingersnap crust was crunchy, but with a tiny bit of a chewy vibe going on. I really loved how it worked in this pie. The texture was a nice counterpoint to the filling and all of the spices played really nicely together.
This Streuseled Caramel Pumpkin Pie is going to be a strong contender for a spot on my Thanksgiving table this year. Hopefully, it will find a place be on yours too.
Streuseled Caramel Pumpkin Pie (liberally adapted from Baking: My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan)
For the crust:
2 cups gingersnap crumbs
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons dark rum, cognac, or apple cider
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Tiny pinch of ground allspice
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
For the streusel topping:
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
2 tablespoons cold butter
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F.
1. To make the crust: In a large bowl, whisk together gingersnap crumbs, brown sugar, flour, and salt. Add butter and stir until mixture is moist and well combined. The crumbs should hold together when pinched with your fingers. If the crumbs do not hold together, add up to 1 tablespoon of cold water, a teaspoon at a time, and stir to combine.
2. Press crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate, evenly covering the bottom and sides. Place pie plate on a baking sheet and bake until crust is fragrant and set, about 10 minutes. Transfer pie to a wire rack and let cool completely.
3. To make the caramel: Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the sugar evenly over the bottom of a large nonstick skillet. Place the skillet over medium-high heat and staying close by, cook until the sugar melts and starts to color. Once you see a little color, gently swirl the skillet so that the sugar colors evenly. Cook the sugar, without stirring, until it turns a deep amber. The sugar will bubble up and foam and soon it will start to smoke. It is very dramatic, and it might make you think you've gone too far, but you want a dark (though not burned black) color. The darker the sugar, the fuller the flavor. When the bubbles have gone from foamy to big and fat, you will probably have reached the right color. To check the color, drop a bit of the caramelized sugar on a white plate.
4. Lower the heat to medium, stand back and pour the cream into the skillet. The sugar will bubble and hiss and, if the cream was cold, it may even clump. Just continue to cook, stirring, and it will even out. Add the rum (or cider) and butter and cook just until the caramel is smooth. Pour the caramel into a heatproof pitcher or bowl and cool it for about 15 minutes.
5. To make the streusel: Mix all of the ingredients together with a pastry blender or your fingers until crumbly. Refrigerate until ready to use.
6. To make the filling: Working with a whisk in a large bowl, beat the pumpkin to break it up and smooth it. Add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat to blend. Whisk in the spices, salt, vanilla and eggs, beating until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the caramel. Rap the bowl against the counter a few times to de-bubble the filling, then pour the filing into the crust.
7. Bake the pie for 10 minutes. Scatter chunks of pecan streusel over the top and continue baking for another 35 to 40 minutes, or until the filling is puffed and set. If you tap the pan gently, the filling shouldn't jiggle. A thin knife inserted into the center of the pie will come out clean. It will also leave a gash in the filling, but you can cover it with whipped cream later.
8. Transfer the pie to a rack and cool to room temperature. Serve with freshly whipped cream, if desired.