Caramel Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Streusel is a revelation. I didn’t think I liked pumpkin pie until I had this pie. It has a deep, dark caramel flavor, which by itself would be enough. By itself, you find yourself asking where this pie has been all of your life. But then you have a slice with buttery, crunchy pecan streusel on top and that’s when you reach pumpkin pie nirvana. This really is THE best pumpkin pie in the world.
After you’ve gorged yourself on turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing, you’ll want one or five pieces of this pie. For reals. Save room. Eat it first. Whatever you do, make sure it includes this pie.
Above you see the lovely side view of the sweet and crunchy pecan streusel embedded in the luscious filling. Gah. You want this. You want this bad. I promise you do.
This recipe comes from one of my very favorite, most-used cookbooks, Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Her Playing Around version calls for almonds. But I always go for pecans first, especially when it comes to pumpkin.
Caramel Pumpkin Pie
From Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan
To add a little crunch to this dessert, bake the pie for 10 minutes, then scatter chunks of pecan streusel over the top and finish baking.
1 9-inch pie crust, partially baked and cooled (I recommend this recipe)
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 Pecan Streusel:
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
2 tablespoons cold butter
Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving
For Pecan Streusel:
Mix flour, brown sugar, pecans and cold butter together with your fingertips until crumbly. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
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 deep amber–almost mahogany. 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 bubble shave 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.
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.
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.
Bake pie for 10 minutes and scatter the pecan streusel over the top. Bake for and additional 35 to 40 minutes, or until the filling is puffed and set–tap the pan gently and the filling won’t jiggle. A thin knife inserted into the center of the pie will come out clean–it also leave a gash in the filling, but you’ll be covering it with whipped cream.
Transfer the pie to a rack and cool to room temperature, or cool and refrigerate. When you are ready to serve, spread the lightly whipped cream over the top of the pie. If you’d like a dressier look, w hip the cream until it is firm, put it into a piping bag fitted with a start tip adn pipe rosettes over the surface of the pie. Alternatively, you can pipe the cream in a lattice pattern.
Yield: one pie, 8-10 servings