The Great Pumpkin Pie

For me, it’s not officially fall until there’s  squash in the pantry and sweet potatoes on my dinner plate. Every year, I wait rather impatiently for these comforting carotinoid-rich orbs to come into season. I give serious consideration to requesting a pumpkin pie instead of a birthday cake for my birthday in July, and I break out “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” unseasonably early. I rejoice when the week at the farmers’ market finally comes when the sweet potato vendor is present with her mountainous bounty,

and I guiltlessly indulge in fall-flavored lattes and ice cream concoctions as often as possible. This year is no different. I’ve cooked my way through everything from pumpkin cheesecake to pumpkin muffins with pumpkin cream cheese, to sweet potato fries, to herb roasted winter squash and a pot of Everything Soup featuring sweet potato. But my favorite Fall dish to cook and to eat has always been the king of squash dishes, the dessert of all fall desserts: pumpkin pie.

I made the following recipe for Thanksgiving this year; there were no leftovers. Using homemade pumpkin purée is really what makes this pie so Great, but you can used canned in a pinch. The pat-in ginger-graham crust is an easy way to add extra flare and flavor, but you can substitute a regular crust if you prefer. This recipe is for one pie…if you love pumpkin as much as I do,  I strongly suggest (at least) doubling  it.

The Great Pumpkin Pie Recipe

1 cup graham crackers crumbs

1 cup ginger snap crumbs

1/3 cup butter, melted

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

¼ teaspoon allspice

¼ teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 1/2 cups roasted pumpkin purée (recipe below)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup coconut milk

To make pumpkin purée, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut a sugar pie pumpkin (about three pounds) into quarters. Remove stem and scoop out pulp and seeds. Place on a baking sheet and add enough water to cover bottom of pan. Bake until tender throughout, about an hour. Let cool slightly. Scoop out flesh and purée in food processor until well blended. Measure out 1 ½ cups and set aside.

To make the pie crust, combine graham cracker and ginger snap crumbs, melted butter and honey in a food processor. Process until very fine and all ingredients begin to come together. Press firmly into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, place racks in the middle of the oven.

To make the pumpkin pie filling, whisk together the brown sugar, spices, salt, and cornstarch. Stir in the pumpkin purée and vanilla, and then stir in the eggs and coconut milk until just combined. Pour into pie crust and bake for about 50 minutes. The center of the pie should just barely move when you jiggle the pie; the edges should be set. Let cool to room temperature (I like mine best slightly chilled—a job for the refrigerator). Top with whipped cream and cinnamon, and dig in.

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