Ashley English is the author the new book, A Year of Pies, as well as all four books of the Homemade Living series. She lives in Candler, North Carolina, and writes a blog called Small Measure. For this week’s How-Tuesday post, learn how to make a perfect autumn pie with a recipe from her latest book.
This modern take on the traditional pumpkin pie has a little something for everyone. A robust, no-holds-barred gingersnap crust for the spice lover, a creamy custard filling for the traditionalist, and candied pumpkin seeds on top for the person who likes a little crunch with their sweets. You can make this either in a standard 9-inch pie pan or in a springform pan, which makes for a particularly pretty presentation, with the crust rising up to meet the bright orange filling.
You Will Need:
9-inch pie pan or springform pan
10 ounces gingersnap cookies (about 2½ cups)
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups pumpkin purée*
¾ cup (packed) light brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt
¾ cup heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
2 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pumpkin Seed Topping
½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds (to toast, bake at 275°F for 4 to 5 minutes)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoons ground cloves
* For pumpkin purée, cut a 5- to 6-pound baking pumpkin in half. Place flesh side down on a rimmed baking sheet and roast at 425°F until the flesh has softened, about 45 to 50 minutes. Cool slightly, then remove the seeds, scoop the flesh out of the skin, and puree in a food processor until smooth. You can also simply use solid-pack canned pumpkin.
Makes one 9-inch pie.
1. Make the gingersnap crust. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter the 9-inch pie pan or springform pan and set aside. Crush the gingersnaps either by pulsing them in a food processor or placing them in a plastic freezer bag and rolling over them with a rolling pin. Combine the crushed gingersnaps and melted butter in a medium-size bowl. Stir until fully mixed.
Press the mixture into the pan, covering the bottom fully and pressing the crumbs halfway up the sides. Bake the crust 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and cool completely before filling.
2. Prepare the filling. Combine all the filling ingredients in a medium-size bowl and whisk to blend well.
3. Prepare the pumpkin seed topping. Combine all the topping ingredients in a small bowl. Using a large spoon, stir until the pumpkin seeds are evenly coated with the butter, sugar, and spices.
Variation: Replace the pumpkin seeds with an equal amount of chopped pecans for a pecan praline topping.
4. Assemble the pie. Pour the filling into the prepared gingersnap crust and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven, leaving the oven on. Sprinkle the pumpkin seed topping evenly over the pie, then return it to the oven and bake another 20 minutes, until the pumpkin seeds have browned slightly and the filling has set.
Cool at least 1 hour before serving.
Thank you to Ashley English and Lark Books for sharing this project with us. For more seasonal pie recipes like this one, check out A Year of Pies, available from Amazon or an independent bookstore near you.