Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pumpkin Pie With Brown Sugar Pecan Topping & No Evaporated Milk

When I saw a picture of this topping-ed pie in November's Bon Appetit, I got understandably excited. And it wasn't just because this is a twist on a classic, because in all honesty, I was a little dubious about the necessity of topping on a pumpkin pie. I mean, it's a classic for a reason - you pretty much throw some whipped cream on that baby and call it a night.

But I decided to try it, mostly because my mother-in-law requested a birthday pumpkin pie on the same day this issue of Bon Appetit arrived at my door, and I took that as a sign. The Universe is trying to tell me something, I thought. Something... about pie. And so I listened, because The Universe doesn't often speak to me about pies, and it turns out the thing it was saying was Daaaaaannnnaaa [echo echo echo].... This recipeeeee.... is deeeeelicious.

In case you were wondering, The Universe also tends to echo its vowel sounds.

I did make a few changes along the way, including subbing in pecans instead of walnuts and changing a few spices to taste, but I stayed pretty faithful. Oh, and I used the Moosewood Book of Desserts pie crust recipe, as it's my Old Faithful. And I topped it all off with some awesome cinnamon whipped cream. Okay, so actually I changed a lot more than I thought I did. It was delicious, anyway.

Pumpkin Pie with Brown Sugar Pecan Topping adapted from Bon Appetit (serves 8-10)

1 12-inch pre-baked pie crust

  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of kosher salt
1. Pre-bake your pie crust of choice until it's golden brown, then set the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, begin preparing the filling. Whisk together brown sugar, eggs, kosher salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg. When well mixed, whisk in pumpkin and cream until the ingredients are smooth. Pour into (cooled) pie crust.
3. Bake until filling is firm, but not fully set, approximately 30 minutes.
4. While filling is baking, prepare topping. Combine pecan pieces, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. The original recipe calls for this mixture to be processed into "fine crumbs," but I preferred mine more chunky.
5. After filling has firmed, pull pie out of oven and reduce temperature to 325. Sprinkle on the pecan/brown sugar topping. Return to oven and bake until filling is set and pie has puffed up, approximately 15 minutes.
6. Transfer pie to cooling rack and cool completely. And if you're feeling adventurous, top with cinnamon whipped cream.

I found the lack of evaporated milk in this recipe to be particularly refreshing, and I have to admit, dubious though I was, the topping added a lot to the pie's flavor. It was sweet, the tiniest bit salty, and a perfect compliment to the spicy pumpkin filling. In fact, it was so good that the recipe will likely be making an appearance at this year's Thanksgiving dinner.


Hillary said...

I thought I spruced up my pumpkin pie but your brown sugar pecan topping is gorgeous!

Dana said...

Thanks! The topping was incredibly tasty, too. It made me wonder why I ever ate pumpkin pie without it.

Ari said...

Hey D&J!

I tried tastes okay, but I was wondering did yours come out sort of mushy? I mean, it looks okay, but it's not as hardened as pumpkin pie usually is. I think maybe we under cooked's kinda like pecan-pumpkin pudding... :(

Dana said...

It's awesome that you tried the recipe - did you use it because I posted it, or do you subscribe to Bon Appetit? Anyway, the consistency of mine was totally fine - it sounds like you probably did undercook it. Did you let it set in the fridge at all? That might help, too.

Ari said...

Nope, don't have Bon Appetit. Is that a blog? I thought it was high time I mix up my pumpkin recipes, and yours looked like a real find. Have you tried pumpkin cheesecake pie...I do those a lot. Very tasty.

I'll try fridging it...bummer. Gotta try this thing again I think.

carmencooks said...

I also dog-eared the page with this recipe in Bon Appetit and can't wait to try this recipe!!

yellow_fields said...

I made this last night--- It was awesome!! Your recipe was perfectly accurate (a welcome thing after a string of messed up food blog things I've cooked recently).

Here is what I did differently (due to unavailable ingredients):

I used half and half instead of heavy cream, slightly more than 3/4 of a cup (I was worried a full cup would make it too runny or something)

For the topping, all I had was this sliced almond and cranberry mixture (unsalted and unsweetened), no pecans. I followed your topping recipe exactly, but decided to chop it a bit in the food processor so the almonds wouldn't be so chunky.

It was effing amazing. I suggest to anyone that they try the cranberry almond thing. Awesome. Thank you for a great pie to impress the boyfriend's family this holiday! haha :D

Dana said...

Yellow Fields - that cranberry topping sounds amazing, and so perfect for Thanksgiving.

Janie said...

Love the blog. This pie looks great. My great grandmother sued to make the best pumpkin pie..a real old recipe..nothing ever on the top and of course no evaporated milk was so good. I am thinking she wold have loved this topping. She made her own candy and baked goods always..
I am adding you to my blog roll.