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nosh friday: pumpkin pie with pepita, nut and ginger topping

November 20, 2010

As much as all things pumpkin jazz me up throughout the autumn, I’ll admit that I’ve never been particularly partial to pumpkin pie. I’m not sure what it is but somehow, it has always failed to excite. Sure, it’s tasty and sure, I have a slice, but I’ve never bothered making it before. This changed, however, when I came face-to-face with the dynamite pumpkin pie recipe featured in November’s Bon Appetit.

Not only is this pumpkin pie silky, spicy and light, but the sugared nut, pumpkin seed and crystallized ginger topping is a fantastic and crunchy taste contrast. I made this for my Cooking Club’s Thanksgiving feast and although we all ate small slices (being stuffed to the point of pain from all the other treats), we agreed it was totally sexy pie.

This would be a lovely addition to your Thanksgiving table. I also think the topping would be fantastic over apple pie or even just ice cream. It’s similar to a praline and is so easy to make. (I told this to my cooking club and they giggled at me. As a pastry chef-in-training, I’m pretty sure they thought I was exaggerating. But really, guys, SO EASY!)

I am officially off of school for the next week, which is like letting out a giant breath. As much as I really, really love being in culinary school, it will be nice to have some time off to sleep in, bake (I know, it’s an addiction) and spend time doing not much of anything. For instance, Nosh Friday is a day late simply because I have spent the last 24 hours largely reading, sleeping and developing an unbelievable dark chocolate peppermint granola recipe with my dear friend, Amanda (more on that later). It’s mostly pure laziness that this is a day late, but I know you don’t mind. (Except my dear friends who left me impatient notes on Facebook, demanding Nosh Friday. This is for you, S + N.)

Happy Turkey Day!
Pumpkin pie for one and all!

Pumpkin pie with Pepita, Nut and Ginger Topping
From Bon Appetit (November 2010)

1 unbaked pie crust (I wasn’t a big fan of the recipe in Bon Appetit, but you might try PW’s)

1 T. unsalted butter
1/4 c. sliced almonds
1/4 c. chopped pecans
2 T. unsalted raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 T. packed golden brown sugar
Large pinch of salt
2 T. slivered crystallized ginger

1 15-oz. can pure pumpkin puree
1/2 c. packed golden brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 T. mild-flavored molasses (light)
1 T. all purpose flour
1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
3/4 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 c. heavy whipping cream

Roll out your pie crust and transfer to a 9-inch pie dish, pressing the dough in evenly and crimping the crust. (PW’s tutorial is very helpful, for those of us like me who are still a bit hopeless with pie crusts — please see the first photo below. YIKES.) Stick the pie crust in the freezer while you make the filling. (I found out in class the other day that this helps keep the crimp in the crust while it bakes and helps it maintain a flaky texture, as well as a non-soggy bottom. We don’t want no soggy bottoms ’round here.)

For the topping, melt the butter in a skillet. Add the almonds, pecans and pepitas; toast until the nuts are lightly brown and the pepitas start popping (really, they make popping noises!), about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the brown sugar and salt over them and stir until the sugar melts and the nuts are coated. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the ginger. Let it cool.

Postition a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Line the frozen pie shell with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake crust until the sides are set, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the foil and beans. Bake until the crust is just set and the sides are pale golden, about 5 to 7 minutes longer. Remove crust from the oven and maintain the oven temperature.

Combine the pumpkin, both sugars, molasses, flour, spices and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk until well-blended. Whisk in the eggs and egg yolk, then cream. Pour the filling into the warm crust and sprinkle the topping around the edges in a 1 1/2 inch border (some topping might sink in, that’s okay).

Bake the pie for 20 minutes. If the crust is browning too quickly, wrap a foil collar around the edges. (I didn’t do this and mine was fine. It was mostly because I got frustrated with the foil.) Return the pie to the oven and bake until the crust is golden and the filling is set in the center, about 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer pie to a rack and cool completely before slicing. Served with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Swoon, eat, repeat.

Serves 8 to 10

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