Nobody has ever, ever, raved about the crust on a pumpkin pie. That’s because the crust is always boring as hell: crumbly, hard, flavorless. Really, the crust on your average pumpkin pie is just there to hold the rest of the pie together, or to make sure you can actually qualify the thing as pumpkin pie, instead of pumpkin pile of garbage.
That’s why we need to change the recipe. Instead of spending hours on the rest of Thanksgiving and doing the ol’ Half-Assed Shuffle through the finishing plate, take a little extra time and make this amazing pumpkin pie. The brown butter is the extra special secret trick that's going to take this crust from "good" to "I have to change my pants now, excuse me." It’ll be better, your family might not complain as much, and most of all, you’ll be able to look yourself in the mirror that night before you go to sleep. Which…you’ll probably be able to do anyway, but at least you won’t be looking at the face of a person who made the world’s most uninteresting dessert. —Fresh Beats, Fresh Eats
Test Kitchen Notes
Fresh Beats, Fresh Eats is right. Too often, delicious pumpkin pie is delivered via a limp, soggy excuse for a crust of which no baker wants to take ownership. The solution, of course, is a snappy cookie crust that packs an additional wallop of flavor. The gingersnaps only enhance the spice of the pumpkin filling, and the whipped cream is the gilded lily on top of an already decadent dessert. I ought to mention that the baking time was vastly different, so be sure to count more on the visual indicators than the time, and bake to your liking as well; I baked the pie for an additional 30 minutes! —TaraT
- Prep time 30 minutes
- Cook time 1 hour 10 minutes
- Makes 1 (9-inch) pie
(½ stick) unsalted butter
gingersnap cookies (about 32 cookies)
- Filling, Topping, and Whipped Cream
1 1/4 cups
packed brown sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons
ground cinnamon, divided
canned pumpkin purée
heavy cream, divided
- In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Continue to cook until it starts to turn brown. If it smells kind of nutty, it's ready, and it'll make your crust taste nutty and awesome too.
- Crumble the cookies into a food processor, which is WAY more painful than it sounds. Seriously, it’s like grinding tiny bits of kitchen tile into your hands. Pulse until they’re nice and broken up. Add the butter, then pulse a few more times until well combined.
- Press into a 9-inch pie pan using something flat, making sure it goes up the sides. You’re gonna have some spill-over; that’s okay.
- Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 325°F. Bake the crust for 15 minutes, then let cool on a wire rack. Increase the oven temperature to 350°F.
- Now for the actual pie part, which you can do while the crust is chilling/baking. If you read ahead, congratulations! You can now use this tip. If you didn’t, you just spent a bunch of time staring at crust. How’s that feel?
- Filling, Topping, and Whipped Cream
- For the filling, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, kosher salt, 1 cup of the brown sugar, and ½ teaspoon of the cinnamon. Add the pumpkin and 1 cup of the cream and whisk well to combine.
- For the topping, in a small bowl, combine the sea salt, ½ teaspoon of the cinnamon, and the remaining ¼ cup of the brown sugar.
- Pour the filling into the crust, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven (it will still be quite liquid-y). Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Cover the pie with the topping and continue to bake for 25 minutes more. Let the pie cool until room temperature, then refrigerate overnight.
- For the whipped cream, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the powdered sugar, vanilla, and the remaining 1 cup of the cream and ½ teaspoon of the cinnamon until soft peaks form.
- Slice the pie and serve with the whipped cream alongside.