Make Ahead

Pumpkin Pie With Gingersnap Crust & Cinnamon Whipped Cream

November  2, 2013
16 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

Nobody has ever, ever, raved about the crust on a pumpkin pie. That’s because the crust’s 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 Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust and Cinnamon Whipped Cream. 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: I baked the pie for an additional 30 minutes! —TaraT

Watch This Recipe
Pumpkin Pie With Gingersnap Crust & Cinnamon Whipped Cream
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Makes one 9-inch pie
Ingredients
  • Crust
  • 8 ounces gingersnap cookies (about 32 cookies)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (1/2 stick)
  • Pie, topping, and whipped cream
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar (for topping)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (for topping)
  • 1 pinch sea salt (for topping)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (for whipped cream)
  • 3/8 cup powdered sugar (for whipped cream)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (for whipped cream)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (for whipped cream)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Crust
  2. First, melt your butter in a small pan over medium heat. Now, this 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." Let the butter melt, and then keep cooking it 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.
  3. Crumble the gingersnap 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. Once they’re all in there, pulse them in the processor a few times until they’re nice and broken up, add the butter, and then pulse a few more times until it’s all combined.
  4. Next, press it into a 9-inch pie pan using something flat and make sure it goes up the sides. You’re gonna have some spill-over; that’s okay. This is basically the crumbliest thing of all time. It’s a good thing.
  5. Throw the crust in your refrigerator for 20 minutes, and preheat your oven to 325° F. Once the crust is done chilling, bake it for 15 minutes, then set it on a cooling rack. Turn your oven up to 350 after you’re done with the crust.
  6. 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?
  1. Pie, topping, and whipped cream
  2. The pie part’s simple: Dump everything that isn’t pumpkin or cream (that’s brown sugar, eggs, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves) into a bowl. Whisk it. Then add the pumpkin and the cream. Whisk it. You now have pumpkin pie filling.
  3. Combine the brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon for the topping in another small bowl.
  4. Then pour the filling into the crust, cover the crust with tin foil, and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes.
  5. After half an hour, take the pie out (it will still be quite liquid-y), cover it with your topping ingredients, and bake it for another 25 minutes at 325° F.
  6. While that’s going on, make your whipped cream. This one’s easy too: put all the whipped cream ingredients in a stand mixer, whisk at medium high until peaks form.
  7. Take your pie out, put it on a cooling rack until it’s at room temperature, and stick it in the refrigerator overnight. Then put it on a plate with some whipped cream and shove it in your face.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kelly Knickerbocker De Los Santos
    Kelly Knickerbocker De Los Santos
  • Tonia Sterner
    Tonia Sterner
  • Annaperenna
    Annaperenna
  • Lynn Sarnow Born
    Lynn Sarnow Born
  • Miss_Karen
    Miss_Karen

56 Reviews

ksgrey November 27, 2020
This is really good. The whipped cream is there to cut through the sweet, so I do disagree with other reviewers saying you don't need it...and I admit that I've eaten half of this pie in the last 24 hours.
I followed another reviewer's suggestion and used an entire can of pumpkin to make sure it set (and cooked that down to reduce liquid even more), which worked beautifully. OR if you have a tried and true pumpkin pie filling recipe, just use that. Alone, I didn't think the filling was all that special.

But my bottom was soggy...I'm not sure if it was due to me baking it the day before or the sugar topping turning to liquid in the fridge overnight and seeping down (Did this happen to anyone else? I thought I cooled the pie completely before refrigeration and covered it tightly).

All that being said, even my soggy bottomed mess was yummy. I'll definitely try this one more time to perfect and skip the sugar topping to cut on sweetness.
 
ksgrey November 27, 2020
Yes, this is really good. The whipped cream is there to cut through the sweet, so I do disagree with other reviewers saying you don't need it...and I admit that I've eaten half of this pie in the last 24 hours.
I followed another reviewer's suggestion and used an entire can of pumpkin to make sure it set (and cooked that down to reduce liquid even more), which worked beautifully. OR if you have a tried and true pumpkin pie filling recipe, just use that. Alone, I didn't think the filling was all that special.

But my bottom was soggy...I'm not sure if it was due to me baking it the day before or the sugar topping turning to liquid in the fridge overnight and seeping down (Did this happen to anyone else? I thought I cooled the pie completely before refrigeration and covered it tightly).

All that being said, even my soggy bottomed mess was yummy. I'll definitely try this one more time to perfect and skip the sugar topping to cut on sweetness.
 
lbn November 26, 2020
This was delicious!! I had no trouble getting it to set, it was smooth and delicious. If anything, I could have baked it a little less, as the crust was just a bit burnt. (Both the part inexpertly covered with foil and the bottom.) With the cinnamon whipped cream (non-optional IMO), it's like a three layer experience of different flavors/textures. Highly recommend!
 
lbn November 26, 2020
This was delicious!! I had no trouble getting it to set, it was smooth and delicious. If anything, I could have baked it a little less, as the crust was just a bit burnt. (Both the part inexpertly covered with foil and the bottom.) With the cinnamon whipped cream (non-optional IMO), it's like a three layer experience of different flavors/textures. Highly recommend!
 
Kelly K. December 7, 2019
“Best pumpkin pie” was what I heard by the 20 people I baked this for on Thanksgiving. We ran out and should have made three instead of one because everyone wanted it over the other pies. So grateful for this recipe. The crust was loved but also the pumpkin pie filling and the brow sugar topping Is really nice.
 
Tonia S. November 30, 2019
So, I totally overbooked this pie because it just wasn't setting up for me. I think the recipe results in a filling that is on the runny side compared to other pumpkin pies I've baked in the past. BUT, even though it was a woefully ugly pie (sunken in the middle, and dark to the point where someone asked if it was a chocolate pie...) my family still declared it the best pumpkin pie they'd ever had. PHEW! It's that delicious cookie crust! I'll never make pumpkin pie with the tradition crust again. But next time I'll revert to a previous recipe for the filling–one that is thicker and sets up faster.
 
Tonia S. November 30, 2019
*overbaked
 
Annaperenna November 28, 2018
Best. Pumpkin. Pie. Ever.
I made this for Thanksgiving along with an apple pie (which was also very good) and for the first time ever the pumpkin pie was gone before the apple pie.
The only thing I did differently was that I took the ginger snaps and put them in a heavy zip-loc bag and crushed them with a rolling pin before putting them in the food processor (because I am a delicate hothouse flower and I didn't think I could break them up by hand). Fabulous recipe. Thanks for sharing.
 
Lynn S. November 28, 2018
I crushed them in a bag too! Because I too am a delicate flower. :-)
 
Lynn S. November 25, 2018
Made this for Thanksgiving and it was literally THE BEST pumpkin pie ever! I used the super thin gingersnaps from Sweden you can get at World Market. I also used dark brown sugar because the recipe didn't specify light or dark brown sugar and that's what I had on hand. I think that made the filling a bit darker than the typical pumpkin pie, so I tasted it the day before to make sure it was good and O-M-G, SO GOOD! I also only did the topping on half of the pie since I wasn't sure how everyone would like it and I can say the topping definitely pluses the whole pie! Thank you for my new go-to pumpkin pie recipe!!
 
Lynn S. November 25, 2018
Oh, and I made it exactly as written.
 
senorahughes November 21, 2018
Can you pre-bake the crust and freeze it? Thanks! x
 
Kelly K. December 7, 2019
Yes!! I pre baked the crust and put it in the fridge for 5-7 hours and then made the rest so I think the freezer would be fine too.
 
Miss_Karen November 24, 2017
I made this yesterday - well, the crust part anyway... SNARF! I used a different 'go to' filling because it works well for me. With that said, I had some excess crumb mixture left over after I pressed it into the pan. Yup, you guessed it- I tweaked it by adding crystallized ginger and minced hazelnuts to make a streusal topping. The kidling says I MUST make this again!
 
Amy November 24, 2017
I've just baked this and it smells amazing but looks a bit like a sand pie. The topping stayed exactly the same looking as it did when I spread it across the top - like light-brown sand. I combined brown sugar, cinnamon and salt and sprinkled all over the top. There was quite a lot so it covered the pie fully. How does it look so crumbly / carmelized in the photo? I used general soft brown sugar as recipe didn't specify a specific type.
 
Kim November 24, 2017
I agree too the topping on my pie looked like sand and not like the crumble on the photo. I used a light brown sugar because it didn't specify? The pie tasted delicious
 
Kella November 24, 2017
I made this for thanksgiving. I did not prebake the crust. I quess hat's why it was mushy, and it wouldn't come out the dish. The second problem was that the filling was too soft. Was it because I added a whole can of pumpkin filling instead of 1 cup. It tasted good.
 
Brenda A. November 23, 2017
This was hands down the BEST pumpkin pie I have ever eaten! Thank you!!
 
JayKayTee November 23, 2017
Made this last year and I had to bake it 3x as long as directions, so it wasn't pumpkin soup. Baked this 2 years ago and had to bake it longer too, but it did turn out as my comments reflect. I'm going to try a different filling, this year but won't give up the crust!
 
JayKayTee November 23, 2017
I just went through 4 other pumpkin pie recipes and the difference across all is this recipe only calls for 1 cup of puree; the other three use 15-16 oz; the liquid across all is 1 cup; eggs vary only by two added an additional yolk. So, I will give this a go again but use double the puree. Fingers are crossed.
 
fz November 23, 2017
Bon Appétit recommends using Libby's 100% pure pumpkin because it has the least amount of water content. I'd also make sure that you whip the pumpkin mixture until it becomes thicker.
 
JayKayTee November 24, 2017
used 15 oz of pumpkin puree, turned out perfectly. Well, minus the problem I have with covering it with tin foil. When I remove it I envarably mar the top . . . sigh. The brown sugar topping can be omitted for a pie that is less sweet .

fz I did whip it to mix and again before adding mixture to the crust. The filling puffed up after the first 30" bake, hence my aluminum foil problem. but filling fell upon cooling. I'm not sure why some people can get this pie to set with 1 cup of puree and I cannot. I'll stick with 15oz of puree to alleviate my T-day anxiety :o)
 
sslater November 22, 2017
Salted or unsalted butter for the crust?
 
fz November 22, 2017
Unsalted!!! The rule of thumb is to always use unsalted butter (cooking and baking) unless otherwise called for. And don't forget to brown it!
 
fz November 16, 2017
My new go-to-recipe for pumpkin pie! Made the afternoon before a potluck, and kept in the fridge over night. Was a huge hit.

*Crust note: I used Mel-Del gingersnap cookies from Whole Foods.

*Filling edit: Powdered ginger spice can be a bit strong, so I cut the ginger down to a 1/4 teaspoon and upped the cinnamon to a heaping 1/2 teaspoon. For salt I used the flaky mandolin stuff, I think it works better in baking.

*Topping edit: 1/2 brown sugar, 1/2 turbinado sugar.

*Whipped Topping edit: I did not add anything to the whipped topping as the pie is extremely sweet and rich. The unsweetened cream was very welcome.

Unlike other commenters, I had no issue with the pie setting in the suggested time.
 
Kim November 15, 2017
could you brûlée instead of the crumble?
 
gail November 8, 2017
I plan to make this and take it to someone's house for dinner. My question is that if I make the whipped cream at home will it still be good to use hours later when we eat dessert? Or should I just buy regular whipped cream in a can to take with me?
 
fz November 16, 2017
Whipped topping is best made fresh, but I've found it can last around 24 hours in the fridge.
 
Kim November 23, 2016
AH guys, this did not set for me. Maybe because I used all organic ingredients, but at the moment this is a phenomenally tasting pumpkin pie soup. What did I do wrong??
 
Author Comment
Fresh B. September 19, 2017
Hmm, what rack did you bake it on, top or bottom?
And do you have an oven thermometer to verify that your oven is the right temperature/calibrated correctly?
 
JayKayTee November 29, 2015
I don't know if I've had GREAT pumpkin pie before...but I know I have now! The gingersnap cookie & butter crust sent this pumpkin pie into a whole new taste experience. Thank you for sharing this! Hubby, proclaimed it the best damn pumpkin pie he's ever had, I second that!

Notes:
~I felt I could have used more crumbs, simply to make sure enough crumbs climbed the pie plate sides.
~I'd try making this pie in a 10" cast iron pan (make sure there's enough room in the frig for the pan).
~I thought the topping might kick the pie into the sweetness stratosphere, but it didn't
~I didn't make the whipped cream, but served with high-quality vanilla ice cream in a shallow bowl - amazing
~~Ice Cream idea: I mixed in some chunks of left-over gingersnaps (that I lightly soaked in Frangelico liqueur - just to soften them) to the ice cream. Help me! :o)
~I heated a piece pie before eating it - it changed the texture and lessened the eating experience. This pie is definitely better room temp or from the refrigerator
~Mis-read the instructions and covered the entire pie. All turned out fine, though adding the topping with the center of the pie without a surface "crust" let the topping incorporate into the mixture instead of staying on top. Taste buds did not register this as a problem.