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
one 9-inch pie
gingersnap cookies (about 32 cookies)
melted butter (1/2 stick)
Pie, topping, and whipped cream
packed brown sugar
canned pumpkin purée
packed brown sugar (for topping)
cinnamon (for topping)
sea salt (for topping)
heavy cream (for whipped cream)
powdered sugar (for whipped cream)
cinnamon (for whipped cream)
vanilla extract (for whipped cream)
In This Recipe
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Pie, topping, and whipped cream
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.
Combine the brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon for the topping in another small bowl.
Then pour the filling into the crust, cover the crust with tin foil, and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes.
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.
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.
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.