Pumpkin pie is an icon of the holidays, no way around it. Every year I make my ‘famous’ pumpkin pie, my parents fight about the gravy and my dad and I go for breakfast. It’s a tradition that no matter how we change the itinerary, occurs annually. Through the years I’ve tried to tweak the pumpkin pie recipe to make it healthier, substituting a whole wheat crust, brown sugar or reduced fat evaporated milk. Last year I tried to make my own crust. Four crusts, two of which went into the garbage and two fully completed pies later, we crunched on pockets of pebble-like sugar balls that didn’t cook down.
This year I got the official request, “Make it normal.” Something about the holiday tradition creates a definition of pie and I know it well. Buuuuutttttt, I still wanted to try my own crust. So I flipped through Bon Appetit magazine and found a ginger crumble crust that seemed very doable. And tasty.
Just to be sure I didn’t get myself into hot water this holiday, I made two pies. One with this untested crust and the other with a store bought crust, per tradition. I hope you give this version a place at your Christmas celebration this year. It has officially replaced the store bought crust on our table.
Foodie Note: The crust recipe serves 1 pie, but I had a cup of leftover crumbles, so I’d say it makes two pies in 9″ dishes. For the ginger cookies, I recommend Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Cookie Thins or Anna’s Ginger Thins. My ‘famous’ pumpkin pie is just a few variations off of the ‘famous’ Libby’s pie from the back of the can 😉
(The gingersnap crust should be the texture of wet sand.)
(Sugar and spice for pumpkin pie)
(Use the back of a measuring cup to press the gingersnap crumbles into the pie dish.)
Makes 2 pies
Gingersnap Crust (adapted from Bon Appetit)
10 oz gingersnaps, see Foodie Notes
2 tablespoons all-purpose-flour
2 tablespoons raw or granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, slightly cooled
1) Place a rack in the middle of oven and preheat to 325*F.
2) Pulse gingersnaps in a food processor until very fine crumbs form, should equal about 2 cups.
3) Add flour, sugar and salt, pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture is the consistency of wet sand.
4) Transfer mixture to a 9″ pie dish, using a measuring cup, press firmly onto bottom and up sides of pie dish. Place pie dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake crust, rotating halfway through, until just set, 15 minutes. Let cool. The crust is partially baked at this point but will continue to cook with pumpkin pie custard.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
4 large eggs
1 can(29oz) Libby’s Pure Pumpkin
2 cans (12oz) Carnation Evaporated Milk
2 9″ parbaked gingersnap pie crusts
1) Preheat oven to 425*F
2) Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg in a small bowl.
3) Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and spice mixture.
4) Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
5) Place crusts onto rimmed baking sheets, pour pumpkin into crusts.
6) Bake at 425*F for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350*F for 40-50 minutes. If crust begins to look dark, cover it with foil. Bake until a knife or toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Let cool.
7) Serve with freshly whipped cream and strong coffee.
(The traditional variation baked just in case)
(We taste-tested the options… the gingersnap crust WON!)