Traditions. My life has been full of them, thanks to my mom. But somehow this year, our Thanksgiving isn't going to be the same. My grandma has moved back to New York, and my brothers will be away so we're having something very small and quaint at my parent's house this year. Guess who WON'T be staying up late to clean fancy dishes all night long with her mom? ME! Honestly, I couldn't be more thrilled. I've been craving a breakup in tradition for awhile now. Ever since a few family members past, it's weird going through the motions, pretending that things are the same.Things aren't. Life changes! People change! And guess what? So do taste buds!
If you are craving a change in your traditional Thanksgiving meal, add this to the mix! It's a pumpkin CREAM pie with a sprinkling of crunchy chopped candied pecans on top. Ever wonder what it would be like to have a pumpkin pie candy bar? This flavor profile totally nails it. The buttery crunch and ginger spice of the crust is TO. DIE. FOR. It's kinda like crunchy toffee! The pumpkin custard is creamy & spicy and the whipped cream with pecan chunks resting in the fluff? OUTRAGEOUS! It's what dreams are made of.
So wake up your guest's taste buds and offer them something different. I don't think they'll miss a slice of the regular ole' pumpkin pie. And if your Great Aunt Sally scoffs at her dessert plate filled with this pie, make sure you put a lump of coal on her plate at the Christmas table. Why does she have to be such a Scrooge??!!
And we're off!
Gather your ingredients.
Crust time! Mash up your gingersnaps and mix them with butter & sugar in a bowl.
Press crumb mixture into your pie plate & bake for 15 mins. Let cool. Yer done with that part.
Simmer the milk on the stove with all the spices!
Whisk the yolks with sugar & cornstarch.
Slowly pour your milk mixture into your yolks- a little bit at a time. Easy now!
After it's completely mixed, put mixture back in the pan and simmer for 2 minutes. Don't overcook!
You'll get scrambled eggs...which I was STARTING to experience. Yikes.
Add in the pumpkin puree & melted butter. Stir! And push through a fine sieve to avoid lumps.
BTW- I got lumps in my filling. I put it through a sieve and got most of them out. I'm over it.
Put the filling in your gingersnap crust shell. Pop it in the fridge! You have 4 hours to kill...
While you're chillin'---make the candied pecans! Melt sugar in a saucepan. Toss in your pecans.
Place them on a piece of parchment paper. CHOP!
After the pie has set, make some whipped cream. Smother it on top. Add chopped nuts on top!
It's kinda like a Pumpkin Cream Pie Pac Man, huh? Take a bite!
Pumpkin Cream Pie
(Adapted from Martha Stewart Living)
- 1 1/2 cup ground gingersnaps (about 30 cookies)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 5 tablespoons salted butter, melted & slightly cooled
PUMPKIN CREAM FILLING:
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- pinch ground cloves
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 1/4 cup solid- pack pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, whisked to medium peaks
- 10 pecan halves (the more the merrier, I say!)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- sprinkle of ground cinnamon
To make the crust, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Thoroughly mix the ground gingersnaps with the melted butter & sugar. Firmly press the cookie crumbs into your 9 inch pie plate and make a lip around the edges. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Set crust aside to cool.
To make the pumpkin cream filling, bring the milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg cloves, 1/4 cup sugar and a pinch of salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk eggs yolks with cornstarch and 1/4 cup sugar in a bowl. Gradually add your milk mixture into your yolk mixture. When you've completely mixed the milk mixture with the yolks, pour liquid back into saucepan. Whisk constantly, over medium heat until bubbling in the center, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in pumpkin puree & the melted butter.
Strain filling through a fine sieve into a clean bowl. Pour the cream filling into the gingersnap crust, smoothing the top with an offset spatula. Refrigerate until set for least 4 hours.
To make the candied nuts, melt 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the sugar starts to turn light brown, add a pinch of cinnamon and drop the pecans in. Gently stir to coat each one, and set them on a piece of parchment paper to cool. After cooling for about 8 minutes, chop the pecans and set them aside for the pie.
When ready, serve with fresh whipped cream on top of the pumpkin cream filling and sprinkle the candied pecans on top!
-I used Trader Joe's Gingersnap cookies for the crust. There were bits of ginger in them. YUM.
-Some of the gingersnaps weren't smashed finely, it added some nice thickness & crunch. Don't fret if yours aren't ground finely.