November 10, 2010

Pumpkin Cream Pie

pumpkin. cream. PIE.

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.

making crust

Press crumb mixture into your pie plate & bake for 15 mins. Let cool. Yer done with that part.

Easy, huh?

out of the oven

Simmer the milk on the stove with all the spices!

milk with spices

Whisk the yolks with sugar & cornstarch.

whisking eggs & 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.

back on the stove

Add in the pumpkin puree & melted butter. Stir! And push through a fine sieve to avoid lumps.

mixing in the pumpkin

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…

to the fridge with you

While you’re chillin’—make the candied pecans! Melt sugar in a saucepan. Toss in your pecans.

pecan glazing

Place them on a piece of parchment paper. CHOP!

before the chop

After the pie has set, make some whipped cream. Smother it on top. Add chopped nuts on top!

pumpkin creamy pie <3

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


  • 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
  • salt
  • 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!

Shutterbean Notes:

-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.

  • Vanessa

    My husband LOVES pumpkin pie. He has a b-day coming up & I just figured out what I’m gonna make for him! Thanks for sharing!

  • Katrina

    Yes! This looks amazing.

  • Marguerite @ Starting in December

    Such a welcome distraction before dinner tonight! I see candied pecans in my immediate future.

  • Beverly

    Hey Babycakes,

    Can I count on you to make this for Thanksgiving?


  • amanda

    reading your blog just makes my day! great recipe- will be sure to try it asap… was that a tub of gingersnaps from Trader Joes? If so, didnt know they had them!

    • Tracy

      YES!! It is. They are like extra gingery too! Lil hunks. they are super super good! And THANKS Amanda! Your comments make my day! xo

  • Jessica

    I’m not a big pumpkin pie fan, but all the reasons why disappear with this! Hello, Thanksgiving dessert contender!

  • Eva

    This looks magically delicious!

  • snowystylista

    Oh that looks fantastic. You are right about tradition, things need to move on eh?? I am so glad I will be in another country this christmas so I’ll avoid that nightmare!!! e xx

    • Tracy

      It’s not until we get a break that we have a chance to realize what we like/miss about traditions!! We’ll see how this year pans out 😉

  • Megan

    This makes me super hungry. Maybe I’ll make this instead of turkey for thanksgiving.

  • erinlucy

    this looks so good. you know i’ve never ever ever in my long legged life eaten pumpkin pie?! it’s not really something we do here in australia. but this looks so delicious i think i might have to make it!

  • Michelle

    It looks delicious. I love the lighting in all your photos. Just gorgeous!

  • Seanna Lea

    If you want to kick it up just a tad, when you are whipping your cream you can add a tiny amount (like a teaspoon or less) of brandy. The last time I did this it still whipped to a respectable loftiness but had that lovely brandy flavor that goes so well with traditional holiday desserts.

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  • Vanessa Rieck

    Hi There,
    I made this recipe for thanksgiving TODAY and I made it last night and it still hasn’t set yet. Has anyone had this issue and if so what did you do? I don’t know what to do!!!


    • megan

      you have to keep cooking the filling until it thickens up, THEN add the pumpkin. i ended up adding the pumpkin too soon and it was hella watery, but i put it back on the stove and cooked it (on medium high) until it thickened up. good as new.

      • Becca

        Ooh I wish I had seen this, because mine is already in the crust and definitely not setting 🙁 Is this the sort of thing that baking might fix, or is that totally silly? I’ve never made any non-baked pies before.

      • Tracy

        thanks for helping with that, megan! I was away from my computer all weekend! I made the pie for the second time the night before Thanksgiving and had a hard time getting the custard to thicken, because I was paranoid about my eggs cooking. But after awhile, it finally worked.

        One of my friends had a problem waiting for the custard to thicken up, and ended up putting the pie in the freezer! Apparently it turned out FANTASTIC. I think it must have tasted like pumpkin ice cream!

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  • Tracey

    I made this for Thanksgiving and it was delicious! Thanks for the recipe and lovely photos.

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  • Jade

    I made this for Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit! Everyone loved it and the kids especially loved the ginger snap crust; they couldn’t get enough of it!! Simply divine!

  • Noelle Pee

    This pie was really good! I made it for Thanksgiving! I didn’t strain the pumpkin and I really enjoyed the texture. The only thing that I would do differently is use less of the crust crumbs. I used a 9″ glass plate and I felt like my crust was too thick. But my husband LOVED the thick crust so I guess to each his own! THANK YOU!

  • Kelsey

    YES. I just discovered the gingersnaps at Trader Joes and as soon as I ate one I thought, “I’ve got to grind these up and put a pie in it.” THIS pie, obvi.

  • Megan Gordon

    ummm how did I miss this?! There is a whole lot of FALL GOODNESS going on on your site right now. Loving it! Miss you (you’re a cute raccoon).

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  • Sharon Klein

    Made this today and was super watery when I followed the recipe. We started over, cooked the filling for 5-6 min. Instead of 2 and added a touch more corn starch. I think it will be thick enough now but I have now learned my lesson about trying a new recipe on thanksgiving day!

  • Sofie T

    Oh man, I totally overcooked the filling and got bits of scrambled egg. Then the filling didn’t really set and was watery too. On the plus side, the gingersnap crust was delicious! Gonna have to try this again and be more vigilant when cooking the filling. 🙂

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  • Krystal

    Made this for my parents and husband and they absolutely LOVED it. The gingersnap crust was our favorite part! Definitely a perfect finale to our Thanksgiving dinner. Thanks for such a great recipe!

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