I know there are many people that think all pumpkin pies are the same. But I beg to differ on that one! The addition of the cooked penuche incorporated in the custard adds more of a caramel flavor, but yet, it's not too sweet at all! The cream adds the richness and body to the custard, and it makes for a very flavorful and silky pumpkin pie! The crust is buttery and super flaky, and the additional "extra special touch" of the cinnamon walnut sugar mixture caramelized on top really makes this pumpkin pie stand out from the rest! Pumpkin pie is pretty easy to make in general, and although this recipe may seem lengthy, the additional cooked sugar step only takes you 10 extra minutes to make! The walnut sugar topping is pretty simple too, and if you don't want to fuss with it, then by all means, just skip it! It's all up to you, what your personal taste is, and how much time you have on your hands. Just beware; I was in a bit of a hurry when I was using the torch to caramelize the topping, and scorched some of the nuts! (As you can see by the pic!) Take some time to adjust your flame, and try to go as evenly as possible over the top. You could also place the pie under a broiler for about 1 min. if you don't have a butane torch. Just keep a close eye on it!
***You can also take another short cut by simply purchasing a pre-made frozen pie crust, or pie crust dough at the store that you roll out and bake.
Yield: 1- 9 or 10in. deep dish pie (8-12 servings)
Crust: **Can be made the day before & pre- baked
1 1/2 c of flour
14 T unsalted butter (very cold!! cut into small cubes)
1 T sugar
1/4 t salt
1/3 c ice water (Can use very cold tap water, or if using ice, make sure to strain ice out before using!)
1 box of pie crust dough, or frozen pie crusts (Follow baking directions on package.)
1) This can be made in a food processor! Simply place all the ingredients, (except the water), in the food processor, and "pulse" until pea-sized clumps form. Slowly drizzle in the ice water, until dough forms. DO NOT OVER MIX!! Scrape dough out of processor, turn out onto saran wrap, shape/ flatten into a disc, wrap and refrigerate for 2-4 hours prior to rolling out. (You can also freeze for 30min.-1 hour if you are shorter on time.)
***If mixing by hand: Place the flour, salt, sugar, and cubed butter in a mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until pea- sized clumps form. Using clean hands, or a wooden spoon, begin to stream in the ice water, and gently mix until the dough is formed. Scrape dough out of bowl, turn out onto a piece of saran wrap, shape/ flatten into a disc, wrap and refrigerate for 2-4 hours prior to rolling out.
Preheat oven to 375F
2) On a clean and lightly floured surface, roll the dough out, carefully transfer your dough into the pie pan. Gently press the dough into pan. Trim the overhang to about 1 inch. Flute the edges, and using a fork, dock the entire pie crust. Line the crust with foil, and fill the inside with dried beans or pie weights. Before baking, refrigerate pie dough for 15-30min.
***If you have extra dough, you can take small leaf- shape cutters, and cut out remaining extra dough to decorate the edge of the crust. Very important: If using decorative shapes for edge of crust, DO NOT place on the crust until after pre-baking! WHY?? The edge of the crust will get the darkest, and by the time the pie is finished baking, may look too dark/ burnt! Sounds crazy, but it's best to use egg wash and place shapes on the pre-baked crust, before placing pumpkin filling, and baking the rest of the way.
3) Bake the pie crust at 375F for about 15-20min, just until the pie crust starts to turn a bit golden. Allow to cool for about 10-15min., and remove weights & foil.
****If using shapes on the edge, take 1 egg- lightly beaten, and using a pastry brush, brush a little egg wash on the cooled crust, place the shapes with the edges touching until the cover the entire edge of the pie. Brush a little egg wash on the top.
1/2 c (packed) brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1 T corn syrup
1 T unsalted butter
2 T heavy cream
1 t. vanilla extract
1) Combine sugars, salt, butter, and cream in a small sauce pan. Cook on medium heat- stirring frequently until sugars dissolve, and mixture begins to simmer. Using a candy thermometer, cook the mixture until temp. reaches 230F (soft ball stage. Total cooking time is about 10min.) Remove from heat, and stir in the vanilla. Allow to cool for about 10-15min. (Make the pumpkin filling while cooling!)
1- 15oz. can pureed pumpkin
1 c heavy cream (half & half, or coffee mate can be substituted as well)
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. ginger (grated fresh, or dry)
1) In a mixing bowl, simply combine pumpkin, eggs, cream, and spices. Add the cooled penuche, and whisk together well.
2) Pour the filling in the pre-baked pie shell. Bake the pie at 350F for 45-55min. (Custard should be "puffed" up, and when you move the pie, the custard shouldn't "jiggle" if finished.) Remove from the oven, and allow the pie to cool.
***Walnut sugar topping:
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 c sugar
hand held butane kitchen torch
***Whipped cream, cool whip, or ice cream
1) In a grinder or processor, simply process all the ingredients until finely chopped. Sprinkle mixture over the pie, and using a torch, carefully heat the topping to create the "brulee" effect! (If the nuts begin to scorch, turn the heat down, and try to move as evenly as possible across the pie.)
2) Cut, and serve the pie with some fresh whipped cream, ice cream, or just as it is! Refrigerate any left over pie for 5-7 days.