Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pumpkin Praline Pie with a Ginger Cookie Crust

I'm still searching for the perfect pumpkin pie recipe.  Last year, I used the recipe from Chez Panisse Desserts, which was quite good but not perfect.  Here's my attempt this year (very unconventional and a bit more complex):

Crust
about 9 ginger molasses crisps
5 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons rapadura sugar

Grind the cookies in a food processor to a fine crumb and measure 1&1/2 cups.  Melt the butter and stir in the crumbs and sugar.  Press firmly in the bottom and up the sides of a pie plate.

Filling
2-3 small pie pumpkins
1/2 cup rapadura sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
a pinch of ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup heavy cream
seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean
3 eggs, beaten

Cut pumpkins in half, deseed, and bake, cut side down, for minutes at 400, until soft when pierced. When cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh and add 2 cups to a food processor.  Puree with rapadura, spices and salt.  In a small pot, cook puree at low heat to evaporate off some moisture, stirring in the cream.  Remove from heat, allow to cool a bit and whisk in the vanilla and eggs quickly.

Pour the hot filling into the crust and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, or until the top of the pie just starts to crack.

Topping
1 cup pecans, chopped fine
1/2 cup rapadura sugar
pinch sea salt
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

While the pie is baking, mix together the topping ingredients (except for the evaporated can sugar). When the pie just starts to crack, top with the topping mixture, sprinkle the evaporated cane sugar over the top, and bake for another 10 minutes.

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