I can’t believe this is my first recipe article! If you know me, then you know how much I love cooking and baking. I’ve had the great fortune to have grown up in a kitchen with a mother who is very talented at both cooking and baking, and from that exposure, I am now also very good at both. I love the holiday season for a plethora of reasons – but the cooking and food aspect is at the top of the list.
I made this pie three times last fall! One for a Friendsgiving, and one each for two family Thanksgiving celebrations. Each time, I received countless compliments and kind reviews from everyone that had a bite. I of course posted my creations to Instagram stories, where messages and compliments came in in droves, and so did many requests to share the recipe! Every time I made it, I fine-tuned a few points and techniques, and learned what worked best and what didn’t. This article is a year in the making, and I am so excited to finally have this published!
This is probably the biggest tip I can give you in order to make this recipe the most successful and flavorful that it can be: make your own pumpkin purée. It is the easiest process ever, and is guaranteed to yield a much more flavorful pie as opposed to using canned purée. The caramelizing process that happens in the oven cannot be replicated! Case in point: one of the times I made this recipe last year, I was short on my own purée and had to use some from a can to fill in the difference, and the contrast in taste was very noticeable. I use this recipe for the purée, also from the Smitten Kitchen. Usually I will make it a day ahead of when I plan to bake, and and keep it in the fridge to make the day-of baking a little easier.
Another tip that a store-bought substitute cannot replace: homemade crust. Buying it from a store just won’t give you the same texture and flavor, and often times I find them to be overly sweetened. This is not a particularly sweet dessert, because the flavor emphasis remains on the spices and the pumpkin. With a food processor, making the crust is super easy, and there is no “bake the crust first to a certain extent before fully baking the pie”, because the crust and filling are baked at the same time which is a big time saver! The pie on its own is truly divine. It has a light and creamy texture, and the spices perfectly combine to compliment the natural flavors of the caramelized pumpkin.
Don’t worry if there are a few cracks on the surface of the pie. This usually happens during baking, but is not a sign of dryness or overcooking. (btw this is the best toaster oven ever that I bake this pie in every single time!)
Like I said before, the pie is perfect and delicious on its own, but the praline sauce is really what takes this recipe to completely over-the-top, insane heights. It is so easy to make, and the flavor combination with the pie is unparalleled. (TBH, I would drink it straight if I could 😂😂😂). I don’t usually care for nuts on their own or mixed into desserts, but wow – the crunch of the pecans really elevates the overall texture.
Classic Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Praline Sauce
Recipe adapted from the Smitten Kitchen
Yield: 1 standard pie
1 1/4 cups (155 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea or table salt
1 stick (4 ounces or 115 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/4 cup (60 ml) ice cold water, plus an additional tablespoon if needed
1 & 3/4 cups pumpkin puree
2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea or table salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
A few gratings of fresh nutmeg (or a pinch of ground nutmeg)
1 1/3 cups (315 ml) cold heavy cream
3 large eggs
(The original recipe does not include this, but I personally add 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice)
1/2 cup (95 grams) packed light or dark brown sugar
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons (45 ml) heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt, or a little less of a coarse salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
3/4 cup (85 grams) pecans (I coarsely chopped 1/2 cup, left the last 1/4 cup in halves)
Step by step:
Make the pie dough –
With a food processor: In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add butter and pulse machine until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. Slowly 1/4 cup cold water and while continuing to pulse until large clumps form.
Form the crust: On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a 12 to 13-inch circle-ish shape. Fold dough gently in quarters without creasing and transfer to a 9-inch standard pie plate (I used a 10-inch pie plate and it came out just perfectly). Unfold dough and trim overhang to about 1/2-inch. Fold overhang under edge of pie crust and crimp decoratively. Place in the fridge until ready to fill.
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
Make the filling –
Combine pumpkin puree, sugar, salt and spices in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a sputtering simmer and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove saucepan from the heat and let cool slightly. Whisk in eggs one at a time until combined. Whisk in cream until smooth. Pour filling into prepared pie crust. (The filling should be very smooth and fluid at this point, but will firm up during baking)
Bake the pie in a non-convection over for 15 minutes at 400°F, then reduce heat to 350°F and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes, until the center barely jiggles and a toothpick inserted into it comes out pumpkin-free (the toothpick shouldn’t have loose pumpkin batter on it).
Let pie completely cool on a rack (sometimes I will put it near an open window to speed up the process)
Make pecan praline sauce –
In a medium saucepan set over low heat, combine the brown sugar, butter, cream and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until thick and bubbly, which will be 3 to 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla and pecans. Pour over the pie, or spoon out on individual slices. Serve, and enjoy!!!