My New Star

I’m at a lull in my Thanksgiving preparations, so I thought it was a perfect time to sit down, rest my feet, and quickly write up my new star pumpkin pie. The pictures are from earlier this month, as I first made this pie during my parents’ visit just after Halloween, but you better believe I made this recipe again yesterday. It is easy and delicious, with the perfect blend of spice, sweetness, and a hint of caramel bitterness. The other bonus is that it only uses a cup of pumpkin, so there is some leftover for Nolan’s cereal. I made the almond streusel variation last time, and a plain one for Thanksgiving, since I also made my favorite apple crumb pie.

Caramel Pumpkin Pie

1 9-inch pie crust, partially baked and cooled (I use her basic pie crust recipe for everything now)

1 C sugar
3/4 C heavy cream, room temperature
2 T dark rum, cognac, or apple cider
2 T unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 C canned pumpkin puree
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
tiny pinch of ground allspice
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs

Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the sugar evenly over the bottom of a large nonstick skillet. Place the skillet over medium-high heat and staying close by, cook until the sugar melts and starts to color. Once you see a little color, gently swirl the skillet so that the sugar colors evenly. Cook the sugar, without stirring, until it turns deep amber, almost mahogany; the darker the sugar, the fuller the flavor.

Lower the heat to medium, stand back and pour the cream into the skillet. The sugar will bubble and hiss and may clump. Just continue to cook, stirring, until it evens out. Add the rum (or cider) and butter and cook just until the caramel is smooth. Pour the caramel into a heatproof pitcher or bowl and let cool for about 15 minutes.

Working with a whisk in a large bowl, beat the pumpkin with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, spices, salt, vanilla and eggs, beating until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the caramel. Rap the bowl against the counter a few times to de-bubble the filling, then pour the filing into the crust.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the filling is puffed and set–tap the pan gently and the filling should not jiggle. A thin knife inserted into the center of the pie will come out clean. Transfer the pie to a rack and cool to room temperature, or cool and refrigerate. When you are ready to serve, spread with whipped cream.

Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan.

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