As leaves start taking their final bows and nights become longer, fall’s spectacular show appeals to our senses more than ever. Acorns make music as they fall from tall oak trees and drop to the ground. Autumn leaves paint fiery displays of color on bright blue backdrops of sky. Familiar smells of favorite spices set the stage for the holidays. With a little over three weeks until Thanksgiving, now is a great time to test out new fall recipes. Imagine a fluffy and lightly-spiced pumpkin cream pie – one that even non-pumpkin-eaters will like and one that can be prepared in advance. That’s my idea of a fall showstopper!
Pumpkin Cream Pie
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman
For the Crust:
1-1/2 package graham crackers (about 15 Cookie Sheets)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 stick butter, melted
For the Filling*:
1 box (3 oz. box) Vanilla Pudding (Cook and Serve variety)
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup heavy cream
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
2 tablespoons whiskey, optional
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1/2 cup additional heavy cream
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Extra graham cracker crumbs, for garnish
1. Heat oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Grind graham crackers in a food processor (if you don’t have a food processor, place them in a large Ziploc and pound them with a rolling pin). Add powdered sugar and melted butter and process until totally combined. Press into the bottom and sides of a pie pan until nice and firm. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until warm and “set.” Remove from oven and allow crust to cool completely.
3. In a medium saucepan, mix dry pudding mix with half-and-half and cream. Add spices. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly and thick.
4. Remove from heat and stir in whiskey, if using. Add pumpkin and stir to combine. Place lid on pot and set aside to cool. When cool enough, place pot in the fridge to cool completely.
5. When mixture is cool, remove from the fridge. In a mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup heavy cream and brown sugar. Beat until very light and fluffy. Fold in pumpkin cream mixture until combined. Pour into cooled crust.
6. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight. Serve with graham crackers crumbled on top.
1. This recipe called for 15 graham cracker “cookie sheets” which I assumed meant 15 double sheets or the sheets as they come out of the bag. This was way too much, so the author’s definition of a sheet must be half of that. I used part of the leftover crumbs for the garnish.
2. *In the photo of the pie on The Pioneer Woman I noticed the pie looked a bit shallow, so I decided to double the filling ingredients. A 15-ounce can of pumpkin purée was a bit more than what a doubled amount would have been, but I went ahead and used the whole can. Didn’t make sense to let a small amount of pumpkin go to waste. Extra filling filled four individual ramekins and was called pumpkin mousse!
3. The next time I make this pie, I will try sprinkling a tiny bit of finely chopped candied ginger on top along with the graham cracker crumbs – just for a special interest.