I have a crush. It’s more than a fling, but there are rules and this is a strictly seasonal thing.
I have fallen for fall. Partly because in San Francisco it looks like this.
And partly because of pumpkin. Ohhh, Pumpkin. You are velvet and versatile. You make the ordinary extraordinary. You are gourd-geous. As soon as October rolls around, you peek out from behind summer squash and stone fruit and I JUST CAN’T HELP MYSELF. Pumpkin cake, pasta, risotto, ice cream, pudding, mousse and…
I prefer this recipe over the traditional because instead of regular pie crust, this calls for a brown sugar pecan crust. No flour, so bonus for folks who don’t eat gluten. Just a quick whirl of raw pecans, butter, and brown sugar in the food processor makes a simple base for the classic filling. I want to try this crust with coconut cream or ice cream or apple pie filling. I think it would work for any of them. I like it more than regular crust. I really do.
Question: What does fall taste like?
Answer: This pie.
Trust me. You will bake it for a holiday party and your guests will marvel in its autumnal glory. It is edible fall.
Before I divulge the recipe, I have some pre-recipe instructions for you. I very much enjoyed myself while baking this pie and I want you do the same. I’m just looking out for you. I want you to be happy.
First, make sure you have all the ingredients and a food processor and a deep dish 9” (otherwise you end up with too much filling and potential spillage) pie plate.
Pour good bourbon into a small glass and sip while you measure and stir.
Listen to La Roux on Pandora. Turn it up.
Put the pie in the oven. Sip more bourbon.
Cool the pie on a wire rack. A couple of hours will fly by while you do the dishes and have a solo dance party in your kitchen. Do the running man. Do the Dougie.
Now the pie has cooled. Slice off a big piece. Eat. Sleep.
Then wake up, get dressed, bring a slice to work and eat it for breakfast.
Pumpkin Pie with Brown Sugar-Pecan Crust
Makes 1 9-inch pie
FOR THE CRUST
3 cups raw pecans
6 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons butter, cubed
FOR THE FILLING
15 oz. canned pumpkin
12 oz. canned evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350° with rack in the middle position. Pulse pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in food processor until coarsely chopped. Add butter and pulse until mixture is finely ground and holds together like damp sand. Press most of the pecan mixture into deep dish 9″ pie plate, reserving 1/4 cup remaining crumb mixture for topping. Bake about 10 minutes until lightly colored and fragrant. Set aside until ready to fill.
2. Whisk pumpkin and eggs until well blended. Whisk in milk, vanilla, sugar, spices, cornstarch, and salt. Pour filling into prepared crust. Bake 45-50 min. until filling is lightly set, covering edges of crust with foil if they begin to darken too quickly. Sprinkle reserved pecan mixture over top of pie and continue to bake 15-20 min. until filling is completely set at center and crust and topping are dark golden. Allow to cool at least two hours or overnight before serving.