This year I was looking for something a bit different to round out the Thanksgiving dessert table – and here it is. A two layer pumpkin pie, On the bottom, a rich caramel custard, and on the top a cinnamony pumpkin mousse. And it’s all topped off with an extravagant layer of toasted meringue.
Now, I don’t mess too much with tradition – but I like to do “Something Old & Something New” on a holiday. I’ll always make my Pam Anderson’s Pumpkin Pie, an absolute standard at my house. But it’s nice to break out a bit and this gorgeous pumpkin pie is one of my “breakout” recipes this year.
I pulled this from a 2012 Better Homes & Gardens – I’ve seriously been wanting to make this Caramel Creme Pumpkin Pie for ages. I debated a bit on whether or not I should post this pie, though. For starters, it was just a bit messy, something I’m guessing BHG knew about – they didn’t show a slice, but just the pie with a few pieces gone. It’s very difficult to get a “clean” slice and the meringue wants to pull as it’s cut. Larger pieces aren’t too bad but thinner pieces just kind of “collapse.”
The other was I, personally, would have liked a different crust. Maybe it’s all that meringue that made me think of my S’more Cupcakes with their graham cracker crust, but my mind kept telling me this pie should have a crunchy graham cracker (or even a crunchy cinnamon graham cracker) crust – or OMG a Gingersnap crust. Not everyone agreed, but then not everyone is always right like I am. Just joking! I think, maybe…
This pie is gorgeous, but also a fair amount of work and it has a lot of “chill” time, although any pumpkin pie does. First the caramel is made, then cooked into a custard and cooled. Half of that custard is spread in the bottom of a prebaked & cooled shell. The rest of the custard is mixed with the mousse ingredients and spread on top and the pie is chilled again for at least four hours but I’d recommend overnight. Then the pie is finished with the meringue and toasted.
I can’t stress how important all that chill time is for the best results. I recommend starting this pie 2 days ahead, which is great for a holiday – nice to get it out of the way. I’d top with the meringue the same day you’re serving, though. And this makes a very generous amount of meringue so keep that in mind. I put as much as I felt I could on the pie and still had a good heaping cup left over, plus what was ON me…
You’ll always want to shop the pre-holiday sales for baking items. I like to stock up on what I need and cherry pick the sales for baking items I’ll need in the next few weeks and all the way up to Easter. Have a use for the rest of the can of pumpkin – maybe my Pumpkin Spice Lattes.
Caramel Creme Pumpkin Pie
- 1 piecrust, blind baked, or a graham cracker pie crust
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 cups half-and-half (or 1 cup whipping cream and 1 cup whole milk)
- 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 8 egg yolks (keep the egg whites for the topping)
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 cup pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin (room temperature)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface use your hands to slightly flatten the pastry ball. Roll pastry from center to edges in a circle 13 inches in diameter. Transfer to a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Trim to 1/2 inch over edge; crimp edge lightly to the lip of the plate. Prick bottom and sides of pastry with a fork. Wrap and freeze for 20 minutes or refrigerate for two hours.
Line dough with foil or parchment; fill with dried beans or pie weights to the top. Bake 15 minutes. Remove parchment and weights; bake 15 minutes more or until lightly golden. Cool on wire rack. Once cool, you may proceed with filling.
For the custard filling:
In a large saucepan combine granulated sugar, 1/3 cup water, and lemon juice. Stir over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Brush sides of pan with a moist pastry brush to remove clinging sugar.
Increase heat to medium-high and cook, without stirring, until a medium amber color (slightly lighter than a penny), about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; pour in half-and-half (mixture will bubble vigorously). Return to low heat; stir until caramel dissolves into cream. Keep warm.
In a large bowl whisk together egg yolks, brown sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and 1/2 tsp. salt until well combined. While whisking, slowly pour about 2 cups of the warm caramel mixture into bowl; continue whisking until well combined. While whisking, pour the egg/caramel mixture back into the saucepan and whisk over medium heat until thickened, about 8 minutes.
Transfer to a large bowl; cover surface of cream completely to avoid forming a skin. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Once cool, spread a little more than half the mixture into the cooled pie shell. Refrigerate the pie. Keep the reserved custard at room temperature as you prepare the mousse.
In a large microwave-safe bowl soften gelatin in 2/3 cup water; let stand several minutes. Heat in microwave on 50 percent power 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until gelatin is dissolved, swirling every 30 seconds. Stir in pumpkin puree, spices, and remaining custard.
In a small bowl beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form; gently fold into pumpkin mixture. Spread over caramel in prepared crust. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (preferably overnight) before topping with Meringue.
- 8 egg whites
- 1 2/3 cups sugar
- Pinch salt
In a double boiler set up (a metal bowl over simmering water) whisk together egg whites, 1-2/3 cups sugar, and a pinch salt. Continue to whisk until egg whites reach 160 degrees F when tested with a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes.
Remove to a mixing bowl and If necessary, continue beating until stiff, shiny peaks form and the meringue is cool. The meringue may need a few minutes to cool to room temperature and may need to be beat a little more to stiff peaks after it’s cool. *
Top pie with cooled meringue sealing to the edges of the pie crust. If piping, top with about half of the meringue then pipe decorative stars using a large, star tip. Toast the meringue with a kitchen or benzomatic torch.
- If you don’t have a stand mixer, divide the heated egg whites into two different bowls and mix half at a time. Don’t leave the egg whites in the bowl you’ve heated them in or they will continue to cook from residual heat.
Thanks, Fiesta Friday for featuring this pie!!