Caramel Pumpkin Pie

December 3, 2010

I know what you must be thinking. “Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for giving me a pumpkin pie recipe AFTER Thanksgiving.” I know, I know. But at my house we sometimes have pumpkin pie at Christmas, so consider it a Christmas dessert idea.

This is the best pumpkin pie I’ve made. It’s like normal pumpkin pie, except that you mix golden caramel in with the pumpkin and spices instead of sugar. The taste is sweet-but not too sweet-and slightly burnt. It is the perfect compliment to smooth and creamy pumpkin.

In other news, I had a great Thanksgiving with Will’s family. And, I had Thanksgiving leftovers for breakfast three days in a row. Perhaps it was time to return to the daily grind and, you know, cereal.

During Thanksgiving week, we also made pumpkin cookies and buttermilk biscuit and spinach casserole. This is Will’s youngest sister, Lily, and his family’s 9 year old neighbor, Derek, making buttermilk biscuits. They turned out great. Lily and Derek both have a knack for this.

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!

What I’m Reading:

CARAMEL PUMPKIN PIE (adapted from Caramel Pumpkin Pie from Gourmet, November 2006)

This pie is supposed to be baked in a 2 inch deep and 10 inch wide fluted metal quiche pan with removable bottom. I have no interest in purchasing a one-trick wonder like that for my kitchen, so I used a standard pie pan. However, I did not change any measurements. I simply cut off the excess pie dough and only filled the crust with as much filling as fit. It was my intenion to save the extra pie dough and make mini pies in a muffin tin, but the pie took longer than I thought it would and I ran out of time. If anyone calculates the measurements for a standard 9 inch pie pan, I’d love you to share.

You will need raw rice or pie weights to make this.


For pastry 

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons ice water

For filling

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 (15-oz) can solid-pack pumpkin (not pie filling; a scant 2 cups)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Accompaniment: lightly sweetened whipped cream


Make dough:

Blend together flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Drizzle evenly with 4 tablespoons ice water and gently stir with a fork (or pulse in processor) until incorporated.

Squeeze a small handful of dough: If it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until incorporated, then test again. (Do not overwork dough or pastry will be tough.)

Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather all of dough together with scraper and press into a ball, then flatten into a 5-inch disk. Chill dough, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 14-inch round, then fit into quiche pan and trim excess dough flush with rim of pan. (I still followed these directions with my standard pie pan, I just had excess dough to trim). Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

Bake pie shell:

Lightly prick bottom of shell all over with a fork, then line with foil and fill with pie weights. Put quiche pan on a baking sheet and bake pie shell until side is set and edge is pale golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Carefully remove weights and foil and bake shell until bottom is golden, about 10 minutes more. Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 30 minutes.

Make filling while shell cools:
Bring sugar and water to a boil in a 3- to 3 1/2-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil syrup, washing down side of pan occasionally with a pastry brush dipped in cold water and gently swirling pan (do not stir), until mixture is a deep golden caramel, about 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to moderate and carefully add 1 cup cream (mixture will bubble vigorously), stirring until caramel is dissolved. Stir in remaining cup cream and bring just to a simmer.

Whisk together pumpkin purée, spices, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in hot cream mixture, then add eggs, whisking until combined well. Pour filling (Or if you use a standard pie pan, as much filling that fits) into cooled crust and bake until puffed 1 1/2 inches from edge and center is just set, 55 to 60 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack, about 2 hours. (Pie will continue to set as it cools.) Remove side of pan before serving.


One Response to “Caramel Pumpkin Pie”

  1. Lily Says:


    Derrick and I are looking at your blog, and he is very happy to see himself up here. He wants me to tell you, though, that his name is spelled “Derrick” and that he is 10 years old. “Thank you for putting me and Lily on your food blog,” he says. We love you! 🙂

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