The difference is subtle: it’s slightly sweeter with a more caramel flavor, and since it’s based on a pumpkin-caramel custard recipe, that’s not super surprising. (You can read more about the original 1964 recipe here!)
When I made it, I had enough for a 9″ pie and two 5″ pies. I modified a few of the amounts to try to make it fit into just a 9″ pie better, and Jasmine graciously tested the recipe. The filling worked out perfectly for her!
- 1 unbaked 9″ single pie crust
- 3/4 c sugar, divided
- 3 Tbsp water
- 1 1/4 c canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/4 c brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp molasses
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp
- dash nutmeg
- 1 c cream (light or heavy)
1. Prick the pie crust with a fork. Lay a double layer of foil over the crust (I also weighted mine with rice) and bake according to recipe directions for a pre-baked pie.
3. Once the crust is done, in a small sauce pan, combine 1/4 c + 2 Tbsp white sugar (half of the total amount) with 3 T water. Heat over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Let boil until it turns the color of brown sugar. Promptly remove from the heat and pour into the baked pie crust. You only have a few seconds before this stiffens up, so spread it around the bottom and sides quickly (I used a pastry brush, but be sure your brush is rated for high heat!). (This step can be considered optional, but if you skip it, add the sugar to the pie filling.)
4. Combine the rest of the white sugar, pumpkin, brown sugar, molasses and spices. Mix until well combined. Stir in cream. The batter will be thin. It’s okay.
5. Place the prepared pie crust on the oven rack and pour the filling into the crust. You may want to cover the edges of the crust with foil*, but mine didn’t burn.
6. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a knife inserted about 1″ from the center comes out clean.
7. Cool on a wire rack.
For the adventurous, you can take this to the next level by making it a more of a pumpkin “crème brûlée” pie with an optional sugar crust (option B pictured above, option A pictured below):
either A. sprinkle enough white sugar onto the top of the pie to coat it well. Cover the edges of the crust with foil*. Place under the broiler, watching constantly, until sugar bubbles and browns (or use a kitchen torch).
OR B. In a small sauce pan, combine 1/4 c sugar and 2 Tbsp water. As in step 3 above, heat over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Let boil until it turns the color of brown sugar. Promptly remove from the heat and pour over the cooled pie, keeping the pan moving constantly so it doesn’t pool too much in one place. (I recommend pouring in circles. When you cut the pie, crack the sugar crust first by tapping it with a sharp knife.)
Option A gives a subtle crunch to the top of the pie. Option B gives a solid sugar crust with significant crunch. I liked A better. Or you could do what I did: cover half (or you could do 3/4s) of the pie with foil, then sprinkle with sugar and broil (and you could do another quarter with the solid crust, if you want). All optional.
*Need to cover your crust with foil? Try this trick from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook: take a sheet of foil large enough to cover your pie. Fold it in quarters, then cut a circle from the middle of the foil sheet. Open and voila! Easy to apply crust protection!
What's your favorite Thanksgiving pie?