Pumpkin Pie with a Maple Pecan Topping
This makes enough for two pies because, seriously, one pie is good for dinner and, because you like it so much, you will want the other one for breakfast. In my case, it is my mom’s favorite so I make one for us and one for her.
Makes 2 pies
1 cup Crisco or rendered pig fat
3 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 cup ice water
Oil spray to lightly coat the pie pan
Parchment paper to cover pan
Enough dry beans to cover the bottom of the shell and weight the parchment
Mix well and roll out as thin as possible. The special trick of this crust is to roll it like puff pastry to create all the layers: We roll it thin and fold it onto itself, repeating five times, and then finally roll it as thin as we can. Let it rest for 20 minutes in the fridge to relax the gluten, and then roll it just a touch one more time without the folding, to make sure it is the same thickness all around.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Spray pie pan with a thin layer of oil so the dough doesn’t stick to it. Line the pie crust in the pan, make your borders and set aside in the fridge while you make your pie filling.
After about 15 minutes in the fridge, prebake your shell just halfway through, about 10 minutes in the oven. We called it “blind baking” because you haven’t added the filling yet; use parchment paper to cover your bottom crust and weight it down with dry beans so your crust doesn’t bubble up and lose its shape while baking.
After 10 minutes, remove it from the oven and give it 10 minutes to cool down, removing the beans and parchment paper. Now you are all set to make the filling.
1½ cups pumpkin purée (You can use one from a can or make your own. I particularly like the butternut squash roasted to make the purée—it adds that rustic wood flavor and just enough sweetness.)
1½ cups half and half
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon cloves
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2–3 cups toasted pecans, for the topping of each pie
Mix everything in a bowl or, for convenience, in a blender. We like less sugar because of the maple topping but if you want it a touch sweeter add an extra ¼ cup of sugar.
Line your pie crust halfway with the pumpkin filling and bake it for 10–15 minutes, or until it is set in the middle. Set aside to cool while you make the topping.
You will need 2–3 cups of toasted pecans for the topping of each of your pies. You can slightly chop them, which will fill the top a bit more, plus when you are ready to cut it you won’t destroy all the pie. Remember: The base of the pumpkin filling is creamy and delicate.
After you fill the top with pecans, top it off with the maple mix, making sure it goes into each available surface. This adds a glue for the pecans.
¾ cups brown sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1 cup maple
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix everything together in a blender. Or, if you are mixing it by hand, mix sugar and cornstarch first, then add the liquid ingredients to avoid lumps. Pour over your pie with the pecans. You would like to fill the remainder of your pie shell with this mixture so the pecans are almost to the top. No worries: It will bubble in the middle but after it cools down it will return to a flat surface. This takes a bit longer to bake depending on how thick it is.
Into the oven for 30–40 minutes.
Make sure that before taking it out of the oven you check the middle of the pie—the thickest part—to assure that it is cooked all the way through. Check by inserting a toothpick into the middle and checking the top layer with your fingers to feel if it is firm, and the egg and maple are cooked.
Remove from oven and let it cool for 15–20 minutes and it is ready to enjoy!
You can also put it in the fridge for a few hours before serving. We love it with a touch of sea salt added right before eating it. It’s better if you add a little sea salt to each slice instead of to the whole pie. If you end up saving the rest of the pie for later, the salt will melt and it won’t have the same effect in your mouth with the flavors of the pie.
Add some whipped cream, bourbon ice cream or vanilla ice cream. Our house trick: Pick a great vanilla ice cream, top it off with an ounce of bourbon and you are all set to go.