My husband, Alex, is a pumpkin pie fanatic, but he’s not so much interested in the pastry crust. (He’ll eat the filling out of a normal pie.) After a few years of tinkering, I’ve landed on a crushed gingersnap crust that he enjoys just as much as the filling, and I deepen the flavor profile of the pie with real vanilla beans.
For the crust:
2 cups finely crushed gingersnaps, with extra cookies left for decoration
1/2 stick melted butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
3 eggs yolks, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 8 oz. can pumpkin
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine crushed gingersnaps, butter, and maple syrup and press into a 9 inch pie pan.
- Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes or until crust feels dried and solid. Set aside and reduce the oven heat to 325.
- In a large bowl whisk together egg yolks, brown sugar, and pumpkin and set aside.
- In a heavy-bottom saucepan, steep the vanilla bean and seeds in the milk and heavy cream until the mixture just begins to steam. Remove from heat, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. After, remove the vanilla bean.
- Working quickly, add a small amount of the cream mixture to the egg mixture to temper it.
- Slowly add the egg mixture to the cream mixture, stirring constantly, then return to medium heat.
- Stir the mix (it’s custard at this point) until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Bake at 325 for 20-30 minutes, or until the edges of the filling are set and the middle is slightly jiggly. Remember that the pie will continue to cook and set when you take it out of the oven.
- Remove and let cool, then refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. Decorate with whipped cream and crush gingersnaps as desired.