Pumpkin chiffon pie with pecan-graham cracker crust

Dinner parties are a great opportunity to try fun new dessert recipes, so as to not have to eat an entire pie, for instance, by ourselves. In honour of Canadian Thanksgiving and to celebrate the joys of autumn, with all of its delicious, aromatic flavours, I decided to try this variation on the classic pumpkin pie.

Recipe

from Bon Appétit Desserts

Crust
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup packed golden brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Filling
1 1/4-oz envelope unflavoured gelatin
2 tbsp bourbon
1-1/4 cups canned pure pumpkin
3/4 cup whole milk
2/3 cup packed golden brown sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt

Ginger whipped cream
1-1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 tbsp chopped crystallized ginger

Crust: Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter 9″ diameter pie dish. Stir graham cracker, pecans, brown sugar and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add butter and mix until crumbs are moistened. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides of prepared dish. Bake crust until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool, then chill crust until cold.

Filling: Sprinkle gelatin over bourbon in small bowl; set aside until gelatin softens, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk pumpkin, milk, brown sugar, egg yolks, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt in heavy medium saucepan to blend. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture thickens slightly and instant-read thermometer inserted into mixture reads 160 F, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into large metal bowl. Immediately add softened gelatin mixture and stir until gelatin dissolves. Set bowl with pumpkin mixture over large bowl of ice water and stir until mixture is cold to touch but not set, about 5 minutes.

Beat 3/4 cup cream in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Fold whipped cream into pumpkin mixture. Pour filling into chilled crust. Chill pie until filling is set, at least 3 hours.

Ginger whipped cream: Using electric mixer, beat remaining 3/4 cup cream, powdered sugar and vanilla in medium bowl until medium-firm peaks form. Transfer whipped to pastry bag fitted with large star tip and pipe whipped cream rosettes around edge of pie. Alternately, spread whipped cream decoratively over pie. Sprinkle crystallized ginger over whipped cream.

Musings

A few notes on preparation: We used Jack Daniels whiskey instead of bourbon (as that’s what we had).

The pie was delightful–it really did taste like pumpkin pie’s airier, creamier cousin. It had a great light texture, but still all the wonderful spices from the original pumpkin pie. The crystallized ginger added a nice sweetness while also giving it a bit of zip. I was pleasantly surprised that the crust held up well (sometimes these graham cracker crusts can be a bit crumbly), and it had a wonderful nutty flavour, which was a good backdrop for the lighter, aromatic filling. Definitely a solid (and possibly preferable) choice for a Thanksgiving dessert. David noted that it might be fun to try converting the winter squash pie, one of his favourites, into a chiffon pie.

 

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