Pumpkin Pie with Graham Cracker Crust and Pepita–Sage Brittle
Baking your own graham crackers for this crust, which forms a great base for other cream pies, is totally worth the effort—it pays off with a deeply concentrated molasses flavor—and the filling of fresh-roasted pumpkin and warm spices puts the canned stuff to shame. A sprinkle of bittersweet caramel brittle, packed with sage and pumpkin seeds, adds a welcome crunch that will kick up store-bought pumpkin pie, too. This recipe comes from Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits in Chicago.
Yield: serves 8-10
Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
For the Filling and Topping
- 1 <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>2</sub> lb. peeled and seeded sugar pumpkin or butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- Kosher salt
- <sup>3</sup>⁄<sub>4</sub> cup (6 oz.) packed light brown sugar
- 2 <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>2</sub> tsp. ground ginger
- 1 <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>2</sub> tsp. ground cinnamon
- <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>4</sub> tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>8</sub> tsp. ground cloves
- 1 <sup>3</sup>⁄<sub>4</sub> cups chilled heavy cream
- <sup>3</sup>⁄<sub>4</sub> cup whole milk
- 2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
- <a href="https://www.saveur.com/pumpkin-seed-pepita-sage-brittle-recipe/">Pepita-Sage Brittle</a>, for garnish
For the Homemade Graham Cracker Crust
- <sup>3</sup>⁄<sub>4</sub> cup (4 1/4 oz.) graham flour
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>2</sub> tsp. baking soda
- <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>2</sub> tsp. kosher salt
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>4</sub> cup (2 oz.) sugar
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>2</sub> tsp. molasses (not blackstrap)
- <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>4</sub> cup (1 1/4 oz.) all-purpose flour
- Roast the pumpkin: Heat the oven to 350°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the pumpkin with the oil, season with salt, and bake, tossing halfway through, until lightly caramelized and soft, about 35 minutes. Scrape the pumpkin into a food processor and purée until smooth. Reserve 1 1⁄4 cups of the purée for the pie and save the remaining purée for another use.
- Make the crust: Reduce the oven temperature to 325°. In a large bowl, whisk the graham flour with the cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, beat 3 tablespoons butter, the sugar, honey, and molasses with a hand mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until just combined. Press and spread the dough into a single 1⁄4 inch-thick cracker on a parchment paper—lined baking sheet and bake until browned and set, about 20 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let the cracker cool completely.
- Crumble the cooled cracker into a food processor and pulse to form fine crumbs. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and pour into the food processor along with the all-purpose flour and pulse until evenly combined. Scrape the crumbs into a 9-inch pie pan and press the crumbs into the bottom and up the side. Bake the crust until lightly browned at the edges and set, about 20 minutes. Transfer the crust to a rack and let cool completely. Meanwhile, keep the oven heated to 325°.
- Make the filling: In a large bowl, whisk the reserved pumpkin purée with the brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves until smooth. Pour in 3⁄4 cup of the cream, the milk, and eggs and yolks and whisk lightly until smooth. Scrape the filling into the cooled crust and bake, rotating once halfway through, until set but slightly loose in the center, about 1 hour. Transfer the pie to a rack and let cool completely.
- To serve, pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the pie and sprinkle with the pepita-sage brittle just before serving.
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