Pumpkin, crème fraîche and ginger snap cookie crust pie

Countdown to turkey time: two days. The pressure is on to finalize that Thanksgiving feast menu, or, if you’re like me, finalize what you’re bringing to your Aunt & Uncle’s house in New Jersey. This year, I’m going with a novel take on the most traditional dessert, pumpkin pie.

There are so many things to love about Thanksgiving. The turkey, the sides, the pies, that’s obvious. (Warning: sentimental alert – if you’re not in the mood, scroll down for the recipe promise, it’s a show stealer.) But I love that it obliges me to be in the same room with my entire family to just eat,  catch up and be together for a day, something that happens twice a year at best. I love the stories  the cousin home from college who shares the trials and tribulations of freshman year #dormlyfe; the other cousin’s new job as an NYC police officer; Grandma’s first Thanksgiving with Grandpa, and how he grossed her out by eating the pope’s nose  Grandpa loved to get a rise out of people. I love the exchange of traditions and discovering the crazy ways other people do Thanksgiving. Like my Aunt, an Italian-American from Bensonhurst, who has never celebrated Thanksgiving without a heaping portion of lasagna or pasta as a first course  every family has their own particular ways. I love bringing someone new to the table, and making them feel like your family can be their family for the day. There are so many things to appreciate on Thanksgiving. Really, the food just gives us an excuse to come together.

But back to that pie. When I found this recipe, I knew all the ingredients would combine to equal delicious. The pumpkin spiced with cardamom and sweetened with brown sugar; the accent of crème fraîche (or full-fat sour cream, if your supermarket is out of cf); the intensely buttery cookie crust. Plus, although the marbled top looks kinda’ sorta’ fancy, the preparation is actually simple  even a newb pie maker like me can handle it. So if you’re seeking out last minute PIE-deas (couldn’t help myself), I highly recommend you give this guy a try. (Scroll to the bottom for additional pie-deas!)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Recipe adapted from Hummingbird High 

Special Equipment

  • a food processor
  • a 9-inch tart pan with high sides (and a removable bottom, if you can find one – I couldn’t so settled for a store-bought tin)
  • a bamboo skewer or toothpick with a sharp point

For the Ginger Snap Crust:

  • 10 ounces ginger snap cookies
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For the Pumpkin Custard Filling and Crème Fraîche Swirl:
(makes one 9-inch pie)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup (4.70 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 ounces crème fraîche, or sour cream (European-style if you can find that, full-fat if not)
For the Speculoos Cookie Crust:
  • Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a food processor, combine 10 ounces ginger snap cookies, 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Pulse together until coarse and well combined. While pulsing, stream in 1/2 cup melted butter and continue pulsing until the crumbs come together in giant clumps.
  • Use a rubber spatula to transfer the crumbs into a 9-inch tart pan with high sides and a removable bottom (a regular pie pan with high sides works too — you can just serve it in the pan). No need to grease the pan. Use your fingers and the back of your hands to press the crumbs onto the bottom and sides of the pan, creating an even layer. The bottom and sides of the crust should be around 1/4-inch thick.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 8 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly while you make the filling. Keep the oven on.
For the Pumpkin Custard Filling and Crème Fraîche Swirl:
  • In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, combine 1 can pumpkin puree, 2/3 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, 2 teaspoons ground cardamom, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt. Cook for 5 minutes, using a heatproof rubber spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan frequently. The mixture should start to sputter around 2 to 3 minutes in, and by 5 minutes, become thick and glossy.
  • Remove from heat and slowly stream in 1 can sweetened condensed milk while continuing to whisk the mixture. Continue whisking until the sweetened condensed milk is fully incorporated, before whisking in 2 large eggs, one at a time, only adding the second egg when the first one has fully incorporated.
  • Once the eggs are fully incorporated, pour the mixture into the prepared cookie crust shell. Transfer 2 ounces crème fraîche into a piping bag (or, in a pinch, a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off) and drizzle the crème fraîche over the mixture in the pattern you desire. Use a bamboo skewer or toothpick with a sharp point to swirl the crème fraîche across the filling.
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges of the filling have set. Use a knife to tap on the sides of the tart pan to test the filling; the middle should wobble slightly. Think wobble, not waves. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely until fully set. Serve at room temperature, or chilled for an hour. This pie is best the day it’s made (since the crust will remain crunchy, but will soften the longer it sits).

pumpkin creme fraiche

More things pie:

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