Saturday, November 22, 2014

Pumpkin Custard Pie with Ginger Snap Crust

With Thanksgiving around the corner and pumpkin season coming to a close I was itching to make something seasonally appropriate. I am a traditionalist in terms of respecting time-appropriate ideas and expectations, but my taste buds and creative nature draw me in the other direction of being a non-conformist. I will still make that pumpkin pie, and I still will have a Thanksgiving meal with Turkey.. but I can't just pull out the old Betty Crocker cookbook and follow a traditional recipe verbatim, every year... how boring for a creative like me. Ah.

So anyways, I think this pumpkin pie satisfies the need for a dessert that is pumpkin filled, but it is also different enough to satisfy my need to try new things. This particular baking experience was kind of scary. I definitely gambled on cooking times, not knowing if a deep dish pie would actually set, and also not knowing if the crust would burn being in the oven for so long. Alas, it turned out delightful: super moist, custardy goodness, with a spicy not too sweet crust.

What else am I bringing to the table on Thanksgiving? My self-assigned items: this lovely Pumpkin Custard Pie, delicate baking soda biscuits, roasted parmesan and herb red potatoes, mashed potatoes for the traditionalists, homemade gravy, and (I'm cheating here) store-bought stuffing. What about you? Any delicious recipes you'd like to share with me? Comment below! To the rest of you, au revoir! May you have a blessed, thankful Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin Custard Pie with Ginger Snap Crust
(Printable Recipe)
Yield: 2, 6-inch cakes. Time: 2 hrs, plus 2 hrs cooling time.
Gluten-Free: Sub out the ginger snaps for gluten-free ginger snaps, double check your pumpkin puree and evaporated milk ingredients.
Cook's Note: While you're baking your pie, check on it after the 45 minute mark, and continue to do so every 15 minutes until the middle is just a wee-bit wiggly. Remember oven temperatures vary oven to oven.

Ingredients:
Crust:
10 ounces ginger snaps (or sub in gluten-free version)
1 3/4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

Custard:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 large eggs
1, 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1, 12 oz can evaporated milk

How To:
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Prep two 6-inch wide, 4-inch high, spring form pans (or one larger spring-form pan) by rubbing with butter and lining with a circular cut-out of parchment paper. Set aside. (Note: if your pans are known for leaking, wrap the bottom of them with a good amount of foil, making sure they are still level.)

Make the crust: In a food processor, add the ginger snaps, brown sugar, and ground ginger. Pulse until mixture is crumbly and cookies are broken down. Add melted butter and pulse to incorporate. Mixture should be like wet sand.

Evenly divide mixture between the two pans and gently press to an even thickness using fingers. I also worked the crust up the sides of the pan about halfway. You can do the side crust more or less, keeping in mind the thickness of the bottom crust. Place in oven for five minutes. Remove to cool.

Make the custard: In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Add eggs and whisk until blended. Add the pumpkin puree and stir to incorporate. Once mixed well, slowly add the evaporated milk until blended well. Pour the mixture into the two prepped pans. Set pans on top of a baking sheet in case of spills or leakage.

Place the baking sheet with the pies in the oven and bake for 20 minutes at 400ºF. After 20 minutes, turn oven down to 350ºF and continue to bake for another 30-40 minutes. Check to see if middle is still very wet and wiggly, if so bake for another 15 minutes. The desired look of the custard will be dark, refer to photos above. OR if the middle is not overly wiggly (but it will be a little bit), turn off oven and let pies rest inside cooling oven for one hour. After an hour the custard will have set. Remove from oven and let sit at room temperature for another hour.

Refrigerate until ready to serve, covering well. Keeps well for 2 - 3 days. The pies also freeze well, first cover in plastic wrap then cover in foil over that. To serve, remove wrap and set out at room temperature for 2 hours prior to serving.

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