I don’t like pie crust, so I changed it up. Instead of the basic pie crust that usually goes with pumpkin pie, I made a cocoa gingersnap crust–similar to a graham cracker crust, but bursting with Thanksgiving, fall flavor. This crust is sodang tasty, I might have to eat it every day for the rest of my life, forever and amen. Amen.
Now the crust is tricky, in that it is naturally darker than your standard graham cracker crust, so it’s harder to gauge when it’s possibly burning. During the last twenty minutes of baking, I cut some curved foil strips to place on top of the perimeter of the pie to cover the crust and prevent burning. Non-ghetto pie crust covers do exist (aluminum, silicone, etc.) , but I have yet to go out and purchase one…stocking stuffers anyone? Please?
The Best Part of the Pie
I am kidding you not, this salted dark caramel sauce is almost the best part of the pie. I’m obsessed. I have plans to dip sliced apples in the leftovers, pour it on ice cream, make milkshakes, with pretzels, whatever mode of transportation I can use to get it in my face, I’ll take it. This isn’t a sugary sweet artificial-tasting bottled caramel sauce. This is intense, deep, dark, rich caramel. It almost tastes like the sugar was burnt, but it’s just the richness speaking. I’ve incorporated this sauce into a few recipes, and we’ve all used it to top anything and everything. I love having this perfect caramel sauce in my fridge to use on a whim!
Let’s just say several people had seconds.
One of the projects I did was our centerpiece pumpkins. Carly and I wanted to bypass the usual cornucopia Thanksgiving theme and colors, so she actually had this amazing idea to spray paint pumpkins. Genius. We both were on the same page with the Little Boo pumpkins, otherwise known as the mini white pumpkins. You had me at ‘Little Boo’.
I sprayed the Little Boo ones gold, then coated the larger pumpkin with the spray adhesive and shook glitter all over it. They turned out darling, and really gave our table a simple and elegant holiday feel.
- 1/2 c granulated sugar
- 1/2 c brown sugar
- 1 T flour
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 t ground ginger
- 1 t ground cinnamon
- 1/2 t nutmeg
- 1/4 t cloves
- 1/ 8 t ground black pepper
- 3 eggs
- 2 c pumpkin
- 1 1/4 c heavy cream
- 1/3 c melted butter
- 1 3/4 c gingersnap cookies
- 1/4 c brown sugar
- 1/8 c granulated sugar
- 3 t cocoa
- 1/4 c flour
- 1/2 t coarse salt
- 1 c sugar
- 6 T unsalted butter
- 1/2 c + 2 T heavy cream
- 1/2-3/4 t coarse salt
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1 c cold heavy whipping cream
- sugar to taste (2-3 T)
- 1/2 t vanilla extract
- Whisk dry ingredients in a bowl, set aside. In mixer, beat eggs, pumpkin, and cream. Mix in dry ingredients. Refrigerate overnight to let flavors mingle together.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in pie pan in microwave. If you use a standard 9" pan, there will be leftover pie filling--you may either use a deeper dish pie pan or have leftover filling to bake separately if you'd like. Blend remaining crust ingredients in blender or food processor to produce fine crumbs. Add to pie plate with melted butter and mix with your hands. Press crumbs into bottom and sides of pan and bake 5 minutes.
- Take crust out and increase oven to 400 degrees. Pour in pie filling and bake pie for about 45 minutes. You only want to bake until the edges are set about 2" in, the center will be wobbly.
- During last 20 minutes of baking, cover crust with strips of foil or pie crust shield.
- Heat sugar over low-medium heat in a heavy-bottom pan, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. The sugar will slowly start to melt, keep cooking and stirring until completely liquified and it's a copper color.
- Add in butter, stir until completely melted.
- Take pan off the heat and pour in cream. It will bubble up, so keep stirring until mixed well.
- After it's all creamy and thick and a beautiful dark amber color, add the salt and vanilla.
- Beat whipping cream with mixer, add in sugar and vanilla.
- Beat 2-3 minutes until soft peaks form.
The caramel can be made a week in advance and stored in the fridge. The pie can be made the day before and refrigerated until ready to serve. Make whipped cream immediately prior to serving.