Photo by Eric Slatkin
I've recently been a part of launching a new stop-motion digital How-To series called Assembly Line. We started out making sandwiches, and now we're launching our Thanksgiving videos. We're doing a series on pies, both savory and sweet, to celebrate fall's best day.
I've never been the biggest fan of pumpkin pie, even though I love pumpkin and I love the spices that go into it. Most of the pumpkin pies I've had or made are a little too one-note or too bland for me. When we started thinking about doing a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, we knew we wanted to do something a little different.
The inspiration for this recipe is the beloved (controversially?) ubiquitous "Pumpkin Spice Latte." If people could love a drink this much, maybe coffee was this missing flavor in the pie?
Adding just a small amount of espresso to the mix adds a note of depth and complexity to the pie. Have you ever added instant espresso to chocolate cake or brownies? It enriches the chocolate favor. Here, it enriches the overall flavor and you can taste a hint of the nutty bitter coffee been. I also add the espresso to the whipped cream. I love the flavor of coffee, and it definitely enhances the whipped cream, but it's not essential if you don't want too much coffee in your dessert. Although, it helps liven things up after a rich heavy meal.
Different pumpkin pie recipes use different types of ingredients. A lot include sweetened condensed milk, but I often find those recipes too sweet. Some use just milk, some use cream, and here I'm using both milk and cream, in addition to some of the other familiar ingredients. The resulting texture is silky and smooth. For me, this pie has the right density; it's not too flimsy and not too firm. This is my new go-to pumpkin pie recipe, and I hope you enjoy it, too.
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Pumpkin Spice Latte Pie
Makes 1 pie
for the crust-
1¼ cup all purpose flour (I like King Arthur Brand)
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons ice cold water
for the filling-
1¾ (15 oz.) cups pure unsweetened pumpkin purée
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons instant espresso powder (1 or 2 depending on desired intensity, I use Medaglia D'oro brand)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
few gratings of fresh nutmeg (about an ⅛ teaspoon)
1 cup heavy cream
⅓ cup milk (I use whole, but any kind works)
3 large eggs
espresso whipped cream-
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C).
for the crust-
To a food processor, add the flour sugar and salt. Pulse a few times to combine the mixture. Add the cubed butter to the dry ingredients, pulse until pea-sized pieces of dough are formed. (You can use a pastry cutter or just your hands to combine the butter if you do not have a food processor).
To the dough, add the apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of water at a time. Pulse until the dough comes together but is still crumbly and not too wet. It should stick together between your fingers when squeezed, if it doesn’t add another tablespoon of water. Roll the dough into a disc that’s about an inch thick - this will make it easier to roll out into a circular shape. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Onto a lightly floured surface, roll the pie dough out until you have a 12-inch even circle. Carefully transfer the dough into a 9-inch pie tin. Lightly press the dough into the pan. Trim any overhanging crust. Decoratively crimp the edges of the crust with your fingers, or you can decorate the edges with the tines of a fork.
for the filling-
Combine the pumpkin purée, brown sugar, granulated sugar, espresso powder, salt and spices in a large bowl. Whisk in the cream and milk, then whisk in the eggs. Pour filling into prepared pie crust.
bake the pie-
Place the pie in the oven for 15 minutes at 400°F. After 15 minutes, lower the heat to 350°F and bake for 35-45 more minutes (it's super important to start off at a high temp and then lower - if you stay at 400 the crust will get burnt and the filling won't cook properly), or until a toothpick inserted into the batter comes out mostly pumpkin-free. A little pumpkin and dampness is fine, but you do not want super loose pumpkin batter on it. Also, you will be able to tell if the pumpkin is done by the amount it jiggles in the pan. You only want the slightest wobble in the center of the pie.
If the crust starts to get too brown, you can cover the crust edges with aluminum foil and continue to cook the filling.
Once cooked, let the pie cool on a rack completely. Refrigerate once the pie has cooled, and serve either cool or at room temp.
for the espresso whipped cream-
While the pie is cooling, prepare the whipped cream. Combine all of the ingredients in a large cool bowl. Using an electric mixer or a whisk, beat everything together until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over-whip your cream.
Top the pie with the espresso whipped cream. Garnish with ground cinnamon and/or more espresso powder. Slice and serve!
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