Joy the Baker's Pumpkin Pie Recipe

This recipe is from the new “Homemade Decadence: Irresistibly Sweet, Salty, Gooey, Sticky, Fluffy, Creamy, Crunchy Treats" by Joy Wilson, the popular self-taught baker, author, photographer, and doughnut enthusiast behind the Joy the Baker website. 

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Photo: Joy Wilson

Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Praline Topping
Makes one 9-inch pie

No one really wants turkey on Thanksgiving. We all just skip past the turkey and green beans to load our plates up with mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and gravy, right!? The turkey is just a formality. After a quick nap on the couch, we wake up refreshed and ready for pumpkin pie and a hot cup of coffee. This is my Thanksgiving pie. The traditional pumpkin base is covered with an über-decadent pecan praline sauce. Totally over the top! Welcome to my world. It’s sweet. 

Half recipe Buttermilk Pie Crust (recipe follows)

Filling
2 cups pumpkin purée
½  cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups cold heavy cream
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

Topping
½ cup packed light brown sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons heavy cream
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup very coarsely chopped pecans (some halved pecan pieces are fine)

1.  Put a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F.

2.  Roll out the pie crust, put it in a pie dish, and refrigerate until ready to fill. 

3.  For the filling, combine the pumpkin purée, brown and granulated sugars, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, cardamom, and salt in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the mixture begins to bubble and become fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in the heavy cream. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla. 

4.  Transfer the filling to the prepared pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake until the pie no longer jiggles in the center, 40 to 50 minutes.

5.  Meanwhile, for the topping, in a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine the brown sugar, butter, cream, and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until thick and bubbly, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and pecans. 

6.  Let the pie cool for 30 minutes before topping. The pie will settle and deflate slightly. That’s great.

7.  Check to see that the praline topping is still pourable. If it has hardened too much, heat it over low heat until just pourable, or microwave for 30 seconds. Pour the topping evenly over the pie. The topping may seem loose, but will thicken and harden as it cools. Let cool completely before serving. I like my pumpkin pie served cold, so I store my pie in the refrigerator until serving time.

8.  The pie will last, well wrapped in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days.

Perfect Buttermilk Pie Crust
Makes one 9-inch double pie crust

2 ½  cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon cold buttermilk

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and, using your fingers or a pastry cutter, quickly work the butter into the flour mixture until some butter pieces are the size of oat flakes and some are the size of peas. Make a well in the mixture, pour in the buttermilk, and using a fork, stir until a dough forms.Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. It will be moist and shaggy. Divide the dough in 2 and gently knead each half into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. 

2. To roll out the pie crust, on a well-floured counter, roll the bottom crust until it is 1⁄8 inch thick and about 12 inches in diameter. Occasionally move the crust around the floured counter during rolling to ensure that it’s not sticking to the counter. Transfer it to a pie dish and trim the edges. For a single pie crust, fold the edges under and crimp with your fingers or a fork. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.

3. For a double-crusted pie, roll out the top crust in the same manner. Fill the pie and top with the second crust. Fold both layers of pie dough under and crimp with a fork or your fingers. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking.

More from Joy the Baker:
8 Things to Know About Joy Wilson
Classic Birthday Cake Recipe