You know how, if you’re in a good relationship, you can still have friends. And if the relationship is really good, those friends can have some similarities to the significant other without causing friction. This post is kind of about that. Only instead of trust, it involves crust. That’s because it’s about a pumpkin pie that isn’t Grandmama’s Pumpkin Pie.
This is the second stop on my little pie adventure, just in time for Thanksgiving: Bourbon-Vanilla Pumpkin Pie. And it’s as good as it sounds. It not only has a bourbon-spiked filling, but also a sweet, bourbon-and-vanilla-scented crust. I admit I was a bit worried about that crust, but I also knew I wasn’t going to be able to get away with a store-bought one this time. I had to stop being such a pastry wimp and get this exciting concoction into a pan.
Talk about return on investment! This crust is delicious! It is blind baked before the delightfully flavorful filling is added and it smells like cookies baking. It also tastes like cookies when wrapped around the baked pumpkin custard, although it’s not cookie-like in texture. Mine wasn’t particularly flaky, although that might have more to do with my pastry-making skills than with the recipe. It was nicely crunchy, however, and didn’t get soggy at all.
That fragrant and flavorful crust is the perfect accompaniment to the wonderful filling. The bourbon doesn’t smack you in the face, but gently floats about the pie, enhancing the pumpkin’s sweetness and the caramel notes from the little bit of brown sugar, while accompanying the pumpkin pie spices very, very well. The overall melding of flavors is complex but subtle, with no particular flavor addition dominating the others, or masking the pumpkin. Utterly, utterly delicious!
This pumpkin pie filling is quite rich, plumped up by heavy cream infused with cinnamon, but manages not to be cloying. It holds up very well inside the crust, even when sliced, but is so smooth and creamy that it almost melts in the mouth. Fine, sophisticated stuff. While I’ll never leave Grandmama’s Pumpkin Pie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Bourbon-Vanilla Pumpkin Pie
Adapted from Food Network Magazine
For the crust:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, divided
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon bourbon
2-3 tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
1 ½ cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 (approximately 4-inch) cinnamon stick
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
15 ounce can pumpkin puree (or equivalent pureed cooked pumpkin)
1 ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Whipped cream to serve (optional)
1. To make the crust: add the flour, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine well.
2. Add 5 tablespoons cut-up butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add the remaining butter and pulse just until the mixture looks crumbly. Add the vanilla and 1 tablespoon bourbon. Pulse a few times. Add 2 tablespoons ice water and process just until the mixture comes together as a dough, adding the remaining tablespoon water as needed.
3. Remove the dough to a floured surface and shape into a disk. Wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour, (or for a few days if needed).
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into about a 12-inch circle. Drape the dough into a 9-inch pie pan and arrange it to fit without stretching. Fold over the edges and shape or crimp as desired. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm. Wrap with plastic wrap if you are going to refrigerate it longer (up to a day).
5. Preheat oven to 425 F. Place the pie pan with the chilled crust on a rimmed baking sheet. Cover the crust with foil. Fill with pie weights. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights. Return to the oven and bake for about 5 minutes more, or until dry and beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.
6. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 F. To make the filling: pour the heavy cream and 2 tablespoons bourbon in a small saucepan. Add the cinnamon stick. Cook over medium-low heat until the mixture just comes to a simmer. Cover and set aside to cool.
7. In a medium-size bowl, beat the eggs. Beat in the ½ cup granulated sugar and the brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Remove the cinnamon stick from the cream mixture. Whisk into the egg mixture until very smooth.
8. Leaving the pie pan with the blind-baked crust on the baking sheet, pour the filling mixture into the crust. Cover the crust with strips of foil to prevent burning.
9. Bake the pie on the baking sheet at 375 F for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the filling is set and only wobbles slightly when shaken. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Serve with whipped cream if desired.
Makes 8-10 servings. Refrigerate leftovers (if there are any)