Yankee Magazine’s Lifestyle editor Amy Traverso shares a recipe for a smooth, sweet alternative to traditional pumpkin pie. RECIPE: Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
Hi, I am Amy Traverso, Lifestyle Editor at Yankee Magazine. Welcome to The Yankee Kitchen.
Today, I am making my absolute favorite pumpkin pie. I think this is the best, most delicious pumpkin pie you can serve at Thanksgiving. It is different from your normal custard pie. It is a chiffon pie, which means it is just a little bit lighter and fluffier, and I really love what the chiffon filling does for the flavor and the texture of the pumpkin. So let’s get started.
The first thing we are going to do is make a simple crust. It is just a walnut and graham cracker crust. So you have some ground walnuts, some graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and some melted butter, and I have already done this. I pre-ground the nuts, because, to be honest, you don’t want to listen to me grinding nuts on camera, but here I am going to just mix this in a bowl until it is nice and moistened. It is about 5 tablespoons of butter.
Okay. I think that is all done. So I am going to just put it in my pie plate. This is a deep-dish pie plate. Nine or ten inches is fine. It is a good deal of filling, so you definitely want to have a deep-dish plate. Now, you just kind of press it down into the bottom and up the sides. Okay, so that’s it. Now you just need to bake this in a 350-degree oven for about 15 minutes, until it is golden brown.
Okay, now I am going to make the filling. Now, a chiffon pie uses gelatin to give the pie structure. This pie actually combines a custard base and gelatin, so it is really creamy and really nice.
Okay, so we have some liquor. It could be whiskey or brandy. We have our gelatin and some milk. It is about a quarter cup. Now you just want to whisk this over low heat and let the gelatin dissolve.
Okay, this is dissolved, and I am going to be adding my eggs and my brown sugar. Now, add the eggs about one at a time. I have pre-cracked these. This is already heating up kind of quickly, so I am going to take it off the heat. You don’t want the eggs to cook to the point of curdling, and now I am going to add the brown sugar, and that will melt into the mixture. Basically, this is the custard part of the filling.
Now we add the pumpkin and the spices. We use typical pumpkin pie spices here. That is cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger and then just a little bit of salt.
Now the goal is to cook the eggs enough so that they are safe to eat without letting them get fully cooked and curdled. So we want a smooth, custardy sauce. We are going to keep cooking this over low heat for about five to seven minutes.
Okay, so I have been stirring this filling for about five minutes, stirring constantly. You want to make sure you are keeping it moving so the eggs don’t cook too much, and now it is looking like a nice, thickened pudding. It looks great. So I am going to take it off the heat. Now I want this to come to room temperature, so I am going to transfer it to a bowl and let it sit for about 15 to 20 minutes to let it cool.
Okay, now my custard is cooled, and I have about a cup and a half of heavy cream that I have already whipped, and I whipped it to medium peaks, which means that it can kind of hold its shape without getting the dry look of stiff peaks. So it still has a little bit of softness to it, but it holds its shape.
Okay, now I am going to just fold this in. I am going to first start with just a little bit, and now we are going to add a lot more. When you fold, basically you start in the center and you sort of scoop down and then up. You are lifting the mixture from the bottom up toward the top.
Okay, I am feeling good about this. This looks ready to me, so I am going to pour this into the shell that I baked earlier. Now you can garnish with some walnut halves, and I am going to let this chill in the refrigerator for an hour or two. It will firm up as it chills.
There you go. Now you just put it into the refrigerator and let it chill for at least an hour and a half, until it is nice and firm, and then you serve it.