Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust and Cinnamon Whipped Cream

8 Oct


Part XXI:  When the Leaves Change, Then We All Go Free

You’re all liars.  I know I do the whole “treating my readers like crap so I can feel better about myself thing”, but this time it’s legitimate.

Every time Fall rolls around and I have to read 800 statuses about “OH MY GOD THEY’RE DOING PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES AGAIN NOBODY SAW THIS COMING”, I hear the same damned thing.  From everyone.  “I can’t wait for the pumpkin pie”, “oh man pumpkin pie’s the best”, etc.

Here’s the thing.  Nobody actually loves pumpkin pie.  People feel obliged to talk about it because it’s part of a massive holiday about food, and if they don’t they’ll be beheaded for being not “freedomy” enough.  And, granted, the stuff usually isn’t bad.  After all, pumpkin in and of itself is pretty delicious, and the pie hits all the requisite spices for a tasty fall dessert: ginger, clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  But it’s never the most exciting thing at the table, and that’s because of one very important component: the crust.

Nobody has ever, ever, raved about the crust on a pumpkin pie.  That’s because the crust’s always boring as hell:  crumbly, hard, flavorless.  Really, the crust on your average pumpkin pie is just there to hold the rest of the pie together, or to make sure you can actually qualify the thing as pumpkin pie, instead of pumpkin pile of garbage.

That’s why we need to change the recipe.  Instead of spending hours on the rest of Thanksgiving and doing the ol’ Half-Assed Shuffle through the finishing plate, take a little extra time and make your Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust and Cinnamon Whipped Cream.  It’ll be better, your family might not complain as much, and most of all, you’ll  be able to look yourself in the mirror that night before you go to sleep.  Which…you’ll probably be able to do anyway, but at least you won’t be looking at the face of a man who made the world’s most uninteresting dessert.  Let’s get started.

Here’s what you need:


-8 oz. gingersnap cookies (it’s about 32 cookies)

-1/2 stick (1/4 cup) of melted butter

Pumpkiny Part:

-1 cup packed brown sugar

-2 eggs

-1/2 teaspoon salt

-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

-1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

-1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

-1 cup canned pumpkin

-1 cup heavy cream


-1/4 cup packed brown sugar

-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

-pinch of sea salt

Whipped Cream:

-1 cup heavy cream

-3/8 (just wing it, it doesn’t have to be exact) cups confectioner’s sugar

-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

-1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Here’s how to do it:

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First, crumble the gingersnap cookies into a food processor, which is WAY more painful than it sounds.  Seriously, it’s like grinding tiny bits of kitchen tile into your hands.  Once they’re all in there, pulse them in the processor a few times until they’re nice and broken up, add the butter, and then pulse a few more times until it’s all combined.


Next, press it into a 9 inch pie pan using something flat (note: this is not the time to make a “witty” joke about your girlfriend, you will get justifiably insta-divorced), and make sure it goes up the sides.  You’re gonna have some spill-over, that’s ok.  This is basically the crumbliest thing of all time.  It’s a good thing.


Throw the crust in your refrigerator for 20 minutes, and preheat your oven to 325.  Once the crust is done chilling, bake it for 15 minutes, then set it on a cooling rack.  Turn your oven up to 350 after you’re done with the crust.

Now for the actual pie part, which you can do while the crust is chilling/baking.  If you read ahead, congratulations!  You can now use this tip.  If you didn’t, you just spent a bunch of time staring at crust.  How’s that feel?

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The pie part’s simple.  Dump everything that isn’t pumpkin or cream (that’s brown sugar, eggs, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves) into a bowl.  Whisk it.  Then add the pumpkin and the cream.  Whisk it.  You now have pumpkin pie filling.


Combine the brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon for the topping in another small bowl.


Then pour the filling into the crust, cover the crust with tin foil (I didn’t, and that’s why you see a burnt looking crust up there at the bottom), and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes.


After half an hour, take the pie out, cover it with your topping, and bake it for another 25 minutes at 325.


While that’s going on, make your whipped cream.  This one’s easy too:  put all the ingredients in a stand mixer, whisk at medium high until peaks form.


Take your pie out, put it on a cooling rack until it’s room temperature, and stick it in the refrigerator overnight.  Then put it on a plate with some whipped cream and shove it in your face.

Top your pie with some beats to go along with that whipped cream.  This week it’s a little something obscure out of Japan: Jazztronik with Inner Flight:  

Lesson of the day: you don’t even have to put that much extra effort to make a tasty-ass pumpkin pie.  Yes, you have to grind up the crust, big deal.  But the rest of it’s really just combining things.  No technique, no thought needed.  Make Thanksgiving worth a damn for once, people.  I’m imploring you.  This is an…implorcation.   I don’t really care about the holiday at all, but let’s save the pumpkin pie.  Leave no pie behind.  See you next week.


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