Slightly Disappointing Pumpkin Pie with Pecan-Gingersnap and Maple Whipped Cream

A good number of friends from college and high school are living in San Francisco or near the bay. It’s a nice migration pattern. One such friend hosted a pumpkin potluck on Saturday, so I made pie. I wanted to switch it up, and this recipe from Joy of Baking seemed interesting. I’m not sue I would make it again, though.

Pumpkin pie is a beautiful thing. Why mess with a beautiful thing?

There are two main ways to make pumpkin pie, and they separate along the dairy line. Heavy cream or evaporated milk. Though, the decision to use canned pumpkin or roast and blend a gourd yourself is also a divisive one. Because I didn’t wake up until noon or something on Saturday, I chose to go the canned pumpkin route. Canned puree, mind you. Using canned mix is not an option.

Adding a layer of toasted pecans and crushed gingersnaps above the crust sounded great, but didn’t turn out that well. The spicy delicate gingersnap flavor was completely overwhelmed by the aggressive pecans. Maybe we overtoasted them, because the bottom of the pie was grainy and burnt tasting. What a shame!

I think this is the last time I’ll use a recipe that calls for heavy cream instead of evaporated milk. Even with a bunch of sugar the pie wasn’t very sweet and didn’t balance the extra spices I threw in. I like a spicy pie. Evaporated milk gives the pie a more solid, creamy structure as well. It seemed like the eggs in this pie were stretched thin, and the whole thing was a little too jiggly and watery.

I’ve made pumpkin pie enough now that I think my go to standard will be as follows:

Joy the Baker’s Buttermilk Pie Crust

-Roasted, pureed sugar pumpkin. I used other winter squash, like butternut, while I was in Ukraine, as sugar pumpkins were hard to come by. It was still great!

-Evaporated milk

-A heavy hand with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. My new best friend, Joy, has a pie spice recipe that also includes cardamom and allspice. I’ll try it next time!

Here’s the recipe I used for the party. I don’t really recommend it, but maybe I’ll up the gingersnaps next time and be more careful with the pecans. I ground them pretty finely in a spice grinder, but it might be a nicer texture if I only lightly crushed and chopped them.

The maple whipped cream was really nice, though.

I don't have a picture of the pie itself, but this is how I got it to the Presidio.
I don’t have a picture of the pie itself, but this is how I got it to the Presidio.
Guarding the bikes on a beer run. Perfect post-rain evening ride.
Guarding the bikes on a beer run. Perfect post-rain evening ride.
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