Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon Crunch and Bourbon-Maple Whipped Cream

Fall is synonymous with pumpkin to me. The instant the weather starts to turn and the leaves start to change their color, the smell of pumpkin fills the air. When I was little, I swore to myself that I hated cheesecake and pumpkin pie. In my mind I never really knew why, but my sister told me she hated them, so I just knew I had to hate them too. Oh, how wrong I was! When I finally tried them for myself, I figured out that not only did I not-not like them, I loved them!

Last year was pretty ridiculous with the pumpkin shortage, so this year I made damn sure to stock up on all the pumpkin I would need and then some. I decided to try Bobby Flay's winning pumpkin pie from Throwdown! It boasts an untraditional graham cracker crust, an intensely flavored and smooth filling, all topped with boozy whipped cream and crispy oat crunchies to boot! The filling is incredibly dense (in a great way) and as smooth as can be - thanks to the straining. The oat crunchies provided a nice contrast in texture and I loved the maple scent of the whipped cream. 

Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon Crunch and Bourbon-Maple Whipped Cream
Yields: 2 8" Pies
Original recipe here.

For the cinnamon crunch:
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup quick cooking, rolled oats
1/4 cup light muscavado sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 1/2 tbsn. unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes

For the graham cracker crust:
2 cups graham crackers
8 tbsn. unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg, whisked (for brushing crust)

For the pumpkin filling:
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cups dark muscavado sugar
2 tbsn. molasses
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped and reserved (or 2 tsp. vanilla extract)
3 tbsn. unsalted butter, melted

For the bourbon-maple whipped cream:
1 1/4 cups heavy cream, cold
1/2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped and reserved (or 2 tsp. vanilla extract)
2 tbsn. grade B maple syrup
1 - 2 tbsn. bourbon (to your taste)

To make the cinnamon crunch, preheat the oven to 350 F. Combine the flour, oats, sugar and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the butter and pulse until combined. Pour the mixture onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and pat it into a rectangle, about 4x6 inches. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Break up into small pieces and store in an airtight container. 

To make the crust, keep the oven temperature at 350 F. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter and cinnamon to a medium bowl and mix until combined. It should feel like wet sand and just come together. Spread the mixture evenly into a 10-inch pie tin and use your fingertips or the flat bottom of a glass to firmly press the mixture over the bottom and up the sides of the dish. Brush with the whisked egg. Put the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake until the crust is light brown and firm to the touch, about 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

For the filling, reduce the oven temperature to 300 F. Whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugars and molasses in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the pumpkin puree, spices, salt, cream, milk and vanilla seeds and continue to whisk to combine. Strain the mixture through a coarse strainer into a bowl (this will make it velvety smooth). Whisk in the butter. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet and pour the strained mixture into the pre-baked shell. Bake until almost set, about 1 hour (the edges will be set and the center will be jiggly slightly when shaken). Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until chilled, if preferred. 

For the bourbon whipped cream, combine the cream, vanilla seeds, syrup and bourbon in a large chilled bowl and whip until soft peaks form. To serve, cut the pie into slices and serve each slice with a large dollop of whipped cream and some of the cinnamon crunch.
I had some leftover filling, so I made some extra mini tarts!


  1. I read the title of this and thought Bobby Flay! Definitely sounds like a winner to me. And your mini-tarts are adorable!

  2. Very nice pie, thanks for a great dessert idea.

  3. Looks amazing. I really love the crunch and the way the whipped cream is flavored. Sometimes it's the little things that really tip a recipe over the top. ;)

  4. amazing, love watching Throwdown!

  5. Awesome pie for Thanksgiving! I wanted a new Pumpkin Pie recipe to try and this sounds like its got the winning ticket. Bourbon? Maple? I'm sold!

  6. This looks absolutely amazing!
    Such a delicious recipe!

  7. Beautiful pictures and pie Michelle -- I love that you added a crunch on top. I will have to bookmark this for my belated thanksgiving party next week. Happy Thanksgiving, hope you havea great one :)

  8. This looks so yummy! Sad I missed the episode, I'll have to try to catch it sometime.

  9. The bourbon whipped cream sounds heavenly though the whole thing sounds great, too. I remember the great pumpkin shortage as well. Glad I'm not noticing any issues this year :). Happy early TG!

  10. Gorgeous photography and recipe. Bourbon whipped cream is a great touch!

  11. That smooth, lush texture sounds incredible. Straining is always worth it; whether it be flour, or custard when your making it.

  12. Beautiful photography! This pie has to be amazing... Great work :)

  13. Beautiful. Love the recipe and the blog.

  14. This is absolutely adorable!!! I love the crunch on top as well... takes away that oh... so boring pumpkin pie we might have grown up with... LOVE it.