Pumpkin pie is, without a doubt, my favorite type of pie. I always, and still do, greatly anticipated Thanksgiving because that meant there would be pumpkin pie for dessert. Luckily, I grew up in a family of pumpkin pie lovers so Thanksgiving was not the only time we would have pumpkin pie each year. I have a very distinct memory of visiting my Great Grandpa Frank’s house one afternoon and arriving just as he pulled a pumpkin pie out of the oven. Even though I prefer chilled pumpkin pie, I’ll never forget eating a warm slice of pie on a fall afternoon with him.
Now that you’ve taken a trip down memory lane with me, let’s talk about this caramel pumpkin pie! I always have a hard time straying from traditional Thanksgiving recipes because I fear that they won’t be as good as the original version. I had seen this recipe for caramel pumpkin pie many years ago, but never wanted to go without my traditional version until a couple of years ago. Once I tasted this pie for the first time, I knew my Thanksgiving menu would be forever changed. I should never have doubted the combination of caramel and pumpkin, especially for someone (a.k.a. me) who loves caramel more than any other sweet!
Surprisingly, this pie isn’t as sweet as you may expect. The caramel adds most of the sweetness, as well as lots of toasty flavors, so there is only a little bit of added sugar to the filling. The pumpkin spices really shine as well, but they aren’t so strong as to overpower the caramel or pumpkin flavors. I did add more spices than the original recipe, so if you prefer a more mildly spiced pumpkin pie, check out the notes section. Just to make this pie even easier, I decided to try this out with my mom’s oatmeal pie crust recipe and it is phenomenal. It’s kind of like having a cookie as the crust to your pumpkin pie filling. How can that not be good?!? Plus, it’s made in a food processor in a matter of seconds and there is no rolling required. Thanksgiving baking just got a whole lot easier!
If you love caramel and pumpkin as much as I do, please don’t hesitate to try this twist on a great classic for Thanksgiving this year. This pie has become our new tradition, especially since my husband specifically requested it this year, and I hope it can become yours too! Wishing you all a fun, blessed and happy Thanksgiving, wherever you are!
1. If you are nervous about making caramel, don't be! It sounds much more complicated than it is. I'm pretty sure you could substitute 1 cup store-bought caramel if you don't want to make your own. Just make sure the store-bought caramel isn't too stiff, you want a looser sauce. I cannot attest to how sweet the store-bought caramel will make the pie.
2. If you prefer a mildly spicy pumpkin pie, keep the cinnamon and ginger measurements the same. Decrease the nutmeg and cloves to "a pinch" and omit the allspice.
Crust recipe is a family recipe. Filling recipe adapted from Everyday Annie
For the caramel sauce:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- ¾ cup heavy cream, warmed
- 1 tablespoon dark rum (optional, but highly recommended) or 1/2 teaspoon rum or vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
For the crust:
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup oatmeal
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut in pieces
For the filling:
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
To make the caramel:
- In a medium saucepan, spread the sugar out in an even layer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar begins to melt. Try not to stir too much, just enough to distribute the heat, as the sugar may clump. If it does, don't worry, the crystals will melt as the sugar caramelizes. Continue to gently mix until the sugar has turned a deep amber color (this happens rather quickly so watch carefully so the sugar does not burn). Once the sugar has reached the desired color, remove the pan from the heat.
- Add the warm cream in a slow steady stream down the inside edge of the saucepan, stirring or whisking constantly to incorporate evenly. Make sure the cream is warm! If not, the sugar will probably clump together. If this happens, return the pan to the stove and warm over medium heat. Cook until lumps are just melted.
- Stir in the butter and the rum and mix just until smooth.
- Set aside. Make the pie crust while caramel is cooling. Allow caramel to cool for at least 15 minutes before adding to filling.
To make the pie crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter or grease a 9" or 9.5" pie plate. Set aside.
- In a food processor, combine all ingredients for crust.
- Pulse mixture together until dough is moist and mixture starts to come together.
- Press oatmeal crust evenly onto bottom and sides of pie plate.
- Bake for 14-15 minutes, until crust is lightly browned.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack while making filling. Oven can remain at 350 degrees.
To make the filling:
- In a bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and vanilla. Whisk to blend.
- Whisk in the eggs, one at a time.
- Mix in the caramel.
- Pour the filling into the partially baked crust.
- Bake the pie for 45-50 minutes, or until the center is just set and the edges are puffed.
- Transfer to a wire rack to let cool at least 30 minutes before serving. If waiting more than two hours until serving, cover and refrigerate pie until ready to serve.
- Serve with freshly whipped cream and more caramel sauce as desired.
- Leftover pie can be kept refrigerated for 4-5 days.
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