Thursday, November 18, 2010

Maple Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Streusel

It's getting to be that time of year again...The leaves are changing colors, the weather is getting chillier, and Halloween and Thanksgiving are right around the corner. I have to say, my favorite part about these holidays might be the food: turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, apple pie, pecan pie...the list goes on. But my all-time favorite fall food is pumpkin: pumpkin muffins, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin bread, and, of course, pumpkin pie. So, as you can imagine, I jumped at the chance to make a pumpkin pie this weekend for my dad's birthday. For my close friends' and families' birthdays I bake whatever cake/cookie/pie their hearts desire. Luckily for me, my dad's favorite dessert also happens to be one of my favorites.

I've only attempted to make a pumpkin pie once before and it was one of my worst baking attempts of all time. The consistency of the pie was just off. No matter how long I baked or chilled it for, the pie filling remained runny. I hated it, and I rarely say I hate pumpkin pie.

Determined not to repeat my mistake, I decided to search online for a good recipe. I came across a Bobby Flay recipe from an episode of Throwdown that sounded promising, but reading through the comments it seemed many reviewers were eager to get ahold of the the other recipe from the episode from Bobby's competition, Michele Albano, owner of her own pie shop in New Hampshire. I searched the Food Network site for Michele's recipe and bingo, my adaptation of her maple pumpkin pie with pecan streusel was born.

I was pressed for time, so I used a premade pie shell and canned pumpkin, but the result was still awesome. The pecan topping was to die for! However, I am a huge fan of the graham cracker crust, so next time I try this recipe I might substitute one in for the plain crust, otherwise this pie was stellar. I may or may not be making it again in the next week...

Bon appetit!

Maple Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Streusel
Serves 6-8
1 9-inch premade pie crust, refrigerated
Heavy cream

3/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cold, diced

2 cups pumpkin puree
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup Grade B maple syrup
3 large eggs, whisked

Maple Whipped Cream:
2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup Grade B maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Brush the edges of the pie crust with heavy cream and refrigerate until the filling is ready.

To make the streusel, toss the pecans, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the butter and work it in with your fingertips until small clumps form. Set aside.

To make the filling, mix the pumpkin, flour, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the cream and maple syrup, scraping the sides of the bowl several times while mixing. Mix in the beaten eggs.

Pour filling into the pie shell and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350° F and bake until the filling is almost firm, about 30 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and sprinkle the streusel over the top. Return to the oven and bake until the filling is just a little wobbly in the middle and streusel is golden, about 10-15 minutes. The total baking time should be somewhere between 55 and 60 minutes.

Cool the pie on a wire rack. This pie is best served chilled or at room temperature. I prefer my pumpkin pie chilled, so I popped it in the fridge while I made the maple whipped cream.

To make the whipped cream, place the bowl of an electric mixer in the freezer to chill for at least 15 minutes. Then, combine the cream, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla in the chilled bowl and beat on high speed until the mixture thickens. Add the maple syrup and beat on high until the cream forms firm peaks. Garnish pie with maple whipped cream before serving.

Source: Michele Albano via Food Network

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