Come Thanksgiving, it’s almost unimaginable to think of a holiday spread without a classic pumpkin pie, or at least a version of it. But in truth, the standard pumpkin pie filling can often border on dense, creating a soggy bottom layer of crust. The result lacks texture, which is where this pumpkin chiffon pie enters, upgrading the traditional favorite. The recipe provides the nostalgic comfort and the pumpkin spice flavor we all crave, but with a flaky, all-butter crust and a pumpkin filling lightened with meringue and set with gelatin. This means the crust bakes to a perfect flakiness on its own to compliment the creamy, mousse-like spiced filling. Make the pie the morning of, or ideally a day in advance of your holiday gathering. It is sure to charm its way into your holiday dessert repertoire.
Ingredients: Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
1 ¼ cup (200g) AP flour
½ tsp kosher salt
6 Tbs. (80g) butter, cold & cubed
¼ cup cold water, more as needed
2 tsp. (or 1 packet) gelatin
¼ cup water
1 (14.5 oz) can pumpkin puree
3 eggs, yolks & whites separated
⅓ cup heavy cream
½ cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
½ tsp. nutmeg
¾ tsp. salt, separated
2 tsp. vanilla
¼ cup granulated sugar
Whipped cream, optional
Toasted pecans or hazelnuts, optional
For the Pie Crust
1. Combine AP flour and salt in a large bowl.
2. Add butter and, using the palm of your hands, press the butter into thin sheets. These sheets will break down as you work with them, so irregular sizes of butter are okay and
preferable. Once the butter is incorporated in the flour, your flour will be a yellow hue and there will be no large chunks of butter.
3. Add ¼ cup of cold water and, using your hand to scrape the bowl, gradually incorporate the water until the dough comes together. If the dough is too dry, you can add 1–2 tablespoons of water.
4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour, or overnight. 5. Preheat the oven to 375°.
6. Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough out onto a floured work surface, turning your dough to ensure even rolling, to about ¼” thick.
7. Place in a pie plate and line with parchment and pie weights. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove the pie weights and bake for another 5 minutes until the bottom is golden brown.
For the Filling
1. Sprinkle gelatin over the water to dissolve and set aside.
2. Combine pumpkin puree, egg yolks, cream, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt in a sauce pot over medium heat. Whisk and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken, but not boil.
3. Take off the heat and stir in the gelatin and vanilla. Set aside to cool but do not set in the fridge.
4. Meanwhile, whisk the 3 egg whites with ¼ tsp salt and the granulated sugar until stiff peaks form.
5. When pumpkin filling is cool, fold in the meringue, careful not to deflate the egg whites. Fold until completely incorporated and pour into the prepared pie shell.
6. Cover and cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.
7. Serve with whipped cream and toasted nuts, if desired.