Trust me when I tell you this Pumpkin Caramel Pie is like no other pumpkin pie you've ever had. It's basically classic pumpkin pie's hipster-goth-rebel cousin. This pie has attitude. It's moody and edgy. And it might be a little bit of a bad ass.
The caramel adds depth and fanciness to the pumpkin, without adding too much sweetness. It melds perfectly into that perfect pumpkin pie texture, too...it's smooth and a little bit custardy. The filling and crust together take the depth of flavor even further, adding a dark, intense (but not overwhelming) chocolatey flavor that complements the pumpkin and caramel in an unexpected but glorious way.
I'm loving the intensely dark look of the chocolate cookie crust, too. Thank you, black onyx cocoa powder, for that. Your local spice shop and/or amazon are good places to find it...but you can use regular cocoa powder in a pinch, you just won't get the same level of darkness in your cookies/crust. If you want to be a cheater, you can also just do an oreo pie crust here, but it's not the same...if you have time, I promise it's worth it to make your own cookies and crust.
Despite all of it's bad ass-ery, this pie secretly really wants to be a part of your Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving table.
Pumpkin Caramel Pie
recipe adapted from Baking: From My Home To Yours
one chocolate cookie pie crust (recipe below)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 TB dark rum (or cider)
2 TB unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of allspice
pinch of table salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
lightly sweetened whipped cream
- Make sure the rack is in the center of your oven, then preheat the oven to 350F. Place your pie crust on a lined baking sheet.
- Distribute 1/2 cup sugar evenly in a large, nonstick skillet. Place the skillet over medium-high heat and cook until the sugar melts and starts to color. Don't walk away!
- Once you see a little color, swirl the skillet so the sugar colors evenly.
- Cook sugar, without stirring, until it turns dark, deep amber. The darker the sugar, the deeper the flavor (but don't go so far as to turn it black and burnt). It might bubble and/or foam while it darkens...it's okay, just keep and eye on the color.
- Lower the heat to medium, and add the cream into the skillet. Cook, stirring gently but constantly, until the texture evens out.
- Add rum and butter, stir, and cook until the caramel is smooth.
- Pour caramel into a heatproof bowl to cool for 15 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk pumpkin vigorously until smooth.
- Add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and beat until blended.
- Whisk in the spices, salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until smooth.
- Whisk in the cooled caramel.
- Tap the bowl on the counter a few times to de-bubble the mixture.
- Pour filling into crust, and bake for 40-50 minutes, until filling is puffed and set. A thin knife should come out clean, or, when you tap the pan, the filling shouldn't really jiggle.
- Cool pie to room temperature.
- The pie is great at room temp and cold from the fridge...do what appeals to you most. Serve with a dollop of barely-sweetened whipped cream with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- Store leftovers in the fridge, covered.
Chocolate Cookie Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups (6 oz) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used a combo of black onyx and regular dutch processed cocoas)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks (12 TB or 6oz) unsalted butter, at room temp
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 3/4 cups cookie crumbs
5 TB unsalted butter, melted
- Make chocolate cookies: In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy.
- Add syrup, egg, and vanilla. Mix until combined.
- Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Refrigerate dough for 45 min to 1 hour.
- Line two large cookie sheets with parchment.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Roll dough into 1.5-inch balls, and place on lined cookie sheets. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.
- Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until puffy.
- Allow cookies to cool completely before using.
- Assemble pie crust: In the bowl of your food processor, blitz cookies to make crumbs.
- Put 1 3/4 cups cookie crumbs on a lined cookie sheet, and bake at 325F for 8 minutes, tossing halfway through. This will help dry them out a bit.
- Add toasted crumbs to a medium bowl.
- Melt 5 TB unsalted butter.
- Add melted butter, one TB at a time, to your toasted cookie crumbs. Use your hands or a small rubber spatula to mix each TB of butter into your crumbs. Stop adding butter when your crumbs are the texture of wet sand. If you accidentally add too much butter, add some more cookie crumbs to dry it out.
- Firmly press crumbs into pie tin/pan.
- Freeze crust for 20 minutes.
- Bake at 350F for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool, until you're ready to add your filling.