This, my friends, is one serious pie. If I were smart, I would have cut this into very small wedges to be savored. But I didn’t. Thanksgiving day exists in a place outside any concern for calorie counts or cardio workouts. For one day (okay, one LONG weekend), I eat all of the delicious foods of the season and revel in the holiday treats. So don’t feel too bad if you eat this pie, as I really do think it is worth the calories.
I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin pie, but I loved this one. The gingersnaps make for a great sweet/salty crust that balances perfectly against the creamy pumpkin custard. I add some almonds to the crust for a nice toasty flavor, and they add a nice chewiness to the crust. If you’re using gluten-free gingersnaps, I highly recommend using Pamela’s Ginger Mini Snapz for this recipe – I did you the favor of testing all of the gluten-free ginger cookies on the market, and these were the crunchiest and spiciest, and I like the molasses in them. Most Whole Foods stores carry them.
And if the decadence of a cookie crust and rich custard aren’t enough for you, why not pile on a meringue topping, right?! Meringue is a tasty trick not pulled out of the pastry hat nearly enough. It can stand in for whipped cream, but the toasted, creamy texture of the meringue is a beautiful thing…and is definitely the healthiest part of this pie.
Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust and Meringue Topping serves 8
Inspired by Closet Cooking
1 1/2 cups gluten-free Pamela’s gingersnap cookie crumbs (pulverized in the food processor)
1/2 cup finely ground almonds
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter (melted)
Directions for crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Pour the gingersnap cookies into a food processor and pulverize into crumbs – I used the entire package of Pamela’s gingersnaps. Pour the crumbs into a medium mixing bowl.
- Pour 1/2 cup raw almonds into the food processor bowl and pulverize until the almonds are finely ground, then pour into the mixing bowl with the gingersnaps.
- Mix the gingersnap crumbs, sugar, ginger and melted butter in a bowl.
- Press the mixture into the bottom of a springform pan. Use the bottom of a drinking glass to press the crumbs down in an even layer, and to help get into the corners.
- Bake the crust for about 12 minutes, making sure to put a sheet pan under the springform pan in case of dripping (or your kitchen will fill with smoke like mine did – oops!).
- While the crust bakes, make the filling.
2/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
8oz evaporated milk
Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into the pre-baked pie shell, and then bake for 35-45 minutes, until the custard has set and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the filling. Remove from the oven, and allow the pie to totally cool before making the meringue topping.
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
6 tablespoons confectioners sugar
pinch of salt.
- You can top the pumpkin pie with meringue a few hours before serving, but you don’t want to do it a day in advance – the meringue will get tough.
- Preheat the broiler. Place all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, whip the mixture on high speed until the whites get glossy, white and form stiff peaks when swirled with a spoon – it will take about 5-7 minutes of whipping, so be patient. Just when you think it’s not gonna happen, the whites are magically transformed into meringue.
- Spoon the meringue over the top of the pie, making a nice thick layer. Use the back of a spoon to make some sexy swirls and waves in the meringue. Place the pie under the broiler for 5-7 minutes, until the top is toasted and the meringue is set. Watch it carefully – don’t leave the stove, as it can burn quite easily.
- Serve the pie at room temperature.
479 cal per slice, 160cal from fat, 23.1g fat, 85mg cholesterol, 310mg sodium, 230mg potassium, 51g carbs, 2g fiber, 40g sugars, 9.6g protein
This one would make my husband happy. He got a recipe at work for a frozen pumpkin pie in the gingersnap crust and that one is good. It is less dense/slimy so I like it better, but since the pumpkin is mixed with coolwhip, it is kind of scary.I'll have to try a mini version of this sometime when I find the cookies.
Thanks! I'd agree that Cool Whip is scary…my husband's family mainly uses pie as a means of conveying CW, and it freaks me out a little. I think a mini version of this would be great – I'm glad we had friends over to help us eat most of the pie!
Oh, wow. Looks delicious! I'm going to make that one soon for my pumpkin loving family!
I agree that you definitely get a free pass on eating for the whole wknd. : ) This sounds wonderful!!!
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