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