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Caramel Pumpkin Pie


Serves 8-10

The homemade caramel for this pumpkin pie provides a subtle, almost butterscotch-like backdrop to the rich taste of pumpkin.

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbs. cold unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 15-oz. can pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 blind-baked Basic Pie Pastry shell

Position a rack in the center of the oven, set a rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and heat the oven to 425°F.

Pour the granulated sugar into a 3-quart, heavy-duty saucepan set over medium heat and sprinkle 2 Tbs. water over the sugar. Stir occasionally or swirl the pan to encourage the sugar to melt. When the sugar has melted, increase the heat to medium high. Watch the bubbling sugar syrup carefully and as the edges turn golden, gently swirl the pan (but do not stir the syrup directly) for even cooking. Continue to let the syrup cook until it is a nice, rich caramel color (a pale gold syrup will not make a flavorful sauce base). The total cooking time is about 5 minutes. Off the heat, carefully add the cream and butter to the pan—it will foam dramatically. Add the brown sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.

Whisk in the pumpkin, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg until smooth. One at a time, whisk in the eggs. Pour the filling into the pie shell, smooth the top, and put the pie on the hot baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Bake until the center of the pie no longer wobbles when the pan is nudged (a slight jiggle is okay), 25 to 30 minutes more. Transfer the pie to a rack and let it cool completely before serving.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Photo: Scott Phillips

Best pumpkin pie ever, and it's definitely best when served slightly warm. The fresher the better! And on a side note, I am not sure that it deserves poor ratings from people who can't make caramel. If you can't make te caramel this probably isn't the receipe for you! Bu if you can you certainly will not be disappointed.

A good "traditional" pumpkin pie; looks nice - I like the darker color - but kind of a pain to make the caramel, and not sure the end result is worth it.

I'm making this pie right now and it looks and smells great. I wanted to mention that this recipe makes a lot of filling. I'm making 2 pies so I doubled the recipe. I'll bet I have enough filling left over to do another pie. I was a little leery about blind baking the crust since it bakes a long time too but I did it as per the instructions. I'm hoping it comes out well.

Very nice recipe. We did double the cinnamon and increased the other spices a bit. When they say not to stir after it starts bubbling, they really mean it. I made that mistake and the sugar precipitated completely out. Second time I just swirled the pan as directed and it worked great. The person who had trouble with the blobby mass may have waited until it was too cool. You have to add the butter and cream while it is hot. I am not sure if that was the problem, just guessing. Mine mixed rather well.

I made this pie for my husband and daughter (who love pumpkin pie). I was not a pumpkin pie lover, until this recipe. I will gladly make this recipe again and again. Definately a new Thanksgiving favourite.

The making of the caramel was frustrating. I had to do it several times over, and it was a mess. Every time I went to add the cream to the hot, melted sugar, it would aggregate into this huge, viscous blob, even though I went slow and stirred vigorously. I had (some) dilute caramel with a giant, solidified blob of caramelized sugar that wouldn't dissolve. I finally had to combine several batches and strain out the blobs, if they weren't solidly adhered to the bottom of the pan. I'm sure there's some fine point of my technique that is off, but after reading over the instructions multiple times, I can't figure out what it is. The end result was tasty, but not worth the frustration.

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