Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Maple Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust #45

Oh boy, are we sick of pumpkin pie yet? I sure hope not because tomorrow is the big day!

Are you ready? Do you have pie questions? If you don't know who to ask or have a question I might be able to help you with, you can email me at kacalder (at) gmail (dot) com. I will be standing by to answer any of your pie questions (hopefully I can).

This is kind of like butterball's talk turkey line, but less about turkey's and more about pies.

And, get excited all of you Cjane readers out there, because for today's pumpkin pie post, this is the recipe that she lauded as "the very best Thanksgiving Pie [her] tastebuds had ever sampled."
(maple pumpkin pie top right, with the crack)

Please, tell me which among you is not excited about this pie now?

As you can see, last year it got great reviews (thanks Cjane), which is why I made it for the Pumpkin Pie Panel this year where it also came out as one of the winners (though it was a fight between the citrus pumpkin pie, the homemade traditional pumpkin pie, and this pie).

I think that the maple and pumpkin filling would be nothing without the gingersnap crust. I tried to up the ante a bit this time by using using homemade gingersnaps instead of store bought ones. The gingersnap cookie recipe I used (see below) was fine, but I was hoping that since it used fresh ginger that it would really bite back at you, unlike store bought gingersnaps.

Unfortunately, it turned out more mild than I hoped for and, as much as I hate to admit it, I think the crust was no better than the crust made with the store bought (which, if we're going to get really honest with each other, was a big disappointment since I've been thinking about that change for a year or so).

Even though the gingersnap cookies were not hard to make, I'm questioning whether or not it was worth the effort. In my opinion, the cookies need a bit of candied ginger just for that extra punch, but for now (i.e. for tomorrow) I recommend getting some high-quality, gingersnaps from the store, at least until this gingersnap cookie recipe merits the extra work.

Nonetheless, the maple, pumpkin, and gingersnap combo are the perfect Thanksgiving trifecta, in my humble pie opinion, and you should know that the gingersnap crust makes the difference. It's awesome and I highly recommend this pie (as well as the other two winners).

One other thing, speaking of the crust, it's a little hard to get it all out of the pan. I believe this would be solved by greasing the pie pan before you put the cookie crust in (I've made a note below). But really, the only reason I suggest you fuss with the crust is because it's always about the presentation but just as well, your guests are not going to want to miss out on any  of those extra gingersnap crumbs!

Maple Pumpkin Pie with a Gingersnap Crust
(adapted from Epicurious)
Gingersnap Crust:
fourteen 2-inch gingersnaps (about 4 ounces)*
1 cup pecans (about 4 ounces)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter melted and cooled

Maple Pumpkin Filling;
1 cup Grade pure maple syrup
2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup milk
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 375° F.

In a food processor grind gingersnaps, pecans, and sugar until fine and add butter, blending until combined well. [Grease pie pan and] press mixture onto bottom and up side of a 9-inch (1-quart) glass pie plate. Bake crust in middle of oven 15 minutes, or until crisp and golden around edge, and cool on rack.
In a 3- to 3 1/2-quart heavy saucepan gently boil maple syrup until a small amount dropped into a bowl of cold water forms a soft ball, about 210° F on a candy thermometer, and cool slightly. In a bowl whisk together pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, salt, cream, milk, and eggs and whisk in maple syrup.

Strain filling through a fine mesh sieve. Use a spatula to stir and press mixture through sieve. Once you get almost everything through the sieve (no need to force the small amounts of stringy or flavorless pumpkin, which are the only things remaining in the end, through the sieve), pour filling into cooled shell.

Bake pie in middle of oven 1 hour, or until filling is set but center still shakes slightly. (Filling will continue to set as pie cools.) Transfer pie to a rack to cool completely.

*Gingersnap Cookies:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger

Preheat the oven to 350F

In a bowl, whisk together the four, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachments beat together the granulated sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, to to 3 minutes. Beat in  the eggs, molasses, and ginger to combine. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, beating just until incorporated.

Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Shape the dough into twenty-four 1/2-inch balls. Space the balls evenly on two baking sheets. Bake, rotating the sheets once halfway through, until dark golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks to cool.

The gingersnaps can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

This should make enough cookies for 2 or 3 pies.


  1. Looks great. Yay for being mentioned on Cjane! You guys have one talented family! I did NOT have a good pie day and my crusts were crumbling and I couldn't roll them out! See our blog for THAT post!
    Are you guys ever going to come back to the Island for a visit?
    Great reading your blog, now time to update your other one!
    -Katie Butler ( Wiedenman)

  2. You are such the pie baker. I have been following you quietly but now will speak.

    I used fresh ginger too, but always double it compare to ground.

    I love maple and pumpkin the best too. Not so much for cookie crust.

  3. It doesn't say which Grade of maple syrup to use, so I will make a suggestion: go for Grade B if you can find it. It is the "second run" and generally considered to be less desirable (and less expensive) than Grade A. Personally I think it has much more flavor and depth! My favorite not-just-health-food store sells it in bulk and I use it in all kinds of recipes! Happy Baking!!