Ah, pumpkin pie — that most quintessential of Thanksgiving desserts. Here's my own favorite take on pumpkin pie — one that skips the sometimes-finicky, sometimes-soggy pie crust for one made from crispy graham crackers. Add a heaping spoonful of fresh, piquant ginger and you have the pumpkin pie I look forward to all year long.
Ginger Pumpkin Pie: Watch the Video
Pumpkin pie didn't used to be a favorite. I liked the flavor and spices of traditional pumpkin pie, but often found it unpleasantly soggy. Then, a few years ago, I wondered what it would be like made with a toasty, firmer graham cracker crust. Presto — delicious. The graham cracker crust is easier to shape and press into place than a regular pie crust (I always use a homemade graham cracker crust; the store-bought ones taste stale to me.) It also holds up underneath the custard filling of the pumpkin, staying toothsome and snappy.
Other crackers or cookies would also work well in this recipe. Gingersnaps would be lovely in the crust, or even chocolate wafers, if you're feeling daring!
And finally, a note on the ginger. I keep this pumpkin pie fairly classic, with a dash of spices, cream, and eggs. But I do add a large dose of fresh ginger as well. This will be surprisingly mild on the first day you taste this pie. But if you let it rest in the refrigerator overnight, or for two days, you will find that the ginger taste blooms beautifully and becomes a spicy note underneath the mellow pumpkin. For that reason, I do recommend making this pie at least a day ahead.
This is a pleasantly spicy, more grown-up take on the classic Thanksgiving pie since it's loaded with fresh ginger and black pepper. Use a deep-dish pie plate to accommodate all the rich, custardy pumpkin filling, but don't use a store-bought graham cracker crust, which won't be deep enough. Don't worry, though — a graham cracker crust is much easier to throw together than a regular pie crust. Just press and bake!
- Christine, November 2018
Ginger Pumpkin Pie with Graham Cracker Crust
Makes 1 (9 1/2-inch) deep-dish pie; serves 8 to 10
Prep time: 15 minutes ; cooking time: 3 hours
- For the crust:
whole graham crackers (6 to 7 ounces), or 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
unsalted butter, melted
- For the filling:
1 (15-ounce) can
pumpkin purée, or just under 2 cups of homemade pumpkin pureé
packed dark brown sugar
large egg yolk
finely grated peeled fresh ginger (from about a 4-inch piece of ginger)
freshly ground black pepper
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F.
Break the crackers into rough 2-inch pieces and place in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Add the sugar and process into fine crumbs (you should have about 2 cups), about 30 seconds. Stop the motor, add the melted butter, and pulse to combine, about 5 (1-second) pulses. (Alternatively, place the crackers in a resealable plastic bag, press out the air, and seal. Using a rolling pin, smash into uniform fine crumbs. Transfer to a medium bowl, add the sugar and butter, and mix until evenly combined.) If using graham cracker crumbs, just stir the crumbs, sugar, and butter together in a large bowl.
Sprinkle the crumb mixture in small clumps over the bottom of a 9 1/2- to 10-inch deep-dish pie plate. Using a measuring cup or your fingers, evenly press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the plate (flour the cup or your fingers occasionally to prevent sticking if needed).
Bake until fragrant, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the filling.
Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until smooth and combined. Pour into the graham cracker crust after it has cooled 10 minutes.
Bake until just set but the center still jiggles slightly when you gently shake the pie plate, about 1 hour. Check after 40 minutes and tent loosely with aluminum foil if the crust seems to be browning quickly. (I let mine get fairly dark, as I like the flavor!) The filling will continue to firm up after it comes out of the oven. Let cool on a wire rack at least 2 hours before serving. If not serving immediately, cover with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate.
Make ahead: This pie can be baked a day or two ahead. Let come to room temperature before serving.
Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.
Grating ginger: To grate the ginger, use a Microplane or fine grater. Discard the tough fibers; just use the milky juice and purée.