Pumpkin pie has never been my favorite dessert. As a child I remember choosing pecan over pumpkin at Thanksgiving, and I’m not even a real fan of pecan pie. (Apologies to pecan lovers out there. And especially to my sister Charlotte.)
It wasn’t until I got my first apartment and bought a cookbook called “The Country Cookbook” and made this recipe that I absolutely fell in love with pumpkin pie.
You see, this recipe has a layer of caramelized apples underneath and the combination of the sweet apples and the spicy pumpkin was my ticket to Thanksgiving dessert-bliss.
This is the one dish I make every year, and have been doing so since the age of 21. For those in the know, that’s ever so much more than twenty (name that play, movie, book). And for the past ten years or so, I’ve added the ring of pie crust leaves which although is very time-consuming, adds some panache.
This year, I purchased new leaf cutters from Williams Sonoma. The cutters I’d been using had also been purchased from the same company and were metal, but I always had to add the ‘veins’ by hand using a thin knife.
It’s always special showing you the pink countertops, isn’t it?
I was hoping that these leaf cutters would be just what I was looking for, but sadly they were not and I can’t recommend them. The plastic doesn’t cut nearly as well as the metal and the only leaf that gave me no trouble was the elm, so I went with that for the entire pie.
To apply the leaves, I dipped my finger into milk and gently put it on the edge of the pie crust, then laid the leaf down. I’ve got the first three done here.
Here’s the recipe for this unique and delicious pie and if you make it, you will understand the true meaning of pumpkin pie bliss. Enjoy.
10” unbaked pie shell
1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp. butter
3 cup sliced tart apples (I used winesaps)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canned or cooked mashed pumpkin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup evaporated milk
Peel and slice apples.
- Combine brown sugar, cornstarch, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. salt in a large saucepan. Stir in water and butter. Bring to a boil; add apples and cook 4 minutes over medium heat. Set aside.
- Beat eggs in separate bowl. Add sugar, pumpkin, 1/4 tsp. salt, ginger, 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, cloves and evaporated milk. Blend well.
- Prepare pie crust.
- Spoon apple mixture into pie shell. Carefully spoon/pour pumpkin layer over apples. Add leaves around edges. Bake in moderate oven (375 deg.) 50-55 minutes.
(For leaves on top of pie, bake several leaves separately on small sheet of aluminum foil. Watch them because they’ll only take about 5 minutes or so, depending on thickness. Place on pie after removing from oven, pressing gently in place.)