We had a birthday party to go to today! Our nephew, Aeris, turned 4!! I love getting together with Ryan’s family; they are crazy and a lot of fun to be around. I also like making new dessert recipes to have them try out. They are my guinea pigs 😉
A few weeks ago my sister-in-law made a pumpkin spice cake and we all loooved it. Since they all enjoyed a pumpkin cake so much, I figured that I would try making a new recipe for pumpkin pie. I saw this recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Even though I don’t like pumpkin pie, I thought that I would give this pie a shot (who can say no to caramel???)
I read through the recipe and felt a little intimidated by the fact that I would have to make my own caramel… you always see chef’s burning their caramel on the Food Networks awesome show ‘Chopped’. I decided it was worth a shot – if I couldn’t get past this stage of the recipe, I would just make a traditional pumpkin pie. So, I went to the store and got all of the groceries that I would need to make the pie (I cheated and bought a frozen pie crust). I also made sure to buy a whole bag of sugar, just in case it took a few tries to get the caramel to turn out right. This pie was actually a lot of fun to make… I’m not sure if that’s just because I was very excited that I got the caramel to turn out right on my first try or if it was because I got to use my new candy thermometer. Everyone loved the end product and requested that I make it again for Thanksgiving. Even my picky-eater nephew, Tyson, had a slice of the pie (see, no one can say no to caramel!) I made a few minor adjustments to the recipe from my magazine, so here is my version of Caramel Cream Pumpkin Pie…
1 deep frozen pie crust
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 cups half-and-half
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
8 egg yolks (keep the egg whites for the topping)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2/3 cup water
1 cup pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin (room temperature) (I add about 1/4 cup extra for more of a pumpkin flavor)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup whipping cream
8 egg whites
1 2/3 cups sugar
Pinch of salt
Make the caramel:
-Combine the 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup water, and 1 tsp lemon juice in a large saucepan. Stir over low heat until the sugar has completely melted. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook until the sugar syrup turns a medium amber color (slightly lighter than a penny), about 10 minutes.
-Take the caramel from the heat and immediately pour in half-and-half; the mixture will bubble vigorously but will calm down quickly. Return to low heat and stir until the caramel dissolves into the cream.
-Just as you’ve finished the stirring the caramel and cream, combine the dark brown sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch, vanilla extract, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the whisk attachment. Whisk together until well combined. With the mixer running on medium speed, slowly pour the warm half-and-half/caramel mixture into the bowl and continue whisking until well combined. (You can do this with a large mixing bowl and a whisk; just make sure you keep whisking as you add in the caramel mixture).
-Transfer the mixture to the large saucepan and whisk over medium heat until the mixture thickens to the consistency of mayonnaise, about 8 minutes (mixture will start to foam but settle down as you cook).
-Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and cover the top of the cream completely to keep it from forming a skin. Refrigerate until cook, about 2 hours.
-Cook your pie crust according to the instructions it came with.
-When the crust has cooked, spread ½ of the caramel cream mixture in an even layer into the pie crust.
-In a medium microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 2/3 cup water; let stand several minutes. Microcook on 50% power (medium), for 1 ½ to 2 minutes or until gelatin is dissolved, swirling mixture every 30 seconds. Gradually stir the 1 cup pumpkin puree into the gelatin mixture. Whisk the pumpkin mixture and spices into the remaining half of caramel cream.
-In a small bowl, beat the whipping cream until you achieve stiff peaks and gently fold the cream into the pumpkin/caramel cream mixture. Spread the pumpkin cream over the caramel cream in the pie crust into an even layer. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.
-In a very large glass bowl, combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt. Place the bowl over a bain-marie (a large saucepan or Dutch oven, ½ filled with simmering water). Beat with a hand-held electric mixture until the egg whites are very warm to the touch. Place a candy thermometer into the mixture to make sure the egg whites have exceeded 160 degrees F, the temperature at which the eggs will be ‘cooked’ and will kill any bacteria, about 15 minutes. Make sure to beat constantly, otherwise you’ll get sweetened scrambled eggs!
-Remove from heat and, if necessary, continue to beat until stiff shiny peaks form. Transfer mixture to a large pastry bag fitted with a star tip.
-Pipe meringue over the entire top of the pie. If desire, you can add a touch of browning with a kitchen torch. Serve at once or cover and chill overnight before serving.