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The Best Pumpkin Pie
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4.86 from 7 votes

Crème Brulée Pumpkin Pie

This is literally the best pumpkin pie you will ever have! It's a killer pumpkin pie recipe to begin with, but then we go and blow torch it to get that crackly crème brulée topping. GUYS! I thought I wasn't a pumpkin pie lover, but I've had a total change of heart. 

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 2 cups all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, COLD, cut into chunks (1 stick)
  • 6 tablespoons butter-flavored Crisco
  • 1/2 beaten egg
  • 1/4 cup ice water

For the filling

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 & 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree, not pumpkin mix!
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 & 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2-3 tablespoons fine sugar**
  • whipped cream, to garnish

Instructions

  • First make the pie crust.* Note: this pie crust recipe makes 2 crusts and you only need one, so you can freeze one for later. Or use it to make this Cheesecake Pecan Pie. Do it do it!
  • Measure out 1/4 cup water into a glass measuring cup and stick it in the freezer.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt.
  • Use a pastry cutter. Cut until it looks like coarse crumbs. Don't overdo it!
  • In a small bowl beat one egg. Pour out half (into the sink or into another container, or heck, into a frying pan). You can just eyeball it. I know this is annoying, but it makes for SUCH a tender crust!
  • Add the half beaten egg to the cold water that you put in the freezer. Beat it together, then add it to the butter mixture. Stir until it is just coming together, then use your hands to knead it once or twice (only to make it come together). Divide the dough in half. Shape one half into a disk and put it in a ziplock bag in your freezer for the next time you make this pie.
  • Roll out the remaining dough on a well-floured surface. I love to use my pastry cloth.
  • Roll the dough loosely on the rolling pin to transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Fold the edges under and crimp/shape the crust however you want. Place the formed crust in the fridge while you make the filling.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Make the filling: In a large bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 and 1/2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, and black pepper.
  • Add the pumpkin puree, 2 eggs, 2 egg yolks, and cream. Whisk until there are no lumps.
  • Pour the filling into the prepared crust.
  • Bake at 425 for 12 minutes.
  • Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Cover the pie crust with aluminum foil so that it doesn't get too brown. The center of the pie should be uncovered. (see photos)
  • Bake at 350 for about 35-40 minutes. The pie will NOT be set in the middle. When it is done, the outer 2 inches of the pie (closest to the crust) should not move when you shake the pan. Over baking is what makes for a boring pumpkin pie texture, so don't over bake!
  • Don't take the pie out! Turn off the oven and open the oven door all the way for at least 5 minutes to let it cool down. If it's annoying to have the oven door open, after 5 minutes shut the oven door but leave it open a crack if possible. Pumpkin pie is a custard, and custard puffs as it cooks. When it cools, it shrinks and pulls to the edges, causing cracks in your pie. We want it to shrink slowly, so no dramatic temperature changes.
  • Once the pie has cooled to room temperature, transfer to the refrigerator. Chill for at least 2-3 hours, until completely cold.
  • When you are ready to serve the pie, evenly sprinkle some of the fine sugar over the top. A thin layer is best. Use a kitchen torch to brulee the top. Make sure you keep the flame moving, don't stay in one spot. The sugar will start to bubble and brown.  Do NOT let the flame touch the crust. It will burn instantly.
  • If you like, you can sprinkle with more sugar and repeat the torching process. Just like when you're painting a wall, multiple thin layers are better than 1 thick layer. The sugar will become crackly within 1-2 minutes after torching.
  • Since you can't get near the crust, you will probably have a ring of sugar around the perimeter of your pie. I used a pastry brush to sweep it toward the center and torch it. Then I wet the brush just a tiny bit and brushed the very edge of the crust so that it wasn't white anymore. You only need to do this if presentation is really important to you.
  • You have about 15-20 minutes before the crackles on top of the pie start to go soft. The torching really does have to happen last minute. The good news is that you can always just add more sugar and torch again, as many times as you like. I've been torching each individual leftover slice all week.
  • Serve with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon!

Notes

*Of course you can totally use a store bought pie crust. I'm no judge. You will only need one sheet of pie crust. (Half a package)
**If you don't have any super fine sugar, you can make your own by blending up some regular granulated sugar. Blend it for just a few seconds otherwise it will turn into powdered sugar.
I know you are all hoping to read in the notes that you can actually just broil the pie to get the crunchy topping, but I'm so sorry, you can't! It will not be the same and all you will have is a burned crust. Trust me, a kitchen torch is totally worth the investment!
One more note: this pie is perfect for making in advance. Make a day ahead of time, stick it in the fridge, then torch it last minute while all your friends ooh and aah :) If you would like to do 2 days ahead, I recommend beating an egg white and brushing the bottom of the pie crust with it before adding the pumpkin filling. This will help your bottom crust stay flaky and not go sad-soggy on you.
Source: The recipe is mine, but I got this idea from my brother Eric, who made a version last year. He likes to take a few slices of ginger and mix it with the fine sugar that is going to be bruléed. Let it sit for several hours and allow the ginger to flavor the sugar. Then brulée as usual. It sounds amazing and I'm totally trying it next time!

Nutrition

Serving: 1 g, Calories: 616 kcal, Carbohydrates: 63 g, Protein: 8 g, Fat: 38 g, Saturated Fat: 19 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12 g, Trans Fat: 2 g, Cholesterol: 184 mg, Sodium: 584 mg, Potassium: 241 mg, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 33 g, Vitamin A: 10578 IU, Vitamin C: 3 mg, Calcium: 78 mg, Iron: 3 mg