This pumpkin pie is sure to make an impression on your guests. The maple-bourbon pumpkin filling goes so well with the salty, sweet pecan-graham crust. To put it over the top, add meringue and toast it up.
It’s simpler than it looks.
A recipe like this might seem a little intimidating to the infrequent bakers out there, but it’s really not very difficult. A little time consuming, sure, but completely worth the effort. The first step is to make the crust. Instead of a typical pie crust, I opted for a pecan-graham cracker crust. I added much less sugar than most other recipes out there and up’ed the salt. The salty, buttery crust compliments the filling perfectly and balances out the sweetness.
To make the crust, first toast the pecans. This is an essential step! Big game changer flavor wise. Then, it’s as easy as throwing the nuts along with the other dry ingredients into a food processor and pulsing until small crumbs form. Stir in some melted butter, prebake the crust, and you’re good to go.
Maple Bourbon. Oh yeah.
While the crust cools, it’s time to make the filling. Step one is reducing the maple syrup. Cooking down the syrup gets rid of excess water and helps concentrate the flavor. Now, if you’re using a fresh sugar pumpkin, step one would actually be to roast the pumpkin. It could certainly be roasted and pureed well ahead of prebaking the crust. Despite the fact that I took a picture of my beautiful sugar pumpkin, I actually used canned pumpkin for this recipe. My fresh pumpkin will probably be transformed into soup tonight. I usually really push for fresh ingredients, but I think this pie comes out very well with good old canned pumpkin. After you decide which kind of pumpkin to use, you basically just whisk up all the filling ingredients and you’re done. Fill the cooled pie crust, tap out any air bubbles, and start baking.
Lemon Meringue, move over
Lemon meringue pie is wonderful, but this pumpkin meringue pie is definitely stiff competition. The sour cream in the filling and the salt in the crust provide a great counter balance, so this torched marshmallow topping doesn’t make the pie cloyingly sweet.
Before adding the meringue, the pie will need quite some time to cool to room temperature. I suggest not refrigerating the pie, but if you make the pie a day ahead and need to put it in the fridge, be sure to use a paper towel to blot off any extra moisture that accumulates on the top of the pie. This moisture layer can cause the meringue to slip and slide around.
Once the pie is completely cooled, add the egg whites, salt and sugar to the bowl of your standing mixer. Place this over a double boiler and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Transfer the bowl to your mixer and let it go to town until stiff peaks form. Don’t be intimidated (like I used to be). The meringue is a piece of cake.
Use a large spoon to scoop dollops of meringue around the pie, push down slightly to make sure the meringue adheres. I like to use a small offset spatula to make peaks and swirls in the meringue. Then, if you have a culinary blow torch, lightly brown the outside of the meringue, making sure the flame is a few inches away from the cake. If that’s not your style, simply brown it under the boiler.
This pie is absolutely scrumptious and more than fit for your holiday table. I hope you give this pie a try!
This maple-bourbon pumpkin pie goes so well with the salty, sweet pecan-graham crust. To put it over the top, add meringue and toast it up.
- ¾ cup pecans
- 6 full graham cracker sheets (~1 cup crumbs)
- 1 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- ¾ cup pure maple syrup
- 1–15oz can pumpkin puree (or equivalent fresh puree)
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- Pinch ground cloves
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp bourbon, dark rum or brandy (optional)
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- Toast nuts: Preheat oven to 350°F. Place pecans on a parchment lined baking sheet. Toast for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Cool. Leave oven on.
- Prebake crust: Add cooled pecans, graham crackers, sugars and salt to a food processor. Pulse until fine crumbs form. Drizzle in butter and pulse to combine. Pat graham mix along the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie plate. Prebake the crust for about 10-12 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cool on wire rack. Reduce oven to 325°F.
- Reduce maple: Add maple syrup to a small pot. Bring to a simmer and cook about 3 minutes to thicken slightly. You should have about 2/3 of a cup of syrup remaining.
- Mix filling: In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sour cream, ginger, salt and spices. Whisk in cooled maple syrup. Whisk in eggs. Add cream, bourbon and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
- Bake: Carefully pour filling into cooled crusted. Gently knock on counter to pop any air bubbles. Bake on center rack of oven for 60-70 minutes or until mostly set with a very slight jiggle in the center. Start checking at 50 minutes, as all ovens are different. Cool on wire rack for several hours until room temperature.
- Make meringue: When pie is completely cooled, add egg whites, sugar and salt to the bowl of a standing mixer. Place on stove top over a pot filled with 2-3 inches of boiling water (this is a double boiler). Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Whisk over heat until sugar is dissolved in egg whites, about 3 minutes. Transfer bowl to stand mixer, fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Increase to high and beat until glossy, about 6 more minutes.
- Top the pie: Spoon meringue over top of pie. Using the back of a spoon, press bottom layer slightly into pie to help meringue adhere. Top with remaining meringue. Decorate using an offset spatula or tool of choice. You may also apply the meringue using a piping bag.
- Torch it: Using a culinary torch, hold on a 90° angle 3-4 inches from pie and move back and forth until all of meringue is lightly browned.* Slice and enjoy!
The meringue was adapted from Martha Stewart.
The pumpkin filling was adapted from Bon Appetit.
As an alternative to torching the meringue, place pie under your broiler for a few minutes to brown, rotating if needed.
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1/10 of pie
- Calories: 420
- Sugar: 41g
- Sodium: 300mg
- Fat: 22g
- Saturated Fat: 9g
- Carbohydrates: 52g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 7g
Keywords: pie, pumpkin, meringue, pecans, graham cracker