Fed up with the same old, tired pumpkin pie for dessert? This year try something deliciously different and sure to be an unforgettable finish to the holiday meal.
Celebrity cookbook author DeDe (pronounced Day-Day) Wilson took time recently to share her fantastic take on the traditional pie - Amaretto-Almond Crunch Pumpkin Pie. Creamy classic pumpkin custard shot through with Amaretto and topped with a luscious Amaretti-Almond streusel, this pie is bursting with flavor and texture.
Wilson, who loves to cook everything, but has an affinity for decadent desserts, says her recipes are for anyone who is interested in the art of baking.
"I'm self-taught," says Wilson. "I grew up in a family with a mother and father who loved to cook. Everything was from scratch and authentic international ingredients. I didn't realize that this was educating my palate. You can do this."
Her recipe is easy as pie and straight from her recently published dessert cookbook, Unforgettable Desserts (Wiley, Hardcover, October 2009i, $29.99).
Amaretto-Almond Crunch Pumpkin Pie
serves 8 to 10
To use current parlance, my BFF is a
fabulous woman named Juanita Plimpton. She is not a cook—but she is
an amazing taster and is able to consistently give me extremely
helpful critiques. On one occasion she provided me with an entire
concept. “Why not,” she asked, “create a pumpkin pie with the
flavors of almond and amaretto?” I never would have come up with
this myself—and she was right. This is sensational in flavor as
well as texture. Picture a fairly classic pumpkin pie flavored with a
shot of amaretto liqueur, topped with a crunchy blend of amaretti
cookies and almonds—almost a streusel. The juxtaposition of creamy
pumpkin custard and ultracrisp topping is unexpected and exciting.
20 Lazzaroni Amaretti di Saronno
¼ cup blanched sliced almonds
1 recipe Double Butter Piecrust (recipe
below), chilled and ready to roll out
One 15-ounce can pure solid-pack
¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons Disaronno Amaretto
For the topping: Crumble the cookies by
hand into a small bowl. The pieces should be about ¼-inch chunks,
more or less. Toss with the almonds; set aside.
1 ) Position a rack in the middle of
the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat a 9 x 1¼-inch tempered
glass pie plate with nonstick spray.
2 ) Roll out the dough on a lightly
floured surface to a 13-inch round. Transfer to the pie dish. Fold
the edge under, and crimp decoratively into a high border. Line with
foil and weights and blind-bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until just
beginning to color. Remove the foil and weights. Bake until the crust
is tinged very light brown, pressing with the back of a fork if the
crust bubbles, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer to a rack. Reduce the
oven temperature to 350°F.
For the filling: scrape the pumpkin
into a food processor fitted with the metal blade attachment. Process
for 15 seconds; scrape down the sides and process for 15 seconds
more. Pulse in the brown sugar, spices, and salt until combined.
Pulse in the eggs one at a time until blended, scraping down once or
twice if necessary. Pulse in the cream and liqueur. Finish off by
processing for 5 seconds to smooth out the mixture. Pour the filling
into the crust. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the
filling is set around the edges, and quivers in the center when you
gently shake the pie dish. Cool the pie plate on a rack. The pie is
best served the day it is made.
Store at room temperature, loosely
covered with foil.
Double Butter Piecrust
After years of making piecrust in a
variety of ways I have come to prefer an all-butter crust made in the
food processor with ice water. The flavor is exceptional, and since
the metal blade is so sharp and fast, it cuts the chilled butter in
quickly, yielding a flaky textured crust. The proportions are quite
typical, and if you do not have a food processor, feel free to make
it by hand. In either case take care not to overwork it.
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted
butter, cut into small pieces
4 to 6 tablespoons ice-cold water
To make with a food processor:
Put the flour and salt in the bowl of a
food processor fitted with the metal blade attachment and pulse to
combine. Add the butter and pulse on and off until it forms a very
coarse meal; there might be pockets of butter that are larger, which
is fine. Drizzle in the smaller amount of water through the feed tube
and pulse until the dough is moistened and just holds together if
squeezed. Add additional water only if necessary.
To make by hand:
Whisk together the flour and salt in a
medium bowl to blend. Add the butter and cut in, using a pastry
blender or two knives, until the fat is cut into approximately ⅛-inch
pieces. Sprinkle the smaller amount of water over the flour mixture
and toss with fingers or a fork until evenly moistened and the dough
just holds together if squeezed. Add additional water only if
To continue for either technique:
Gather the dough into one or two balls
and flatten into a disk or disks. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and
refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. It may also be
frozen for 1 month, in which case, protect it further by placing in a
zipper-top bag; defrost in the
refrigerator overnight. Let the dough soften slightly at room
temperature before rolling out.