Pumpkin pie with caramel brandy hard sauce

INGREDIENTS:
makes two 4.5″ piesfor pumpkin puree:

  • 1 small pumpkin

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 165 degrees C.
  2. Split the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Discard the seeds.
  3. Place the pumpkin halves face down on a baking sheet with sides.
  4. Bake for 1 hour until fork-tender. Remove from oven and let cool.
  5. Puree the pumpkin pulp in a food processor until smooth.

for pastry:

  • 1 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, cold, in small cubes
  • 4 Tbspn water, cold

for pumpkin filling:

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 Tbspn dark brown sugar
  • white sugar, to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • pumpkin pie spices, to taste (try: ginger, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, white pepper)
  • heavy cream, opt., for crust
  • turbinado sugar, opt., for crust

METHOD:

  1. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl.
  2. Using a pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the flour until the size of small peas.
  3. Gradually add the water, 1 Tbspn at a time until, when you press the dough between your fingers, it holds together. Do not overmix!
  4. Wrap the dough in parchment paper or plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
  5. Meanwhile, make the pumpkin filling. Combine the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, white sugar (if using), eggs, 1/4 cup heavy cream, and 1/4 cup whole milk into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
  6. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.
  7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out, about 1/8″ thick. Place the dough into the pie plates and crimp the edges. Using a fork, pierce the bottom of the crust several times.
  8. If the dough has become soft from rolling, place in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes.
  9. Line the inside of the pie crusts with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dry beans.
  10. Bake for 15-17 minutes, then remove from oven. Remove the beans and parchment paper and, if desired, line the edge of the pie crust with foil. Return to the oven for 5-7 more minutes until the crust is golden. Remove and fill with pumpkin filling.
  11. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake the pumpkin pies for 30 minutes, then brush the exposed crusts with heavy cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar, if using. Return the pies to the oven and continue to bake for ~10-15 additional minutes until pie is mostly set but jiggles just slightly in the middle when gently bumped.
  12. Remove from oven and let cool briefly. Serve warm with caramel brandy hard sauce (recipe below).
Caramel brandy hard sauce

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbspn butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1-2 Tbspn brandy, to taste

METHOD:

  1. Have all ingredients pre-measured and ready next to the stove.
  2. In a small light-colored saucepan (with tall sides, preferably), wet the sugar with just enough water to make it the consistency of wet sand (~1 – 1 1/12 Tbspn water).
  3. Cook the sugar on medium heat.  Do not stir once the sugar starts boiling–swirl the pan around gently instead to insure even cooking. Cook until the sugar is a deep amber color. Immediately add the butter and whisk thoroughly. Be careful–this will splutter!
  4. As soon as the butter has completely melted, remove from heat and carefully add the heavy cream, whisking continuously.
  5. Once the cream has incorporated, pour the caramel into another heat-resistant container to cool, straining through a fine mesh sieve to remove unevenly cooked sugar, if necessary. Let cool briefly and whisk in brandy to taste. Caramel will continue to thicken as it cools.
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