The Not So Classic Pumpkin Pie

Update (11/24/17): It’s a winner! The pie turned out delicious – the flavor of the pumpkin layer is reminiscent of warm pumpkin custard (without the spices), which complements the brightness of the creamy cheesecake layer. In addition, the contrast between the layers is distinct and attractive. We love it! (I ate two slices!)

Turkey day is tomorrow but in our case it’s going to be ham day! :) This Thanksgiving, Keith and I are going for easy peasy, especially since both of us worked today and will be working the day after as well. One of the few things I tackled after work today was making pumpkin pie. I was never entirely fond of this traditional Thanksgiving dessert…mainly because I dislike the strong tasting spices typically used in a pumpkin pie. I wondered if it would still be good if I omit all the spices or would it just be too bland. At first, I was thinking of adapting a classic pumpkin pie by leaving out the spices and using more flavorful ingredients when possible such as substituting granulated sugar with dark brown sugar and regular dairy with coconut milk. Additionally, I contemplated a way to include cranberries or cranberry sauce in the pumpkin mixture. However, in the end, I decided to make King Arthur Flour’s Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie because I know I’ll at least like the cheesecake part. :) I did still make minor changes and the pie came out looking really good. We haven’t cut into it yet, I’ll let you know how it tastes tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving!

A single pie crust (I used Pillsbury pie crust, rest at room temperature for 30 minutes)

Cheesecake filling
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
A pinch of salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pumpkin filling
3/4 cup sugar (I wanted to use dark brown sugar but forgot!)
1/4 tsp salt
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin purée
1 cup evaporated milk (I was torn between evaporated milk and coconut milk but I ended up using evaporated milk this time)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 425°F. Roll the crust into a 13” round on a floured surface or parchment paper. Transfer to a pie plate – I used a 10” pie plate. Gently push the crust in place and crimp the edges.

Make cheesecake filling: In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and a pinch of salt (I used a wooden spoon) until smooth although a few lumps may remain. Stir in egg and vanilla until combined. Pour the filling into the pie crust and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Make pumpkin filling: In the same bowl, mix together sugar and salt. Add pumpkin purée, evaporated milk, vanilla, and eggs, and stir gently until just combined (avoid beating too much air into this mixture). Gently pour the pumpkin filling on top of the cheesecake layer. Bake the pie for 15 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F, and continue to bake for 40 to 45 minutes. At this point, I had already began to cover the edges of the pie with aluminum foil to prevent them from browning too quickly. The pie is done when it looks set, but still wobbles a bit in the center. Remove pie to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature. Then, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time.

Note: The instructions above are written in my own words based on the steps I took to prepare the pie. Please refer to the original recipe on the King Arthur Flour website if a more thorough instruction is desired.

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