Nutty Pumpkin Caramel Pie
Use your favorite pre-baked pastry crust for a 9” pie plate (my pie plate measures 9” x 1½” deep)
For the Pumpkin Caramel (yields: 1½ cups)
(adapted from A Slice of Heaven and Fifteen Spatulas)
¾ cup pumpkin (I use canned)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ cup heavy cream
1½ cups sugar
¼ cup water
¼ cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla
5 oz. walnuts
5 oz. pecans
First prepare the Pumpkin Cream:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, the salt and the spices. Stir in the melted butter, then add the heavy cream. When well combined, set aside while you prepare the caramelized sugar.
For the Caramelized Sugar: (You will need a candy thermometer and a pair of oven mitts for this.)
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, place the sugar, water and corn syrup. Do not stir. Cook over medium heat, carefully swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture caramelizes. (Without a Pantone book to guide you, I would say you are looking for the color of honey, or copper or medium amber. The pumpkin deepens the color and the flavor, so shy on the side of a touch lighter than darker. Over medium heat on my gas stovetop, this takes about 10 minutes, but stay close at hand. Sugar loves to turn from caramel to burnt sugar to burned sugar at the moment you turn your back.) Slowly add the pumpkin/cream mixture to the caramelized sugar. Stand back, the caramel will sputter. Continue to cook over medium/low heat until a candy thermometer registers 236 degrees. It takes patience- don’t be tempted to blast the heat up to high or you risk scorching the bottom of your pan and burning the pumpkin. Some caramel recipes instruct you to cook until 244 degrees, but after many versions, I have found a touch below yields a nice, sliceable, chewable caramel. Don your favorite oven mitts and carefully (this is hot stuff!) remove from the heat and immediately pour the caramel into a Pyrex measuring cup. Add the vanilla, give it a stir and let it cool down a bit; do not be tempted to test a bit on your finger or tongue. Give it a good 20 minutes to cool; you want the caramel to be pourable. Scatter the walnuts and pecans over your pre-baked pie shell, then pour the caramel over the nuts. Smooth with an offset spatula and let it cool completely. When ready to serve, use a knife dipped in hot water to make a clean slice. Serve with vanilla ice cream and slices of apple; I think Honeycrisp pairs beautifully.
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