Let’s face it: for most of us, pumpkin pie only comes around once a year. So why not make the most of its fleeting, deliciously custardy presence? Below, Test Kitchen Manager Claire King gives us five variations on pumpkin pie that will make your holiday dessert memorable.
1. Switch up your crust
Update the traditional graham cracker crust simply by swapping in the same amount of Speculoos or chocolate wafer cookies called for in your favorite recipe.
2. Add crème fraîche or melted chocolate swirls
Just before transferring the pie to the oven, place 2 ounces crème fraîche or melted chocolate in a piping bag. (If you don’t have a piping bag, you can use a resealable plastic bag with the corner snipped off.) Pipe the topping over the top of the pie, then use a toothpick to create swirls, for a “marbled finish.” These pumpkin pie variations are delicious and beautiful.
3. Garnish with candied pepitas
For a pumpkin pie variation with a little more texture, try adding a crunchy topping. Put some pumpkin seeds to use by preheating the oven to 350°F. In a bowl, stir together 1 cup pepitas, 6 tablespoons sugar, 1 beaten egg white and a pinch each of salt, ground allspice and cayenne pepper. Spread the mixture in an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toast for about 10 minutes, or until the pepitas are golden brown and slightly puffy. Immediately season with salt and gently stir, keeping some clumps together. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely before sprinkling atop your pie.
4. Use leftover pie dough to add some fall flair
If you have leftover pie dough, use the scraps to cut out fun shapes, like leaves or acorns. Bake them separately from your pie, then simply arrange on top of the baked pie.
5. When in doubt, embrace the power of pumpkin spice latte
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 1 teaspoon instant coffee crystals, 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, ¾ teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Whip on high until soft peaks form, then spread or dollop on top of the pie.