Three Pies in One – Cheesecake Pumpkin Pecan Pie & The Giveaway Winner!November 15, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Posted in Dessert, Giveaway, Pies/Tarts, Puddings, Vegetables, Vegetarian | 107 Comments
Tags: Cheesecake, Communal Table, cream cheese, Cyber Monday, Cyber Monday Deals, Food Network Virtual Thanksgiving, Pecan Pie, Pecans, pie, Pumpkin, Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Thanksgiving
Whenever I think of Thanksgiving, I think of pie. Bulging golden apple pie, deep orange, custardy pumpkin pie, gooey sweet, toasty pecan pie, luscious, rich…well, you get the picture. Don’t get me wrong, visions of stuffing and candied sweet potatoes dance through my head too, but for some reason, since I started food blogging – PIE is the Footloose Kevin Bacon doing the handsprings on the dance floor of my cerebral cortex.
Pumpkin pie has always been a favorite of mine, a pie I crave when the weather starts to cool and the leaves start falling. The reason it became a favorite might have been because it was the bad boy pie, the elusive pie, the pie I wasn’t allowed to date or hang out with because my parents didn’t approve.
My family hated pumpkin pie.
As a child and young teen, how I craved a taste of those smooth, burnt orange, shiny surfaced pies, beckoning me with a whiff of pumpkinny goodness every time I saw one, whether it be at the supermarket, when I tried to sneak one into my Mother’s shopping cart, or the Fall bake sale at school, where I was only given enough money to buy some chocolate chip cookies.
I’ll never forget the day I got to finally sink my teeth into the creamy, spiced custard in a buttery, flaky crust, that is pumpkin pie. I was about 15, and the Fall bake sale at my HS was in full bloom, packed with kids and teachers vying for that last rice krispie treat, almost stampeding over each other to grab a bunch of the ‘good’chocolate chip cookies that one Mom was known for (I always felt sorry for the other chocolate chip cookie Mom’s, who’s plates of cookies remained untouched). I took baby steps toward a pumpkin pie, cut into slices, at the edge of the table. I couldn’t just steal a slice…I needed to do this in a somewhat civilized manner, as in errr…
“I’m doing a report on pumpkin pie, and I’ve never tasted one. I wish I could buy a slice, but I don’t have enough money”
The PTA Mom winked at me and slyly slid a slice my way, ignoring the fact that my parents could probably afford to buy me a slice of pumpkin pie.
One bite and I was in heaven. I knew we were meant to be. From that day forward, even though pumpkin pie was still met with grimaces come Thanksgiving, my parents were nice enough to buy me a pumpkin pie. Of course, I couldn’t eat it all, and had to endure the “Yuck, how can you eat that?” barbs and jokes, but it was well worth every bite.
To this day…my family still hates pumpkin pie or anything pumpkin in general. To quote my father – from a very recent conversation we had about Thanksgiving this year;
“I just hate the smell of raw pumpkins”
“Have you ever tried it cooked?”
“NO, and I don’t want to, so don’t try to push pumpkin pie on me, my stance hasn’t and never will change”
Oh, wow..all these years, and no pumpkin gene has kicked in – no moment of discovery when finding out something he ate contained pumpkin. Does that mean I’m not bringing one to Thanksgiving dinner? A big HELL no. For years, coconut custard pie was the ‘pumpkin pie’ replacement at our Thanksgiving dessert table, and I do love me a nice slice of coconut custard pie, but once adulthood set in, no one could stop me from placing a gorgeous, homemade pumpkin pie beside it. Someone always found a way to push it to the side, the dark corner of the gymnasium during the HS dance – a total dessert outcast – shunned, blackballed…a scarlet P on its shiny surface. I was the ‘friend’ who stood by it, the one who would never leave it to stand alone – in other words, I slid it back into the rotation every time I passed the dessert table, IN FRONT of the coconut custard. Ha ha.
Once I learned to bake pies, I tried many variations of pumpkin pie, from pumpkin cheese pie, to pumpkin pie with pecan streusel, to a recipe an ex BF’s Mom gave me where the cream cheese layer was beneath the pumpkin filling. I LOVED that idea, and the pie itself, so that was my go to for many Thanksgivings to come.
Present day – as in today..well, last night. I decided I needed to get at least one Thanksgiving pie favorite of mine up on this blog. At first it was going to be the old pumpkin ‘cheese layer’ pie, but then I had this hankering for pecan pie too, and couldn’t decide which direction I wanted to take. Then it hit me…why not combine all three, as in turning the pecan streusel from one pumpkin pie recipe into a more pecan pie like topping? It worked – crunchy and gooey. Three pies in one. No choosing, no juggling a slice of cheesecake, pecan pie and pumpkin pie on one plate, trying not to look silly as you take bites of each at once.
I almost added caramelized apples to the cheesecake layer to make it a Pumpkin Apple Cheesecake Pecan Pie, but decided that was overkill. What do you think?
The cheesecake layer is your standard formula for swirling into brownies, filling cupcakes or muffins , marbling into cake batters and sweet breads etc, prior to baking. It’s a formula that I’ve had memorized for years and it always works. No specific place where it comes from - it’s all over the net. 1 bar of cream cheese cheesecake creator – do you exist?
Finally, I submitted this Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake Pie to the Food Network’s Virtual Thanksgiving – A Communal Table. The hashtag on Twitter is #pullupachair – I couldn’t resist. Below is the virtual Thanksgiving menu created by all of us. What a feast, huh? Click on the links and be prepared to drool.
The Food Network Communal Table Thanksgiving Feast
Cocktails, Appetizers, Soups and Salads:
Eat Be Mary: She’s Mulling It Over Wine
Cookistry: Bread With Ancient Grains
Celebrity Chefs and Their Gardens: The American Hotel Peconic Clam Chowder
Picky Eater Blog: Butternut Squash Soup With Thyme and Parmesan
Good Food Good Friends: Mushroom Soup
Examiner.com: Grilled Quail with a Warm Beet, Frisée, and Pistachio Salad
She Wears Many Hats: Mayonnaise Roasted Turkey
Living Mostly Meatless: Vegan-Friendly Corn Casserole
Healthy Green Kitchen: Red Kuri Squash Pie
The Naptime Chef: Crispy Rosemary Fingerling Potatoes
Gluten-Free Blondie: Apple and Cranberry Studded Stuffing
Eat Drink Man Woman Dogs Cat: Blue Cheese and Rosemary Celebration Potatoes
Burnt Lumpia: Turkey, Sweet Potato and Cranberry Empanadas
Panfusine: Pan Fried Polenta Seasoned With Cumin, Ginger & Black Pepper
Homemade Cravings: Warm Brussels Sprouts and Cranberry Slaw
Bakeaholic Mama: Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Crispy Prosciutto
Show Food Chef: Beer-Braised Brussels Sprouts
T’s Tasty Bits: Sweet Empanadas with Pumpkin and Lupini Beans Filling
The Amused Bouche Blog: Braised Kale
The Little Kitchen: How to Make the Perfect Mashed Potatoes
The Macaron Queen: Macaron Tower
Poet In The Pantry: Amaretto Apple Crisp
Farm Girl Gourmet: Pumpkin Coconut Panna Cotta
That’s Forking Good: Cinnamon Chip Pumpkin Blondies
Out of the Box Food: Out of the Box Food Maple Pumpkin Pie
Cake Baker 35: Orange Spiced Pumpkin Pie
Lisa Michele: Pumpkin, Pecan, Cheesecake Pie
Food For My Family: Buttermilk Custard Pear Pie
Simple Bites: Black-Bottom Maple Pumpkin Pie
A Cooks Nook: Swedish Apple Pie
Yakima Herald: Pretzel Jell-O Salad
How Does She: Three of Our Favorite Desserts
Dollhouse Bake Shoppe: Thanksgiving Candy Bar Name Plates
Sweet Fry: Pumpkin Latte
Tasty Trials: Spiced Apple Panna Cotta With Caramelized Apples and Caramel Sauce
An Uneducated Palate: Puff Pastry Apple Tart
Frugal Front Porch: Mini Cheaty Cheesecakes
Cheesecake Pumpkin Pecan Pie
Yield: 10 to 14 servings
Flaky Pie Crust
Adapted from Tish Boyle, with my revisions
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, chilled
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch chunks and frozen
1/4 cup lard or vegetable shortening, frozen
6 to 8 tablespoons ice-cold water
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pumpkin Pie Layer
1 2/3 cups unsweetened fresh or canned pumpkin puree (If using canned, strain in a fine mesh sieve for several hours to overnight, covered, in the fridge)
1 cup heavy cream (you can use evaporated milk, if you prefer)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Pecan Pie Topping
1 cup mix of whole and coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup light or dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
MAKE AND PARBAKE PIE SHELL:
1. Place the flour and salt in a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade and pulse on and off until combined. Scatter the butter pieces and the shortening, in large chunks, over the flour mixture. Pulse the machine on and off until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 6 tablespoons of the ice water and process until the mixture just starts to come together. If the dough seems dry, add the remaining 2 tablespoons water as necessary. Do not allow the dough to form a ball on the blade, or the resulting crust will be tough! You want a raggedy mess of crumbly dough, with lumps of butter showing.
2. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, divide it in half, and shape each half into a disk – gently pressing each raggedy mess together, (DO NOT press into each disk or try to squeeze it together so the dough is uniform – it will come together in the refrigerator). Wrap the disks separately in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. You will only need one disk for this recipe, so you can freeze the other disk for later use.
3. Lightly flour a large work surface. Allow the dough to soften at room temperature just until it is pliable (about 10 minutes). Place 1 disk on the floured surface and sprinkle some flour over it. Roll the dough from the center out in every direction, flouring the work surface as necessary to prevent sticking. You want a round of dough that’s about 1/4 to 1/8 inch and about 3 inches greater in diameter than the pie pan/plate you are using.
4. Transfer the crust to a 9 1/2 to 10-inch deep-dish pie pan (if you don’t use a deep-dish pan, there will be pumpkin filling left over, not to mention you run the risk of overflow) by rolling it loosely around the rolling pin and unrolling it carefully over the pan. Press the dough first into the bottom of the pan and then against the sides. Patch any holes or cracks with dough scraps. Trim the edges of the dough with scissors, leaving about 3/4 inch of overhang. Fold overhang over and crimp as you please. Place shell in the freezer and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
5. When oven temperature is at 400 F, remove the pie shell from the freezer and line the pie crust with a large sheet of lightly buttered aluminum foil, buttered side down, covering the edge of the crust so that it doesn’t get too brown. Fill the lined crust with pie weights, dried beans, or raw rice. Bake the pie crust for 15 minutes. Remove the weights and foil. Prick the bottom of the crust well with a fork and bake the crust for another 7 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to turn golden, but the crust is not fully baked. Cool the pie crust on a wire rack while you make the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
DIRECTIONS FOR PIE:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in 1/4 cup sugar, then add vanilla and 1 egg. Beat mixture until smooth.
2. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the bottom of the par baked pie shell, spread evenly, then freeze for about 15 -20 minutes.
3. In the mean time, in a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, heavy cream, the 2 lightly beaten eggs, vanilla extract, sugar, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and salt. Mix thoroughly until uniform.
4. Remove the pie shell with cream cheese from the freezer and pour the pumpkin mixture on top of it. Freeze for 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Combine the eggs, sugars, melted butter, corn syrup, vanilla extraxt and salt in a bowl. Stir in pecans. Remove pie from freezer and carefully spoon the pecan layer over the pumpkin layer.
6. Place pie on the middle rack of your preheated oven. Cover edges of crust with aluminum foil or a pie crust shield if browning too quickly, but you will eventually have to cover it to prevent excess browning some time toward the end. Keep checking every 20 minutes.
5. Bake in 350 degree F oven for about 60 to 75 minutes (It really depends on your oven. In one oven I used, it took 75 minutes, in another, 60 – so keep checking for it to be sturdy, but still a tad jiggly in the middle). The the pecan pie topping should be dark and bubbling a bit.
7. IMPORTANT - Let cool at room temperature, then refrigerate for several hours before slicing and serving.
8. Drizzle with melted chocolate or chocolate ganache for extra decadence!
Thanks to Melissa Green for emailing me about some ingredients I left out in steps 3 and 5 for the pumpkin and pecan fillings. The recipe is 100% correct now – no ingredients missing in any of the steps.
Time for the winner of the Cuisinart DLC-2 Mini Prep Plus Food Processor. After I generated the number via random.org, and counted over and over, skipping over a few of my own replies, I wasn’t shocked to see where it landed. There were several entries from people who battled and survived breast cancer, people who’s loved ones battled and survived breast cancer, and sadly, some who lost loved ones to it. Well…random.org chose one of those people, or maybe something/someone else did.
Congratulations, Stephanie! I hope your Mom chops, grinds and purees her heart out Sending you an email to get your mailing info, right now.