This Cheesecake Pumpkin Pecan Pie (also called Chumpcan pie! Cheesecake + Pumpkin + Pecan = the most delicious portmanteau ever!), is the ultimate Thanksgiving pie! Almost all of your Thanksgiving dessert cravings in one pie!
UPDATE: 11/26/14: Before printing the recipe and starting this pie, please read the TROUBLESHOOTING section below the recipe. Also, I modified and updated the recipe and changed the baking method for the gooey pecan topping option because it works better, especially ‘layer wise’.
Whenever I think of Thanksgiving, I think of pie. Bulging golden apple pie, deep orange, custardy pumpkin pie, gooey, sweet, toasty pecan pie, some form of luscious, rich cheesecake or maybe chocolate…well, you get the picture. Don’t get me wrong, visions of stuffing, mashed potatoes, that broccoli souffle casserole with cream of mushroom soup, mayo, eggs and loads of cheese (a major tradition), and candied sweets (what we called them; the ‘sweets’ are sweet potatoes) dance through my head too, but for some reason, since I started food blogging, PIE is the Footloose Kevin Bacon doing 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 turning color and 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/hates pumpkin pie.
As a child and young teen, OH 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, where I tried to sneak one into my Mother’s shopping cart, or the Fall bake sale at school.
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, and almost stampeding past 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 Moms whose plates of cookies remained untouched). I tentatively took baby steps toward one pumpkin pie, cut into slices, at the edge of the table. Unfortunately, I had spent the little money I had that day on a few bottles of nail polish being sold by an upperclassmen, forgetting about the bake sale.
Hmmm..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.” I said to one sweet-faced PTA mom.
A report on pumpkin pie? What was I thinking??
I immediately wished I could take it back, mentally punching myself in the mouth.
Then lo and behold; a miracle. The PTA Mom winked at me and slyly slid a slice my way, ignoring my ridiculous lie. I thanked her profusely..maybe a little too much, but no time for regrets, I needed to finally dig into years of wonder.
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 kind enough to buy me one each and every last Thursday in November. Of course, I 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 and pumpkin pie this year..
“I just hate the smell of raw pumpkins.” He said with a look of disinterest.
“Have you ever tried it cooked?” I asked, in hope it would open up some loophole in his pumpkin hating psyche.
“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.” He replied coolly. Conversation over.
So much for that.
Oh, wow..all these years, and no pumpkin gene has kicked in for him; no glorious moment of discovery in finding out that something he ate contained pumpkin, and it was good!
Does that mean I’m not bringing one to Thanksgiving dinner? A big HECK no. For years, coconut custard pie was the ‘pumpkin pie’ 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 right 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 and 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 (this doesn’t only apply to edible, inanimate objects, but people too). In other words, I slid it back into the rotation every time I passed the dessert table, in front of the coconut custard pie. 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. Suddenly 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? Into the lab I went; three days of intense and laborious testing.
It worked in two ways; crunchy or 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.
Would you believe I almost added a layer of caramel apples to make it a Cheesecake Apple Pumpkin Pecan Pie (Chumplecan pie!)? After about 2 seconds, I decided that was overkill. What do you think?
That being said, 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 person or place where it comes from, but it’s all over the net. 1 bar of cream cheese cheesecake creator, do you exist?
Anyway, this pie is a little labor intensive, but SO SO SO WORTH IT! This is the APEX, APOGEE, KING/QUEEN of holiday pies! Please let me know how it turns out for you if you make it!
Cheesecake Pumpkin Pecan Pie aka Chumpcan Pie
Chill time for pie - at least 6 hours, but preferably 12 hours
Pie crust adapted from Tish Boyle
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour, chilled
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch chunks and frozen
- ¼ cup lard or vegetable shortening, frozen
- 6 to 8 tablespoons ice-cold water ( I remove 1 tablespoon ice water and replace that tablespoon with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar in all pie crust recipes – it tenderizes the crust)
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1¼ cups unsweetened fresh or canned pumpkin puree (If using canned, strain in a cheesecloth or paper towel lined fine mesh sieve, covered, for several hours to overnight, in the fridge. When fully strained, place the pumpkin in a saucepan and over low to medium heat, cook it down on the stove top over low to medium heat for about 5 to 8 minutes, stirring so it does not stick to the bottom of the pot, until bubbling and caramelized, then let cool before continuing)
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream (you can use evaporated milk, if you prefer)
- ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1½ cups mix of whole and coarsely chopped pecans
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- ⅔ cup light or dark corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs beaten
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 1½ cups pecans, chopped fine
- ¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons light or dark corn syrup
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- Place the flour, sugar 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.
- 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.
- 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 ¼ to ⅛ inch and about 3 inches greater in diameter than the pie pan/plate you are using.
- Transfer the crust to a 9½ 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 ¾ inch of overhang. Fold overhang over and crimp as you please. Place shell in the freezer and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- When oven temperature is at 400 F, remove the pie shell from the freezer. 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 10 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 fillings.
- In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in ¼ cup sugar, then add vanilla and egg. Beat mixture until smooth.
- Pour the cream cheese mixture into the bottom of the par baked pie shell, spread evenly, then freeze for about 15 -20 minutes. You don't want it frozen solid, just very firm, like a block of chilled cream cheese.
- In the mean time, in a large bowl, combine strained (and/or cooked down) pumpkin puree, heavy cream, the lightly beaten egg, vanilla extract, sugar, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and salt. Mix thoroughly until uniform.
- In another bowl (or 2 to 4 cup measuring cup), combine the eggs, sugars, melted butter, corn syrup, vanilla extract and salt for the gooey pecan pie topping. Do NOT stir in pecans, keep them in a separate bowl for now and set both the pecan pie goo and pecans aside. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
- Remove the pie shell with cream cheese from the freezer and pour the pumpkin mixture on top - If it seems like it will overflow, stop pouring about ½-inch to 1-inch from the top of the crust edge. Place in the 425 F preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 F and bake 20 to 25 minutes more. You want the pumpkin layer firm enough to hold the gooey pecan topping (you will see some cracks on the surface of the pumpkin, and the middle will be slightly jiggly, when it's ready to be topped). When it looks ready, gently scatter the 1½ cups chopped and whole pecans evenly over the pumpkin layer. Now carefully spoon the pecan pie goo over the pecans. It's okay if it doesn't cover fully as it will all melt together in the oven. Another way to add the pecan goo is to mix it up in a 4 cup glass measure so when it's time to add the pecan goo after scattering the pecans on the pumpkin layer, you pour the goo around the pie in circles from high up so it hits the pie in a thin stream, which will minimize sinkage.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes longer. Cover the 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.
- When the pie is done, it should be sturdy, but still jiggly in the middle. The pecan pie topping should be dark and bubbling.
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Stir together the all the pecan praline crunch ingredients. Cover and set aside.
- After you freeze the cheesecake layer ( You don't want it frozen solid, just firm, like a block of chilled cream cheese), pour on the pumpkin layer (If it seems like it will overflow, stop pouring about ½-inch to 1-inch from the top of the crust edge) and place in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 F; and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the pumpkin layer is firm enough to hold pecan praline crunch layer without too much 'sinkage'.( You want to see a few cracks on the top of the pie).. Remove the pie from the oven and gently sprinkle or spoon pecan praline crunch topping evenly over the top. The pumpkin pie layer will sink a bit because the pecan crunch is heavy, but do not worry!
- Place back in the oven and bake for an additional 10 to 20 minutes (keep checking), until the pecan praline crunch topping is bubbling.
- Like with the gooey pecan topping method above, during the whole baking time, check every 15 to 20 minutes to see if the crust is browning too quick. If it is, cover with aluminum foil or a pie crust shield to prevent excess browning.
- In the end, no matter which pecan topping you used, when it looks to be done, remove from oven and let cool at room temperature, then place in the fridge and chill for several hours to overnight (overnight is recommended).
-Some have mentioned that they didn't have enough pecan pie topping to cover. It truly depends on your pie dish, so if it looks like you might not have enough, or simply want more since it's a thin layer, double or add another half of either pecan pie topping and bake an extra 5 to 10 minutes.
-Drizzle pie with melted chocolate or chocolate ganache for extra decadence!
1. “There’s too much pumpkin filling, it overflowed when I poured it on top of the cheesecake, and I still had pumpkin filling left over!”
I have been using a 10-inch deep dish pie dish, like THIS one, for this pie for years, and everything fits perfectly. But, if you use a 9-inch deep pie dish or your pie dish isn’t holding all the filling once you’ve already mixed all the pumpkin filling and started to pour it on; stop pouring when the pumpkin filling reaches about 1/2 to 1-inch below the crimped edge. Make mini pumpkin pies with any leftover pumpkin filling. Line a standard cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners and place a gingersnap or vanilla wafer at the bottom of each lined cup (or spray cupcake wells with oil, then line wells with pie dough circles). Pour pumpkin filling over the cookies and bake at 375 F for 25 – 30 minutes. You probably won’t fill all 12 pan wells, so pour water into any empty, unlined wells so the mini pumpkin pies bake evenly.
UPDATE: I modified the pumpkin filling for a 9-inch to 10-inch deep dish pie plate to make sure there is no overflow. However, if you want to use a 10-inch springform pan, the pumpkin layer ingredient amounts should be changed to;
1 1/3 cups unsweetened fresh or canned pumpkin puree (If using canned, strain in a cheesecloth or paper towel lined fine mesh sieve, covered, for several hours to overnight, in the fridge)
1 cup heavy cream (you can use evaporated milk, if you prefer)
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 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
I also recommend increasing the cheesecake and pecan pie layers by half, and using a graham cracker or your favorite cookie crust in lieu of the pastry crust!
2. “My pie has been in the oven over the written cooking time, and it still doesn’t seem done! What should I do?”
The pie will not look done when it’s ready to come out. It will be slightly jiggly to more than slightly jiggly in the middle, maybe almost like it’s raw, but the sides will be somewhat set, just like a cheesecake. Regardless, do not keep the pie in the oven more than 75 minutes. Once you take it out, let it come to room temperature, then into the fridge to chill for at least 6 hours. I promise you it will set up perfectly! Also, some ovens run hotter or cooler than others, so an oven thermometer is an ideal tool to have to make sure your oven is at the right temperature.
3. “The pecan topping seems sparse!”, or “…it isn’t fully covering the top of the pie!”
The gooey pecan pie layer is supposed to be thin (since it’s so sweet), but if you want more gooey pecan pie topping, make another half of the recipe and add another 5 to 10 minutes to the baking time. If you decided to use the crunchy pecan praline topping, it may seem like it won’t cover the top of the pie, but it will all melt together and cover the top of the pie in the end. However, you can also double or make another half of the crunchy pecan pie topping, if you’d like.
4. “Do I really have to strain or cook down the canned pumpkin?”
No, you don’t. It’s just something I’ve been doing for years with any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin and I don’t feel like roasting a pumpkin for fresh pumpkin puree. Removing the extra water intensifies the pumpkin flavor and removes any ‘tinny’ can taste. It also helps reduce the chance of overflow in this pie. Sometimes I even strain and cook down the canned pumpkin!
In conclusion, everyone ate and loved this pie – even my father, although he scraped off the pumpkin layer. Oh, well, it’s something, right? Regardless, it’s now in demand for every Thanksgiving forward.
On another note, I submitted this Cheesecake Pumpkin Pecan (aka Chumpcan) Pie to the Food Network’s Virtual Thanksgiving – A Communal Table. The hashtag on Twitter is #pullupachair. 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 Clams
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 Shop: 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
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.
ongratulations, Stephanie! I hope your Mom chops, grinds and purees her heart out 🙂 Sending you an email to get your mailing info, right now.