Smooth pumpkin and sweet praline combine for a perfect Thanksgiving combination. The traditional pie gets a major upgrade with this Pumpkin and Praline Pie recipe. It's just the right mix of old and new to make a new Holiday culinary tradition.
The Beauty of Pumpkin and Praline
Pumpkins are a staple of autumn. While orange is definitely the most popular, you can find pumpkins in other colors like deep yellow, dark green, and white. They make perfect jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. They make perfect pies for Thanksgiving and other Holiday events.
People often use the word bland to describe the flavor of straight pumpkin. That's why bakers usually add a number of spices to give it a Holiday flavor. Common spices include cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger, all of which are included in this Pumpkin and Praline Pie. The exact combination of spices depends entirely on what flavor the baker wants to achieve. Sugar is often added to the pumpkin filling to elevate its dessert appeal.
Praline is mixture of sugar and nuts, often with butter or cream added. It's heated until its golden and bubbly, bringing the sugar's sweetness and the nuts buttery texture together. Candy makers often use it as a filling for chocolates, though it can also be a standalone candy.
In this Pumpkin and Praline Pie recipe, the sticky pecan praline offers a delicious base for the rich creamy pumpkin filling to sit upon. The crust gives the pie its form and a neutral flavor that allows the other ingredients to stand out.
Make the Pumpkin and Praline Pie Yours
For a distinctly Southern take on this pumpkin praline torte, substitute mashed sweet potato for the pumpkin. Sweet potato has a stronger flavor and smell compared to pumpkin. The pumpkin tends to be nuttier in flavor with a muted taste. Sweet potato is often a preferred flavor for those who don't particularly like pumpkin.
With a sweet potato filling, your choice of spices will be the same, though the proportions may need to change. The sweet potato's flavor is definitely stronger, so adjust the amounts of cinnamon, sugar, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves accordingly.
When someone talks about praline, most people automatically think of pecan praline. The fact is, a praline can be made from any tree nut. While pecans work quite well with pumpkin, you can substitute with walnuts or cashews. Walnuts tend to have a stronger flavor than pecans, while cashews tend to be milder. All have a buttery flavor that favors the pumpkin filling.
You can use pie crusts bought at the grocery store or use your own recipe to make them. Another option is to create a crust using crushed graham crackers combined with butter. Press the mixture into the pie pan and bake for a few minutes to firm it up. The crackers will add another texture and flavor to the pie.
This pumpkin praline torte can be made a day or two ahead, then refrigerated. Bring back to room temperature before serving to your guests at Thanksgiving.Print
- 2 pie crusts
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon flour
- 1 Tablespoon bitters (optional)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 can (29 ounce) pumpkin
- 1 can (12 ounce) evaporated milk
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 cup water
- 4 Tablespoons butter, softened
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar
- ⅔ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
- Whipped cream, for garnish (optional)
- Mix sugars, flour, butters, and spices in large bowl.
- Stir in egg; set aside.
- Melt butter in large skillet over low heat.
- Add pumpkin, simmer, stirring occasionally until purée thickens slightly, 10 minutes.
- Gradually stir hot pumpkin into sugar mix, stir in evaporated milk, milk and 1 cup water. If desired, cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Prepare crusts.
- Preheat to 450°F.
- Spread half the praline mix in each crust. Bake until praline is golden brown and bubbly, around 10 minutes; cool slightly.
- Reduce oven temp to 400°F.
- Pour half pumpkin filling into each crust; smooth top with spatula.
- Bake until pumpkin is firm and crusts are golden brown, about 1 hour. Cool completely and serve.
- Garnish with whipped cream or topping, if desired.