Brûléed Bourbon-Maple Pumpkin Pie

Brûléed Bourbon-Maple Pumpkin Pie by Cakewalker

 

It’s no secret that pumpkin pie and I have had an on again/off again relationship, as mentioned in part here. My adult years have succeeded with a mainly on again status. Pumpkin is a versatile food: its pairing capabilities range from savory to sweet, herbal to spice. From a seasonal standpoint a pumpkin pie carries its fans from harvest to Christmas, with a special place held at the Thanksgiving table. For bakers, the warmly-colored flesh is a jumping off point for a multitude of treats, and an invitation for open-ended creativity.

 

Mixing and rolling pastry 

Followers of this blog know I’ve used pumpkin in big cakes and little cakes. I’ve even shared a recipe for a pumpkin-chocolate cake, and featured the squash in pizza crust too. But I’ve never posted a recipe for pie―until now.

 

Dried chick peas or garbanzo beans make terrific pie weights

Sealing the pie crust with egg wash 

Thanksgiving 2013 was one week and a day ago. I had the best intentions to do up the holiday per our traditions, which often includes a trilogy of pies: pumpkin, apple and pecan. And I had my heart set on a new pumpkin pie recipe to boot. The thing is, however, we had just moved into our new home exactly one week prior. Never mind unpacking and the typical tasks associated with a move-in. This is a new construction, new home; there were curtain rods to install and curtains to hang, ceiling fans with light fixtures, and life-making decisions on where our belongings would live in the abode. It became quickly clear my feast plans needed to be pared down. Somehow I thought it to be more important to cover particular windows than to invariably introduce ourselves to the neighbors in our birthday suits. Nice to meet you…indeed!

 

Torching the sugar for crunchy, candy-like caramelization 

The pumpkin pie I had plans for was cut from the list. As a time management strategy, I defaulted to one I could do in my sleep―a classic double-crust apple variety. After the window treatments were up, and a modicum of settling had taken place, my focus was the kitchen. A guy’s got to have his priorities, right?

 

Bruleed Bourbon-Maple Pumpkin Pie - Cakewalker 

Our meal was as grand as years past, and the thankful quotient is at an all-time high in our new surroundings, but the facilitator that really made it happen was Mrs. W. It was her idea to make some of the basics to Thanksgiving, but prepare the intended peripheral sides and specialties over subsequent nights as a way to refresh and extend the leftover staples. I married well, no? This license freed me up to get the feast on the table and to pour over that new pumpkin pie recipe in my own good time.

 

Slice of Brûléed Bourbon-Maple Pumpkin Pie by Cakewalker

I knew from the moment I saw this pie recipe it would be exceptional. Here, a pumpkin pie is paired with a barely sweetened chocolate crust—a necessary measure to be sure the chocolate flavor would hold its own. The custard is sweetened by pure maple syrup, nicely balanced with familiar pumpkin pie spices, and a good splash of bourbon plays a tasty supporting role. Above all, the shards of caramelized sugar from the brûlée finish elevate the pie to an exquisite dessert.

Adapted from Bon Appetit, recipe by Kierin Baldwin | November 2013

Brûléed Bourbon-Maple Pumpkin Pie

Prep Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: One 9-inch pie

Serving Size: One slice

Brûléed Bourbon-Maple Pumpkin Pie

For Thanksgiving, Christmas, or anytime you desire a special pumpkin pie, this Brûléed Bourbon-Maple Pumpkin Pie recipe fits the bill.

Ingredients

    Chocolate Pie Dough:
  • ¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp. Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3½ tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1¼ cups plus 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • ½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • Filling:
  • All-purpose flour (for dusting)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 15-oz. can pure pumpkin purée
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground mace (optional)
  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup, preferably grade B
  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Garnish
  • Dollop, unsweetened whipped cream
  • Fresh grated lemon zest
  • Special Equipment:
  • Kitchen torch

Instructions

    For the chocolate pie dough:
  • Pulse cocoa powder, granulated sugar, salt, and 1¼ cups plus 1 Tbsp. flour in a food processor to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Whisk egg yolk, vinegar, and ¼ cup ice water in a small bowl. Drizzle half of egg mixture over flour mixture and, using a fork, mix gently just until combined. Add remaining egg mixture and mix until dough just comes together (you will have some unincorporated pieces).
  • Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, flatten slightly, and cut into quarters. Stack pieces on top of one another, placing unincorporated dry pieces of dough between layers, and press down to combine. Repeat process twice more (all pieces of dough should be incorporated at this point). Form dough into a 1”-thick disk. Wrap in plastic; chill at least 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Dough can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled, or freeze up to 3 months.
  • Filling and assembly:
  • Roll out disk of dough on a lightly floured surface into a 14” round. Transfer to a 9” pie dish. Lift up edge and allow dough to slump down into dish. Trim, leaving about 1” overhang. Fold overhang under and crimp edge. Chill in freezer 15 minutes.
  • Place a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350°. Line pie with parchment paper or heavy-duty foil, leaving a 1½” overhang. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until crust is dry around the edge, about 20 minutes. Remove paper and weights and bake until surface of crust looks dry, 5–10 minutes. Brush bottom and sides of crust with 1 beaten egg. Return to oven and bake until dry and set, about 3 minutes longer. (Brushing crust with egg and baking will prevent a soggy crust.)
  • Whisk pumpkin purée, sour cream, bourbon, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, mace, if desired, and remaining 3 eggs in a large bowl; set aside.
  • Pour maple syrup in a small saucepan; scrape in seeds from vanilla bean (reserve pod for another use) or add vanilla extract and bring syrup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened and small puffs of steam start to release, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add cream in 3 additions, stirring with a wooden spoon after each addition until smooth. Gradually whisk hot maple cream into pumpkin mixture.
  • Place pie dish on a rimmed baking sheet and pour in filling. Bake pie, rotating halfway through, until set around edge but center barely jiggles, 50–60 minutes. Transfer pie dish to a wire rack and let pie cool.
  • Just before serving, sprinkle pie with sugar and, using a kitchen torch, brûlée until sugar is melted and dark brown. Serve immediately and garnish with whipped cream and a light sprinkle of lemon zest.DO AHEAD: Pie can be baked 1 day ahead (do not brûlée). Cover and chill.

Notes

The crust is meant to taste like dark, unsweetened chocolate which allows the chocolate its own spotlight amidst the pumpkin and spices. It’s imperative to use REAL maple syrup, and if available, go with the darker Grade B variety with its robust personality. Even with the full measure of bourbon, my kids gobbled up this pie! In this regard, the booze acts as a flavor backbone; the way coffee does with chocolate. It is best to serve the pie just after the brûlée process for the crunchy candy-like effect. After several hours, the brûléed sugar absorbs moisture from the custard and returns to a syrup state.

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Looking for more terrific pie tips, pointers and holiday dessert recipe ideas? Please visit my dear friend Pastry Chef Jenni Field’s post on pie.

Comments

  1. Oh Brooks!! First of all, congratulations on the new home!! I know the effort it takes to get everything all set up, and in time you will get it all done. But the fact that you also got your full holiday meal in combination with pies is amazing!! Somehow, it’s sort of fun that you got to this one a little later… sort of a holiday continuation!! Love the flavors, and brulee anything has my name all over it!

    • Brooks Walker says:

      Thank you so much, Kim. Mrs. W and I keep telling ourselves baby steps with the settling in. I know the dessert is a hit when it gets gobbled up as was the case with this pie. I’m with you, brûléed fare is delightful.

  2. Chocolate pie crust? Why have I never tasted this? It sounds terrific! Anything that requires a blowtorch gets my attention!

    Congratulations on your brand new home! I agree with your decision not to parade around open windows in your birthday suits. :)

    • Brooks Walker says:

      What a way to start new relations with the neighbors, eh Maureen? Lol! Give this recipe a try—it’s a great excuse to fire up the torch. Thanks for visiting and the kind words.

  3. Brooks,
    Congratulations on your new home, how exciting! Settling in is definitely a process, and you had your priorities straight, making your first pie in your new kitchen. The pie is magnificent with so many layers of flavor, topped with brulee.

  4. Congrats on your new home – you’re settling in quite well if you have curtains up and can initiate the kitchen with this gorgeous pie :) Chocolate crust and brulee topping – pumpkin pie just got better!

  5. Brooks, I love the combination of pumpkin with the chocolate dough. Sounds divine. I’m glad your relationship with pumpkin is on again. Lucky for us!

    • Brooks Walker says:

      I’m glad too, Sheryl. Pumpkin and chocolate are flavor profile pals…throw the brûlée on top and the pie quite possibly reigns supreme.

  6. You and Mrs. W. have a major Wow-Factor going on here, Brooks. The recipe in general and your photographic documetation of it in particular are top-notch. I can’t say that I have ever had a falling out with pumpkin and for my own selfish reasons, I’m happy the two of you are on good terms once again. Congrats on the new digs and on another very well done post.

  7. Congratulations on the new home, Brooks! This pie is gorgeous! Love the chocolate crust & really love the bruleed top!

    • Brooks Walker says:

      The brûléed top makes it quite special Meghan, the pie was a wonderful first baked treat to emerge from the new oven. Thank you for the good wishes—I’m glad you stopped by!

  8. Oh. My. Goodness!! A brûléed custard cozily nestled in chocolate pastry?! You definitely have my full attention with this pie, Brooks. I’ll be whisking squash-laden custard in no time, just to savor a bite. Thank you for further justifying my long ago purchase of a kitchen torch.

  9. WOW! Now that looks incredible!

  10. Brooks, looks fabulous! I would make it as is for guests, but when I make pumpkin pie for just my husband and me I cut the sugar or maple syrup back to just 1/4 cup. Sounds crazy, but we love it! Congratulations on your new home!

    • Brooks Walker says:

      Thank you, Jean. In this particular recipe, the syrup shines with its maple flavor, and the measure of salt helps to keep the cloyingly sweet at bay. Season’s greetings to you & yours!

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