There is a distinct rank and file to my Thanksgiving table:
1. Pumpkin Pie
2. Pumpkin Pie
3. Oyster dressing
Nothing upstages pumpkin pie in my book. About three weeks before Thanksgiving, I find myself drawn to every magazine at the grocery store. “Your best Thanksgiving Ever!” (Yes!) “A Pumpkin Pie to Wow Them!” (Of course!) “The Best of the Best Pie Recipes for Your Table!” (This is the one!). And every year I set out to find the best pumpkin pie recipe – one that people will talk about for years to come. It never fails, the chosen recipe tastes like, well…pumpkin pie. I was starting to feel like Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin to come, each year hoping that the recipe Gods would pick me as the most sincere baker of all. That is until last year when Dorie Greenspan and her Caramel Pumpkin Pie entered my life.
If you own only one baking cookbook, I say it should be Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. She’s the author of Baking With Julia (yes, Julia Child) and knows her stuff. Her technique of caramelizing a portion of the sugar before adding it to the pumpkin mixture gives this pie a depth of flavor that will knock your socks off. It’s like a pumpkin pie has hit puberty – that soft, sweet, creamy pastry grows up to be a deeper, darker, more mature dessert that means business. If you’re like me and always looking for that next best thing – this is your year!!
This recipe takes a little patience with an extra step of using a deep caramel sauce that you make on the stove. The process makes you second guess yourself, but give it some patience and it will turn out great!