Are you a Thanksgiving Traditionalist or a Thanksgiving Adventurer? I’m somewhere in the middle. I love the traditional Thanksgiving spread with its turkey and cranberry sauce and yams and pumpkin pie. Then again, I also love to try new recipes and some foods are only served on Thanksgiving Day, so if I am going to try them, I have to be willing to take a few risks. Pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving is no big surprise, but the layer of cheesecake in the middle takes this from a traditional pie to a delicious adventure!
The best part of this pie is that you can make it the day before and chill it overnight. That means there is one less thing for you to think about on the Big Day! Hooray!
It took several tries before I deemed this pie perfect. The first time, the cheesecake literally melted into the crust. So much for that beautiful middle layer! On the second pie, I partially pre-baked the crust and doubled the cheesecake mixture. Talk about overkill! There was almost no room for the pumpkin topping! The perfect balance was a pre-baked crust and the original amounts of cheesecake and pumpkin filling, all topped with a generous portion of homemade whipped cream!
Happy Thanksgiving, whether it be Traditional or Adventurous!
Source: King Arthur Flour
This twist on the traditional pumpkin pie is delicious!
- To roll the crust: Remove the crust from the refrigerator, and allow it to rest at room temperature till it's warm enough to work with, about 10 minutes. Flour your work surface, and roll the crust into a 13-inch round. Transfer it to a pie plate that's at least 9 inches wide (inside top measurement) and 1 1/2 inches deep. Gently settle the crust into the plate, and crimp the edges. (Note: If your pie plate is less than 1 1/2 inches deep, all of the pumpkin filling won't fit. However, if all you have is a shallower dish, just add as much pumpkin as fits, bake the remainder in a custard cup, serve with whipped cream, and call it pumpkin pudding!)
- Let the pie crust sit in the fridge for 40 minutes. This will let the gluten relax and keep your pie from shrinking in the oven. Follow these instructions to PARTIALLY pre-bake your pie crust. http://www.dishingthedivine.com/2010/06/15/pre-baking-pie-crust/
- While the pie crust is cooling, make the cheesecake filling. Remove the cream cheese from its wrapper, and place it in a mixing bowl. Allow it to warm to room temperature (this will make it easier to beat), then add the sugar and beat till fairly smooth. It may appear grainy, or a few lumps may remain. Stir in the egg and vanilla extract and spoon the filling into the cooled pie crust. Refrigerate until cheesecake is slightly firm.
- Then make the pumpkin filling. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt and spices. Add the pumpkin, cream or evaporated milk, and eggs, and whisk gently until smooth. (You don't want to beat a lot of air into this mixture; just be sure it's thoroughly combined.) Gently spoon the pumpkin filling atop the cheesecake layer, filling within 1/4-inch of the top of the crust. Note: Do this carefully at first, so as not to disturb the cheesecake layer; once you've covered the cheesecake, you can be less careful. Depending on the exact depth of your pie pan, you may have leftover filling. Simply pour it into a custard cup or other small baker, and bake it along with the pie, removing it from the oven when it appears set, and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Place the pie in a preheated 425°F oven, and bake it for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F, and continue to bake for 40 to 45 minutes, covering the edges of the pie with a crust shield or aluminum foil if they seem to be browning too quickly. The pie is done when it looks set, but still wobbles a bit in the center when you jiggle it. (If you have an instant-read thermometer, the pie will register 165°F at its center when it's done.) Remove the pie from the oven, allow it to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it till serving time. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream flavored with a pinch of ginger and teaspoon of vanilla. Yield: 10 to 12 rich servings.