The Best Pecan Pumpkin Pie
The smoothest, silkiest pumpkin pie you will ever experience! This pecan pumpkin pie is velvety smooth and topped with pecans to give the pie an added crunch. The homemade crust, the pumpkin filling, and the toasted pecans – 3 layers for this perfect pumpkin pie. Top with a dollop of whipped cream for extra smiles!
What kind of pie should I bake for Thanksgiving? I want pecan pie. No wait, I want pumpkin pie. No wait, I want both.
I’m not baking two pies.
Nope. Not happening.
And so began the quest for a pumpkin pecan pie. Last year, I finally mastered it. I took the things I love most about each pie and jammed packed them into one deliciously smooth – yet crunchy pecan pumpkin pie.
It’s hard for me to decide which part of the pie I like more, whether it’s the buttery, crispy crust or all the flavors in the filling. The one thing I miss the most when having a traditional pumpkin pie – the crunch. That buttery, nutty taste that pecan pies have. Though nothing will ever beat a pecan pie for me, a pumpkin pie topped with crunchy toasted pecans can definitely satisfy both flavors – nuttiness from pecans and pumpkin spice.
But let me be honest, pecan pies can be insanely sweet. You know I have more than one sweet tooth in this mouth of mine, but sometimes you’ve gotta step back and just enjoy something with a little more flavor and a little less sugar. Psst. If it’s pecan pie you’re after, check here for a satisfying fix.
Okay, enough chit chat. Let’s make pecan pumpkin pie!
The pumpkin pie filling for this recipe is super easy to pull together. I’ve got a little tip I want to share with you. What makes my pumpkin pie velvety smooth is the eggs I’ve used. A lot of recipes for pumpkin pie call for 3-4 eggs. My recipe uses 2 large eggs with the addition of 2 egg yolks. The egg yolks make the pie a lot creamier and smoother that adding 4 eggs in total.
Also we’re using 1 entire can of pumpkin puree. Which, let me take a second to say is, awesome! I hate when recipes call for just a portion of a can of pumpkin puree. Because then you either have to make something else or toss the rest. I absolutely hate that! Okay, sorry for my soapbox moment, let’s go on, shall we?
We’re using light brown sugar and a couple tablespoons of maple syrup to sweeten this pie. For the spices i’m using a combination of ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. If you don’t have all these spices separately, you can easily substitute 2 1/2 teaspoons of your favorite pumpkin pie spice.
Let’s talk about the crust for a second here. I make my pie crust with just 4 simple ingredients. I think the flour, butter, and sugar are the obvious ones. The last ingredient: buttermilk. A scant 1/3 cup of buttermilk helps tie this pie crust together.
If you’ve got the time I’m going to suggest that you make this pie crust the night before so that it has a chance to firm up nicely before you roll it out. Plus, think about all the chilling time it’ll save you on the day of. A little prep work can go a long way when it comes to pie.
I understand that pecans on a pumpkin pie may not be everyones ‘thing’. In that case, you can leave off the pecans and make this pie. The filling is perfectly sweetened and the crust is buttery – traditionally the way pumpkin pie is suppose to be.
This pecan pumpkin pie is a lot of things. It’s spiced. But not so spiced that it’s overwhelming. It’s got a shaggy, flaky crust. It’s got velvety smooth pumpkin filling. Velvety? Um because we’ve all tasted velvet before. But I can say it’s velvety smooth because of the evaporated milk and those egg yolks. One word: luscious.
This pecan topped pumpkin pie is a dream. I wish I could bottle the scent while it’s in the oven and use it for air freshener all year round.
You have to, have to, have to make this pie. Because like I said, it’s the best.
For the crust:
- 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) salted butter
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup buttermilk, scant
For the pecan pumpkin pie filling:
- 2 cups (15 oz or 450 grams) pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
- 2 large eggs + 2 egg yolks
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) evaporated milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 1/2 cups whole pecans
To make the pie crust:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and sugar. Add cold, cubed butter and using a pastry cutter or your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture. The butter should be broken down into the size of peas and oat flakes. Pour the buttermilk into the center and using a fork bring the dough together. Make sure to moisten all the flour. You may need a little more buttermilk to bring the dough together. The dough should be shaggy but not super sticky and wet. Dumb the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead into a dish. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to 24 hours.
- Roll out the pie crust on a well floured surface, about 1/8 inch thick and 12 inches in diameter. Transfer pie crust to pie pan that's at least 2 inches deep and 9 inches in diameter. Trim the edges almost even with the edge of the pie pan. Crimp as desired with fingers or a fork. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and up to 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
To make the pie filling:
- Whisk the pumpkin, eggs + yolks, light brown sugar, and maple syrup together until combined. Add the salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, evaporated milk, and vanilla. Whisk until everything is combined and the sugar has dissolved. Filling will be somewhat thick.
- Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust leaving a 3/4 inch space. Do not fill to the top. Place the pie pan onto a baking sheet. Bake the pie for 10 minutes. Drop the temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for 45 minutes. After the 45 minutes are up remove the pie from the oven and arrange the pecans on tip as desired. Continue to bake for 15 more minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack. Allow the pie to cool for at least 3 hours at room temperature. Rushing this process will cause cracks on the fillings surface.
- Serve with whipped cream.