I know. I know.The last thing you need less than a week after Thanksgiving is a pumpkin pie recipe. Am I right? It’s something you needed before Thanksgiving. And I’m sorry, I should have posted it earlier. But better late than never. And besides, this cream cheese swirl pumpkin pie is so delicious it’s worth having just so you know it exists. Plus, my family and friends really enjoyed this pie over Thanksgiving that I thought I had to share it because maybe you’d enjoy it too. First, I made this pie the Tuesday before Thanksgiving for a “friendsgiving” I organized at with my colleagues at work. Everyone brought in food and I brought in this pumpkin pie and an apple pie. We watched the parade (from 2013, it’s on YouTube) and we traced our hands and made hand turkeys. And everyone was happy and chatting and together. It felt like Thanksgiving. It was a warm and fuzzy feeling. And on top of that the entire pie was eaten and a couple of people asked me for the recipe. That’s a win in my book.
Then, I had this pie again as part of the official Thanksgiving meal. Aaron, Katy, and Boden came from Zurich and we all worked together chopping, pealing, cleaning, shopping, and cooking together. Katy and I made this pumpkin pie together and again I felt warm fuzzies. It was nice to spend time with my sister-in-law and put together something delicious. And she wanted the recipe too.
So not only does this pie make people happy and bring them together, but it also tastes delicious and people want to make it themselves. It’s rich from the cream cheese, but also surprisingly still pretty light. The crust is a flavorful spicy mix of gingersnap-graham cracker crust, which I love. Ordinarily I grind up the cookies using the food processor. Since we spent Thanksgiving at a rental house I didn’t have the food processor so instead, I made a pouch out of aluminium foil and smashed the cookies with with a can of edamame. Don’t let equipment get in the way, anyone cane make a cookie crust.
A few more words of advice. Your pie will probably come out lighter in color than mine. My tart tin is slightly rubbish and very thin therefore it often cooks things too quickly. So, rest assured yours might come out more beautifully. Also, with the cream cheese as you dollop it onto the pie you might feel disheartened that it doesn’t look pretty. Don’t fret. The cream cheese will rise a bit during cooking and will create a gorgeous swirly dotted pattern regardless of what it looks like when you pop it in the oven.
I know pumpkin-season is pretty much over, but I really do love this pie. I hope you can find a reason to share it with friends and family this holiday season. And maybe they’ll ask you for the recipe too. All right, now I’m all done talking about Thanksgiving food. Tomorrow is December, that means I can move on to Christmas right?
Adapted (barely) from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. I love everything from Smitten Kitchen and this cookbook is awesome – a perfect holiday gift for the cook in your life.
Messy level: Assembly and baking is so easy, but honestly this requires a lot of dishes. You need to make three separate things and then combine them. That equals dishes. Also, put your pie tin on a cookie sheet then assemble your pie! This will help make sure you don’t spill or make a mess as you put the pie in the oven.
- 4 oz/115 grams gingersnap cookies
- 3 oz/ 85 grams/ about 5 sheets graham crackers (or digestive biscuits)
- 4 tablespoons/ 55 grams butter, melted
- 4 ounces/115 grams softened cream cheese
- 3 tablespoons/ 40 grams sugar
- 1 egg yolk (don't throw out the white, you'll need it later)
- 1 egg
- 1 egg white (see I told you you'd use it)
- 1¼ cups/300 grams pumpkin puree (you can use a whole 15 oz can if you really want to, but your pie will be VERY full)
- ¼ cup/ 50 grams sugar
- ¼ cup/ 50 grams brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- sprinkle of grated nutmeg
- 1 cup/ 235 ml heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 425°F/220°C.
- Using a food processor, grind the gingersnaps and graham crackers until broken up into fine crumbs. It's ok if there a few pea sized lumps - just not too many.
- Pour the melted butter into the food processor and pulse until all the cookie crumbs are moistened. [Alternatively put the cookies in a plastic bag and smash with a rolling pin. Then transfer the crumbs to a bowl then stir in the melted butter until it is all moistened.]
- Pour this cookie mixture into a 9" tart pan. (I've also had success with a deep 8" cake pan. It's also best if the pan has a removable bottom but that's not 100% necessary) Press the cookie mixture into the bottom and sides of the pan. Press firmly so it all becomes compact. Use the bottom and sides of a drinking glass or measuring cup to help you really press the cookie crumbs into the corners and up the sides.
- Set the pie crust to the side.
- Now for the cream cheese, in a small bowl mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and egg yolk. Give your arm a work out and really mix until smooth and a little bit drippy. [Sometimes when I've done it this has been thick and not very pourable, that's ok it will still work fine]
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg and egg white.
- Add the pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Stir until everything is combined.
- Slowly pour the heavy cream into the pumpkin mixture. Whisk until everything is smooth.
- Pour the pumpkin mixture into the pie crust.
- Take a fork and dollop the cream cheese mixture randomly into the pumpkin mixture.
- Using the tines of the fork gently swirl it about to create a beautiful pattern. Don't worry if it doesn't immediately look beautiful. While swirling, be careful not to stab the bottom of the pie crust with your fork.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Lower the heat to 350°F/180°C and bake for a further 30 minutes. Check the pie and if a fork or toothpick comes out clean your done! If not, bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.