Tag Archives: pies

Pumpkin Pie with Spicy Pepita Brittle

We loved this refreshing variation on pumpkin pie. I topped it with a spicy pepita (shelled pumpkin seed) brittle. The brittle is pretty easy, as far as candy making goes. I adapted a recipe from sophistimom by making it spicier with a lot more cayenne. It really compliments my real pumpkin pie recipe.

Real Pumpkin Pie with Spicy Pepita Brittle

Spicy Pepita (Pumpkin Seed) Brittle Recipe

Adapted from sophistimom

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup (200g) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (150g) honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (65g) raw, hulled, pepitas or pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Butter a large cookie sheet or line it with a silicone mat. Melt butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan set over low heat. Stir in sugar, honey, spices and salt. Stir ingredients together until the sugar starts to dissolve.

2. Raise heat to medium and let the sugar come to a boil. When it reaches 280°  on a candy thermometer, stir in pumpkin seeds. Bring the mixture up to 300°  (hard crack stage). Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Pour onto prepared cookie sheet and allow to cool.

 Pumpkin Pie Recipe – click here

All Butter Crust Recipe – click here

Need a Gluten Free variation?

Bake individual sized pumpkin custards and then top with the brittle. Your gluten free friends will enjoy the crunch and texture of the brittle and how it contrasts with the creamy custard.

pumpkin pie with spicy pepita brittle - gluten free option

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

Real Pumpkin Pie with Maple Whipped Cream

Ditch the cans this year! Try this real pumpkin pie made with a sugar pie pumpkin, honey, cream and milk, eggs, fresh ginger, spices and love! I use the word “real” to mean fresh, whole, and unprocessed foods, and without refined sugar. I made this last year for Thanksgiving. It was gone in a few minutes, leaving the store-bought pumpkin pie next to it largely intact. I’ve since made it three or four more times and my family is in love.

Real Pumpkin Pie with Maple Whipped Cream

So, can a pie by a healthy treat? Maybe this one! Pumpkin is low in calories, and high in fiber and disease-fighting vitamins. It is one of the best source of bioavailable carotenoids and is considered by some to be a super food.  I always knew I was onto something when I ate pie for breakfast! My dad used to do it, too.

To can or not to can?

I recently read an article detailing why canned pumpkin makes better pie. I was dubious, which was confirmed when I saw the “news” was sponsored by one of the largest manufacturers of canned pumpkin. Hmmmm…. And I bet anyone who has made pumpkin pie has tried either evaporated or condensed milk. But think about it… Cans are a great way to preserve food for when fresh isn’t available. Do you have access to fresh dairy? I’m guessing yes. I dare you to try this recipe and tell me fresh isn’t more flavorful. Roasting the pumpkin whole and peeling it when cool makes it super easy, as well. I use a blender to make the batter, leaving my mixer free for whipping cream!

Real Pumpkin Pie with Maple Whipped Cream

Real Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Adapted from allrecipes.com. Makes one 9″ pie.

  • 1 medium sugar pie pumpkin (2 cups of cooked pumpkin puree)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup honey, slightly warmed up
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 uncooked single pie crust, kept refrigerated in pan until ready to use

Preheat oven to 375° F. Place pumpkin directly on a center rack. Roast about one hour until the flesh is soft to the touch with an oven mitt. Turn off the oven and allow the pumpkin to cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Peel the skin off the pumpkin and separate the flesh from the strings and seeds. Place the flesh in a good blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Next, since pumpkins vary in size, put the puree into a bowl and then measure 2 cups of pumpkin puree and return it to the blender. (No need to wash or rinse the blender in between!) Reserve any extra puree for Pumpkin French Toast Bread Pudding.

Add the spices, eggs, honey, milk and cream to the blender and mix until everything is uniform and smooth. Pour into the pie crust shell. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the center is set. Serve warm or room temperature.

Options for serving:

Use leftover crust to make “cookies” in the shape of leaves. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake them for 10 minutes or until golden. Kids love to help with this!

Decorate with a spicy pepita (pumpkin seed) brittle. See the next post for the brittle recipe.

Serve with maple whipped cream, recipe follows.

For gluten-free friends, pour some of the pumpkin batter into single serving oven-safe custard bowls or ramekins. Bake about 25 minutes until set. Decorate with spicy pepita brittle for some crunch and texture.

Real Pumpkin Pie - gluten free option

Maple Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon of maple syrup

In the clean bowl of a mixer, beat the cream and maple syrup on high until soft peaks form. Keep refrigerated.

Baking Pie with Little Bird

Happy weekend, friends! Here is a sneak peak of our pumpkin pie. Little Bird is cutting cookies out of the pie dough scraps. I found some mini cookie cutters of leafs and pumpkins. Naturally, no kid can resist.

Baking pie and cookies with little children

She was also a natural at rolling dough and measuring cups of flour. She even came up with an innovation I will copy! I instructed her to sprinkle the little leaf cookies with cinnamon and sugar, but instead she picked up and pressed each cookie into the bowl of sugar and spice. It stuck better and was distributed better. Love that!

We are making pumpkin, but used the same all butter crust recipe from my chocolate espresso pecan pie post here.

My only lament is that her cookies will not make it to the top of the pie. Little Bird and Papa finished them off while I was taking a nap with Baby. I don’t know what we are having for dinner, but I am off to finish dessert.

Chocolate Espresso Pecan Pie

The holidays are coming! My favorite part of getting ready for the holidays has to be baking. I’m happy to share my favorite recipe, a chocolate espresso pecan pie, with you here. It is, just as the title implies, a pecan pie made more decadent, yet less cloyingly sweet, with dark chocolate, espresso and cocoa nibs. Cocoa nibs are 100% chocolate, in its raw and natural state. They are crunchy, slightly bitter and remind me vaguely of fresh peanuts. I’ve made this pie at least half a dozen times and it never disappoints! Serve with fresh whipped cream, a cup of black coffee, and you have my perfect dessert.

This year, while transcribing the recipe for the chocolate espresso pecan pie, I decided to research alternatives to the original recipe’s suggestion of corn syrup. Apparently in Louisiana, cane syrup is considered traditional in pecan pies. Others have also used maple syrup and honey. I think using brown sugar plus a little bit of liquid would give a great flavor, complementing the pecans. I will probably end up using the same as last year: a mix of brown rice syrup and organic, non-GMO, corn syrup.

Update (1/2/13): I made the pie again for Christmas with honey in place of the corn syrup. I highly recommend warming up the honey until it is liquid, and even watering it down a little, before adding it in. If not, thick honey will be hard to mix by hand. I personally felt like I could taste the honey, but my family liked it, and some even preferred it.

Chocolate Espresso Pecan Pie Recipe

Recipe adapted minimally “Chocolate Espresso Pecan Tart” from Evan Kleinman of KCRW’s Good Food

  • 1 (9-inch) unbaked all butter pie crust (recipe follows)
  • 6 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup brown rice syrup, homemade cane syrup, honey, maple syrup or corn syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon Trablit Coffee Extract
  • 1 1/4 cups pecans
  • 1/4 cup Cocoa Nibs

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Scatter the chunks of chocolate over the pie crust.

In a medium bowl with fork beat eggs slightly. Add sugar, syrup, butter and coffee extract and stir until blended. Stir in pecans and Cocoa Nibs. Pour into pie crust.

Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.


I sometimes brush the bottom of the uncooked crust with a little egg white, just before filling. I also keep the crust, once it is in the dish, in the fridge up until the last minute, to keep the butter in it cold. (The chunks of butter are what create flakes!)

All Butter Pie Crust Recipe

Makes a double crust. Since the chocolate espresso pecan pie only needs a bottom crust, use the other half for a quiche, a pumpkin pie or freeze for an easy pie crust in the future. From The Baker’s Dozen Cookbook via eggbeater.

  • 2 Cups all purpose flour
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar (optional, I usually omit)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter
  • ice water, to incorporate

Cube butter evenly and freeze. Place all dry ingredients in the bowl of a Kitchen-Aid mixer. When butter is frozen, use paddle attachment with mixer on the very lowest setting, and drop butter in a few pieces at a time. Stay close by. Put ice and cold water in a measuring cup. When the chunks of butter are slightly larger than pea size, dribble in the ice water until dough does not appear dry and JUST begins to come together. Turn the dough out onto a dry surface and push together with the heel of your hand. Try not to knead or overwork the dough, you want it to come together so you can roll it out. This dough can be used right away! This amount makes enough for a top and a bottom. If you are not going to use it right away, double wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for 3 days or freeze for up to a month.