This week's Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Janell of Mortensen Family Memoirs: caramel pumpkin pie. I've been baking with pumpkin like crazy around here (just wait until you see all of the pumpkin posts I have to share in the next few weeks!), but I haven't yet made a pumpkin pie, especially one that adds a rich and creamy caramel sauce to the mix. Though I generally scale back recipes (as you probably know), I made a full size pie this week for two main reasons. First, I'd stashed pie dough in my freezer and when I rolled it out I had just enough for a full size pie. Also, I've had a lot of trouble scaling back caramel recipes - they just never seem to work as well when I go mini. I emailed my mom to confirm she'd take a full-size pie off my hands. She quickly said yes, and I got to work.
Speaking of the caramel, this week was the first time I'd tried this particular method for making caramel. Dorie starts with only sugar in the bottom of a nonstick pan and slowly, as it is heated, the sugar melts and caramelizes. Mine took forever; I stood there staring at it for what seemed like ages, complaining to Shane that it wasn't going to work. Then, suddenly, it melted and began taking on a golden brown color. I was beyond excited, and it only got better from there. The color darkened, then the sugar bubbled and smoked before finally I added the cream, butter and apple cider and was rewarded with a luxurious, amber caramel sauce. My cream sat at room temperature for about 30 minutes before I added it to the hot sugar, so it didn't clump at all.
I raved about Dorie's crust when I tried it for the first time last week, and while I loved how easily it rolled out this week and its great flaky texture, it did shrink up on me quite a bit when I prebaked it. I wasn't particularly careful about handling the dough so I'll give it another try and hopefully have better results next time. Once you make the crust and the caramel, the rest of this pie is a cinch - simply whisk pumpkin puree, eggs, sugar, spices and finally, the caramel sauce, in a large bowl then pour them into the crust and bake. The edges of my filling puffed in the oven, but not the center, which made it look underbaked, but since it didn't jiggle, I pulled the pie out (at 50 minutes) and hoped for the best. As the pie cooled, the edges leveled out with the center so no biggie.
A few swirls of whipped cream were the final touch to the pie before I sent it home with my mom. I kept one slice for myself, and though I've never been a big pumpkin pie fan, I liked this one. My stepdad, who does love pumpkin pie, also loved this version. It's darker in color and more intense in flavor than traditional pumpkin pie with the caramel notes. It might not replace everyone's favorite pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, but it's a nice change of pace. Many thanks to Janell for hosting this week! You can find the recipe for the pumpkin pie on her site here, or on pages 322-323 of Baking: From My Home to Yours.