Earlier last week, I had picked up a couple sweet baking pumpkins along with a modest future Jack-O-Lantern. With a disc of pie crust left over from the apple-cranberry pies I looked around for various pumpkin pie custards. I’d heard people using sweet potato to balance and round up the flavor in a pumpkin pie. “The Flavor Bible” says pumpkin is a medium-heavy in comparison to the sweet potato as a moderate-loud. I decided to try a blend of the two so next up … the custard. I’d used both the sweetened condensed milk and the heavy cream routes before. What struck me though was a recipe by Paula Dean where she used a block of cream cheese. Naturally, I was intrigued.
Following is an adaptation of her recipe “Pumpkin Pie.” I used “How To Roast A Sugar Pumpkin & Make Fresh Pumpkin Purée – A Step-by-step Photo Tutorial” by Oh She Glows on roasting fresh pumpkin. The first time I did this in 2007 it was something crazy at low heat taking 6 hours. The house smelled great, the pumpkin meat was wonderful… I swore I’d never do it again.
Fresh out of the oven. One pie plus a tester pot. It won’t win a beauty pageant but it was a vodka crust remnant and it’s all about the cream cheese and the sweet potato here.
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups canned pumpkin, mashed
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tbsp. Whiskey
Place 1 piece of pre-made pie dough down into a (9-inch) pie pan and press down along the bottom and all sides. Pinch and crimp the edges together to make a pretty pattern. Put the pie shell back into the freezer for 1 hour to firm up. Fit a piece of aluminum foil to cover the inside of the shell completely. Fill the shell up to the edges with pie weights or dried beans (about 2 pounds) and place it in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the foil and pie weights and bake for another 10 minutes or until the crust is dried out and beginning to color.
For the filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer. Add the pumpkin and sweet potato meats then beat until combined. Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined. Add the eggs mixed with the yolks, half-and-half, and melted butter, and beat until combined. Finally, add the vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger and whiskey then beat until incorporated.
Pour the filling into the warm prepared pie crust and bake for 50 minutes, or until the center is set. Place the pie on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Cut into slices and top each piece with a generous amount of whipped cream. tyg