Wednesday, October 23, 2013

brûléed bourbon-maple pumpkin pie.

Come fall, I dream endlessly about pumpkin pie.  

Pumpkin pie is creamy and comforting.  It's a pie best eaten under a plaid cashmere throw while watching the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special in your flannel pajama bottoms and oversized sweater (I have a soft spot for Charlie Brown and Snoopy). Pumpkin pie is also suited for breakfast consumption; it's pudding like consistency is reminiscent of yogurt (really wonderful yogurt).  Pumpkin pie is pretty much perfect any time of day. 

I was going to save this recipe.  I made it with the intention that I would share it closer to Thanksgiving because everyone knows that pumpkin pie and Thanksgiving are like peanut butter and jelly, they simply go together.  But the chocolate crust paired with the gorgeously orange filling reminded me of Halloween in the best possible way (and also because pumpkin pie should not be regaled to simply one day a year). 

This is a dessert that allows adults to indulge on a holiday that caters to children and candy consumption (this statement does not mean I have any issues with candy consumption because I love candy consumption).  The chocolate crust brings an unexpectedly wonderful twist to the traditional dessert and the bittersweet cocoa powder pairs brilliantly with the sweet and creamy filling.  The filling itself is glorious.  Bourbon, maple, and pumpkin may be the most epic-ly perfect combination ever.  It's everything, everything I love and it's why this pie may be the best pumpkin pie ever.  

The brûléed top is just brilliant and positively beautiful which takes this pie from good to showstopper.  

Have I given you enough excuses to eat pumpkin pie on Halloween?  I hope so.  

Brûléed Bourbon-Maple Pumpkin Pie
Recipe adapted (barely) via Bon Appétit

This recipe was an utter success except for the baking of the pie dough.  I don't think I sufficiently "slumped" my dough into the pan as it cracked and then split apart during the initial baking process.  I will probably try it again in an attempt to see if the "slumping" was the issue, but my intuition says it was. Regardless of the aesthetics  it tastes damm good.   

Chocolate Pie Dough

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
3 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening, cut into pieces (you can also use an additional 2 tablespoons of butter in place of the shortening as I did)
1 large egg yolk (keep egg white for brushing pie with later on in assembly stage)
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Filling and Assembly

All-purpose flour (for dusting)
3 large eggs
15 ounces pumpkin puree          
¼ cup sour cream (Greek yogurt mixed with a tiny bit of buttermilk is what I used and it worked just as well, all Greek yogurt I imagine would be also be successful)
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾ cup maple syrup, preferably grade B
½ a vanilla bean split lengthwise or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Make the chocolate pie dough: Pulse cocoa powder, granulated sugar, salt, and 1¼ cups plus 1 Tbsp. flour in a food processor to combine. Add butter and shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Transfer to a large bowl.

Whisk egg yolk, vinegar, and ¼ cup ice water in a small bowl. Drizzle half of egg mixture over flour mixture and, using a fork, mix gently just until combined. Add remaining egg mixture and mix until dough just comes together (you will have some unincorporated pieces).

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, flatten slightly, and cut into quarters. Stack pieces on top of one another, placing unincorporated dry pieces of dough between layers, and press down to combine. Repeat process twice more (all pieces of dough should be incorporated at this point). Form dough into a 1”-thick disk. Wrap in plastic; chill at least 1 hour.

DO AHEAD: Dough can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled, or freeze up to 3 months.

For the filling and assembly: Roll out disk of dough on a lightly floured surface into a 14” round. Transfer to a 9” pie dish. Lift up edge and allow dough to slump down into dish. Trim, leaving about 1” overhang. Fold overhang under and crimp edge. Chill in freezer 15 minutes.

Place a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350°. Line pie with parchment paper or heavy-duty foil, leaving a 1½” overhang. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until crust is dry around the edge, about 20 minutes. Remove paper and weights and bake until surface of crust looks dry, 5–10 minutes. Brush bottom and sides of crust with egg yolk. Return to oven and bake until dry and set, about 3 minutes longer. (Brushing crust with egg and baking will prevent a soggy crust.)

Whisk pumpkin purée, sour cream, bourbon, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg, and 3 eggs in a large bowl; set aside.

Pour maple syrup in a small saucepan; scrape in seeds from vanilla bean (reserve pod for another use) or add vanilla extract and bring syrup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened and small puffs of steam start to release, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add cream in 3 additions, stirring with a wooden spoon after each addition until smooth. Gradually whisk hot maple cream into pumpkin mixture.

Place pie dish on a rimmed baking sheet and pour in filling. Bake pie, rotating halfway through, until set around edge but center barely jiggles, 50–60 minutes. Transfer pie dish to a wire rack and let pie cool.

Just before serving, sprinkle pie with sugar and, using a kitchen torch, brûlée until sugar is melted and dark brown. (Completely optional but it makes the cake gorgeous.)

DO AHEAD: Pie can be baked 1 day ahead (do not brûlée). Cover and chill.

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