Even though I gave my dad first dibs at choosing the Thanksgiving menu this year, he allowed me to choose the dessert. Mainly because he knows how much I love dessert but also because I would have to make it. Neither of us overly like pumpkin pie, but it doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving unless you have one on the table, right? This recipe was my way of bringing pumpkin pie to the table without feeling like I was missing out on something better. It contains a layer of cheese cake, pumpkin pie and pecan pie. My grandma clipped this recipe from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and sent it to me. Good find, Grams!
This pie was quite an undertaking. It’s actually not quite as hard as it sounds, though people often tell me that I have a different understanding of what’s “hard” in the kitchen. It was quite an undertaking for me because I believe I chose the wrong sized pie dish. The recipe said it makes a 9-inch pie but I couldn’t fit all the ingredients in my pie pan. And to be honest, there was so much extra pecan pie filling when all was said and done that I didn’t think a 10-inch pie pan would have faired well either. I do have a nice deep-dish le creuset pie pan that probably would have been perfect for the occasion. Maybe I can try this pie another time using a different dish.
Because all my ingredients would not fit into the pan, I wasn’t able to make three separate layers. Also, I actually thought it would make more sense if you layered the pie with the cream cheese on the bottom, pecan in the middle and pumpkin on top. That’s in order of most dense to least dense because the pumpkin layer is all liquid. So the way the recipe reads now you are pouring a heavier density layer of pecan onto liquid pumpkin and you know what happens? It sinks. Even if you pour it carefully. It all sank right into the middle of my pie. And then of course I had a bunch of the pecan filling that wouldn’t even fit, and my cup (or pie pan) was already runneth over at that point.
A bit into the baking when the pumpkin layer was starting to puff up, I added the rest of the pecan filling around the outside edges to try to get a layer of pecan that covered the entire dish. It looked successful as I was pouring but when I pulled the finished product out of the oven … it just looked like pumpkin pie with some pecans peppered on top and like the pecan filling had sunk completely to the middle. It looked like a pumpkin pie with some random pecans sprinkled on top. Oh well. It looked decent just not what I had been envisioning.
Another thing that made me think the pie was going to be a total bust is that it seemed to take waaaaaaay longer than the amount of time called for in the recipe to bake this pie. That could be because I added more pecan about halfway through. When I finally pulled the pie out of the oven, it was still pretty jiggly in the middle but starting to brown A LOT. I didn’t want to risk a dried out cheesecake layer so I yanked it hoping that the pie would firm up/set when it cooled.
Well, it mostly did. When I cut into the pie, it oozed a bit of the pecan filling making it look like I garnished the pie in caramel (or some other sauce) when I plated it. You can see the sauce in the pictures.
But the taste… oh the taste of this pie. It literally tasted like the best thing I had ever had. Literally. I detest pumpkin pie but this pie I could eat all day long. And it had a substantial amount of pumpkin in it! It tasted like mostly pumpkin with some cheesecake and a bit of pecan. But the flavor and texture combination worked so well. If I were going to someone else’s Thanksgiving and had to bring a dessert, this is the dessert I would bring. I mean I would make it in a bigger dish and try to cook it completely next time, but I would definitely bring this pie.
My dad and I felt like we ate too much for Thanksgiving dinner (though I swear I didn’t eat that much – I didn’t even eat half of what I put on my plate!) so we decided to have this pie the following morning. For breakfast. I whipped up some homemade whipped cream (1 cup heavy whipping cream + two tablespooons sugar) to top off the pie but I think this pie would also be phenomenal with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Or maybe some butter pecan. You’ve gotta try this pie. Trust me!
- Make cream cheese layer: Place cream cheese and sugar in bowl of a mixer fitted with flat paddle. Beat until combined. Add egg yolk, flour and vanilla and beat to combine. Use a rubber spatula to place cream cheese filling into bottom of the blind-baked pie shell. Place pie in freezer 20 minutes while making the next layer.
- Make pecan layer: In a mixing bowl, beat eggs by hand with a wire whisk. Add corn syrup, sugar, butter and vanilla. Stir to blend. Stir in chopped pecans. Remove pie from freezer and pour pecan filling over cream cheese layer.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Make pumpkin layer: Place pumpkin, sugars, spices and salt in bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add eggs, flour and cream and pulse to combine. Remove pie from freezer and carefully pour pumpkin filling over pecan filling. Decorate with pecan halves.
- Bake in preheated oven 1 hour to 1 hour and 25 minutes or until filling is set. Cool pie completely before serving. Store in your refrigerator if not eating immediately and/or if you have leftovers.
The original recipe has you putting the pecan layer on top of the pumpkin layer but during my second go-round of making this pie (for my dad’s birthday) I decided to put the pumpkin on top of the pecan, since the pecan layer is more dense. I noticed that the pecan layer started to want to poke through the top when I very delicately began pouring the pumpkin on top but I still think putting the pumpkin on top makes most sense.
The original recipe also has you making this recipe in a 9-inch pie dish but please do not try this. I promise you that it won’t fit. On the second-go round I used a 10-inch deep-dish (le creuset) pie dish and the ingredients fit perfectly into this dish.