This pie makes a wonderful dessert for family and guests at Thanksgiving, Halloween, and other holidays. The cream cheese layer and praline topping create different delicious textures from a traditional pumpkin pie.
Although it has four steps, this is an easy recipe. Preparing the pralines and baking the pumpkin can be done ahead of time. Once you bake pumpkin for a pie you will never want to go back to canned again.
Select at least a 3 kg (6 lb) pie or sugar pie pumpkin that is fairly smooth on the outside, with no blemishes, and is not shiny. Other good pie pumpkins to use are Cinderella, Pink Banana, or Red Kuri. Canned pumpkin can also be used.
There is enough pumpkin and pralines to make two pies, while the cream cheese mixture and pumpkin pie mixture are enough for one pie. This part of the recipe can be doubled to make two pies. If making only one pie, the remaining baked pumpkin can be placed in a freezer bag and frozen to be used at another time.
Decadent Praline Pumpkin Pie
Makes 1 pie
23 cm (9-inch) unbaked pie crust
300 ml (1 1/4 cup) baked pumpkin puree (recipe below)
2 eggs, beaten
50 ml (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
50 ml (1/4 cup) light brown sugar, packed
2 ml (1/2 tsp) ground cloves or allspice
10 ml (2 tsp) cinnamon
1 ml (1/4 tsp) nutmeg
1 ml (1/4 tsp) ginger, powered
3 ml (3/4 teaspoon) salt
250 ml (1 cup) evaporated milk
10 pralines (recipe below)
Wax paper, one strip approximately 3 feet long
Deep fry/candy thermometer
Large wooden spoon
Plastic tablespoon (not metal otherwise sugar will not set)
175 ml (3/4 cup) granulated white sugar
175 ml (3/4 cup) light brown sugar, packed
125 ml (1/2 cup) evaporated milk from 354 ml (12 oz) can, regular or skim (use the rest with pie)
50 ml (4 tbsp) butter or margarine
375ml (1 1/2 cup) pecans (chips, chopped or pieces)
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Mixture
1 pkg 250 ml (8 oz) cream cheese (not reduced fat), room temperature
40 ml (3 tbsp) granulated white sugar
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla
1 small 3 kg (6 lb) pumpkin
Pre-heat oven to 180°C (350°F).
Wash outside of pumpkin and pat dry. Cut pumpkin in half width-wise and remove seeds. Line baking pan with foil. Place pumpkin halves face down and pierce skin with fork in several places. Cover the pan with a lid or foil. Bake for 40-60 minutes until soft.
Remove pan from oven and turn the halves over. Let cool enough to handle. Using a fork, scrape away the stringy dark orange matter on top. Scrape out remaining pulp with a metal spoon. If pulp is full of liquid, place in a strainer and press out the excess liquid. Measure amount of pumpkin needed for one pie and set aside.
Roll up the paper strip and place in freezer. You will need to work fast throughout the whole process. Shake the can of milk before measuring. Mix milk and sugars in large saucepan. Slice the butter or margarine into teaspoon-sized amounts, pre-measure vanilla, and put by the stove. Place saucepan over medium heat and while heating, stir sugar and milk continuously with a wooden spoon to avoid sticking.
Boil rapidly for a minute then begin testing mixture with a thermometer. When it reaches 116° C (240° F) or is at the stage where it will form a soft ball, add the butter. Immediately after butter is melted, add pecans and vanilla. Stir fast and well. Remove from heat. Quickly place the chilled paper on a working surface that can take heat, and spoon out the individual pralines with a plastic tablespoon.
Cream Cheese Mixture
Using an electric mixer with a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, egg, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Cool in refrigerator for one hour until set. For the crust, make your favourite crust recipe or thaw a pre-made 9-inch pie crust to use in a glass or ceramic pie pan. Once the cream cheese is chilled, carefully spoon into the pie crust and set aside.
Pre-heat oven to 190°C (375°F).
This can be done entirely with an electric mixer if you don’t have a blender or food processor. Place baked pumpkin in blender or food processor and puree. Beat eggs with a whisk or electric mixer. Put eggs and remaining ingredients into pumpkin puree and mix well.
Carefully pour mixture over the cream cheese layer in the pie pan. Place foil or a crust shield over the edge of the crust and cook for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 180° C (350° F) and cook another 15 minutes. Remove the foil or shield if the crust edges are browning nicely. Continue cooking another 25 minutes for a total baking time of 65 minutes or until done, which is when a toothpick inserted into the centre of the pie comes out clean. Cool on rack. Crumble the pralines over top of the pie. Refrigerate before eating.
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