I legit despise pumpkin pie. I tried it every Thanksgiving as a kid, but it never worked out. The overuse of too many warm spices in baking when I was growing up made me averse to things like cinnamon and cloves. As an adult, I made it my mission to make a pumpkin pie I enjoy eating . . . by covering it in something I really like: white chocolate cream. I can almost eat a full slice of this pie.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer, combine the flour and salt. Add the butter and beat on medium speed just until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 45 seconds. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and water. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the vinegar-water mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.
- Liberally dust a work surface and your rolling pin with flour. Working quickly to keep the pie dough from warming up too much, roll out the dough, rotating it a quarter turn every few rolls, until it’s about 1⁄4 inch thick. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and carefully unroll it into a deep 9-inch glass pie plate. Pat the dough into the pie plate. Fold the overhanging dough under itself and press the dough to make it even. To crimp the dough, use the index finger of one hand to press the dough between the index finger and thumb of another, allowing the crimp to extend past the edge of the pie pan a bit—this will prevent the rim of the dough from collapsing during baking. Place the pie shell in the freezer for at least 1 hour.
- Parbake the crust. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Scrunch up a sheet of parchment paper so it’s all wrinkled, then flatten it out and use it to line the pie shell. Fill with dried beans or pie weights.
- Bake for 15 minutes, rotating the pie plate after 8 minutes, until the crust is light golden at the edges. Remove the parchment and beans or pie weights and let cool on a wire rack.
- Make the white chocolate cream. Preheat the oven to 275°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Spread the chocolate evenly on the prepared baking sheet and place in the oven. Once the chocolate melts for a few minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven and stir the chocolate using a clean, dry rubber spatula. Continue to cook the chocolate, stirring every 5 minutes, until the chocolate is golden brown, about 20 minutes total. (Bear in mind that the chocolate will go through a phase of looking lumpy and will lose its melty quality. I assure you, it’s just a phase, so keep going.) This step can be done days in advance; the roasted chocolate will keep in a clean bowl, covered, at room temperature.
- In a small bowl, combine 1 1⁄2 teaspoons of the cream with the gelatin. Let sit for about 5 minutes until the gelatin softens. If the chocolate is not mostly melted, place it in a clean, dry heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water to melt, stirring often with a spatula (it’s okay if it is a little bit chunky or pasty—the hot milk and blending will do the rest of the work). In a heavy-bottomed saucepot over medium-high heat, bring the milk and salt to a scald (you will see bubbles around the perimeter of the liquid and a wisp of steam from the surface). Stir in the gelatin mixture, then remove from the heat. In two portions, add the milk mixture to the melted white chocolate, stirring well with a spatula after each addition. The chocolate will take on that lumpy, seized quality again, but keep stirring; it’ll smooth out. Once all the milk has been added to the chocolate, blend with an immersion blender (or use a food processor) for 45 seconds to 1 minute, until smooth. Then, while blending, slowly pour in the remaining chilled cream until fully incorporated. Refrigerate overnight.
- Make the filling. Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg until incorporated. Stir in the cream until well combined.
- Pour the filling into the prepared piecrust and bake for about 1 hour, rotating the pie after 30 minutes, until the center is set.
- Place the pie on a wire rack to cool completely. Top the pie with the cream in any way you see fit—I pile it in the center—and dust with cinnamon. Cut and serve! The pie can be loosely tented with foil and refrigerated for up to 4 days; bring to room temperature to serve.
Reprinted with permission from The Good Book of Southern Baking by Kelly Fields with Kate Heddings, copyright (c) 2020. Published by Lorena Jones Books, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Photographs copyright © Oriana Koren