Category Archives: Pies & Pie Bars

Sweetened Condensed Milk Pumpkin Pie

If you’ve spent any amount of time in the recipe development corner of the internet, you know that there are as many different ways to make pumpkin pie as there are stars in the sky.

Sweetened Condensed Milk Pumpkin Pie

Okay, I may be exaggerating, but I’m not kidding when I say there are a *lot* of ways to make this classic Thanksgiving dessert. Until today, there were four on this site alone (1, 2, 3, 4), but now there are five. This one, made with one of my favorite ingredients, sweetened condensed milk, might just be my favorite. For now, at least.

Sweetened Condensed Milk Pumpkin Pie

You see, sweetened condensed milk can do it all. It sweetens, binds, and gives things and smooth, creamy texture. It carries the load in desserts from key lime pie to magic bars to no-churn ice cream. In short, it’s an incredible tool to have in your baking arsenal, especially if you’re in charge of making pie next week.

Sweetened condensed milk helps to sweeten and set this pumpkin pie filling, just like it does in my seasonal Pumpkin Spice Spread. It has the added benefit of cutting the list of ingredients a little shorter, too—a welcome shift anytime of year, but especially at the holidays.

Here, sweetened condensed milk is mixed with all the usual pumpkin pie suspects—a can of pumpkin purée, pumpkin pie spice, salt, eggs, and a touch of butter—and poured into a par-baked crust before baking. You’ll notice that the oven temperature goes from 350F to 425F and then back to 350F before this pie is done; it seems like a lot, but if followed, I can promise you flaky crust and a perfectly smooth set center.

I like to make Sweetened Condensed Milk Pumpkin Pie a day ahead because I prefer my custard pies cold. That’s not the case for everyone though, so feel free to serve it at room temperature. Whichever you choose, don’t forget the whipped cream.

Sweetened Condensed Milk Pumpkin Pie
Sweetened Condensed Milk Pumpkin Pie
makes 1 pie

For the crust:
1/2 recipe All Butter Pie Dough or other good single crust recipe
pie weights (or dedicated dried beans or rice) for blind baking

Filling:
2 cups pure pumpkin purée (1 15-ounce can)
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (not fat free)
2 tablespoons butter, melted

For serving:
whipped cream

On a floured surface, roll out pie dough to a 12" diameter. Fit into a deep 9-inch pie plate and trim the overhang to 1/2-inch. Crimp the edges and freeze for 30 minutes or refrigerate for an hour.

Place an oven rack in the lowest position. Preheat oven to 350F.

Remove pie crust from the freezer. Prick the bottom several times with the tines of a fork. Line frozen crust with a big piece of parchment. Fill the center with pie weights (or dried beans or rice).

Place the prepared pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until pie crust has “set” and is starting to turn golden in places, but is far from done. Use parchment to lift out pie weights. Return crust to the oven for 10 minutes, then set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together pumpkin purée, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Whisk in eggs one at a time, followed by sweetened condensed milk and melted butter. Pour pie filling into prepared crust.

Make the egg wash. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together egg and water. Brush over exposed crust.

Bake the pie for 15 minutes, then turn the oven temperature to 350F for an additional 45-50 minutes, covering the crust with foil if it starts to get too brown. The pie is ready when the filling no longer jiggles, or when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let pie cool completely on a rack. Cover and chill, if desired. Serve at room temperature or chilled with whipped cream. Pie will keep covered at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Sugar Cookie Pumpkin Pies

Sugar Cookie Pumpkin Pies​

During my blog sabbatical, I made a mental list of all the things I wanted to make last year but never found the right moment. These little sugar cookie pies were on it, and I’m so happy they’re on here now, not least because it means we can all both dream about and eat them anytime we want. Having this kind of power could be dangerous, but I’m willing to risk it.

Sugar Cookie Pumpkin Pies​

I mean, look at these things. They’ve got thick cookie crusts and plenty of smooth pumpkin filling—a perfect two-bite dessert for when you can’t decide between pie and cookies. Why not both, you know?

Sugar Cookie Pumpkin Pies​

Sugar Cookie Pumpkin Pies begin with a batch of Pumpkin Spice Spread. If you’ve yet to try it, it’s exactly what it sounds like: spreadable pumpkin pie filling perfect for toast, s’mores, or putting in pumpkin baked goods. It’s made with pumpkin purée, sweetened condensed milk, a couple of egg yolks, and pumpkin pie spice, and comes together quickly on the stove. It will need to be made ahead so that it can be easily dolloped into the crusts before baking. And yes, the batch makes enough for you to sneak a few bites right out of the jar!

The sugar cookie crusts are the same graham cracker-spiked base I used in my Key Lime Linzers. It comes together pretty quickly and doesn’t need a chill or anything—just press heaping tablespoons into the bottoms and up the sides of your muffin tin to create little crust shapes, then fill and bake! I tested this recipe with with my Cream Cheese Sugar Cookie dough and it worked just as well, but the graham cracker crumbs give these a hint of pie crust flavor that I really love.

Sugar Cookie Pumpkin Pies​

The pies bake up in just under twenty minutes—you’ll know they’re ready when the filling has puffed and the cookie crusts are beginning to turn golden. The centers will relax as they cool, and before long it’ll be time to dig in!

Sugar Cookie Pumpkin Pies would be great for a bake sale, a Friendsgiving, or an autumnal tea party, but I made them just because I could. Highly recommend.

Sugar Cookie Pumpkin Pies​
Sugar Cookie Pumpkin Pies
makes about 2.5 dozen little pies

Pumpkin Spice Spread:
1 cup pure pumpkin purée (I use Libby’s)
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Cookie Crusts:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Make the Pumpkin Spice Spread. Place pumpkin in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until slightly drier and a tiny bit darker in color. Remove from heat.

Fill a small pot with 1-2 inches of water. Set a heatproof bowl over the top, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove bowl and bring water to a simmer.

In the heatproof bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Whisk in pumpkin purée. Place bowl over simmering water, creating a double boiler. Let cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes (it will thicken further as it cools). Remove from heat and let cool for 20 minute before transferring to a heatproof container. Press a piece of plastic wrap to the surface. Let cool completely at room temperature before refrigerating for at least 2 hours or overnight.

When you’re ready to bake, place the oven racks in central positions. Preheat the oven to 350F. Put cupcake liners in two muffin pans. Set aside.

Make the cookie crusts. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Cream in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by the egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, combining completely after each. Dough may appear crumbly, but should hold together very well when pinched.

Scoop dough in 1 1/2 tablespoon increments and roll into balls. Working with one ball at a time, press it into the bottom and about halfway up the sides of one of the cupcake liners in the pans. This should create a little crust shape with a place in the center for the filling. Repeat the process with remaining cookie dough.

Remove Pumpkin Spice Spread from the refrigerator and give it a stir. Spoon a scant tablespoon into the center of each cookie dough crust. When this is done, wet your finger and smooth out any peaks.

Tap full pans on the counter 5 times to release any air bubbles. Bake sugar cookie pies for 16-18 minutes, or until puffed in the centers and turning golden at the edges. Let sugar cookie pies cool in their pans for 10 minutes before removing to cooling racks to cool completely. Once cool, you may peel off cupcake liners.

Sugar Cookie Pumpkin Pies will keep at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5.

Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie

Hey there! I put all my Thanksgiving recipes on their own page for maximum convenience. Just click the menu at the top of the page and then go to “Thanksgiving Recipes.”

Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie​

It’s funny how recipes sometimes just hit me out of nowhere. Like this past September I was in Maine making Vegan Chocolate Pudding for dessert, and I accidentally made it just a little too stiff. While it worked for a no-frills vacation treat, I knew that I needed to make adjustments for a better pudding consistency, but I also knew I had just made a perfect Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie filling.

Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie​

And I do mean perfect. Sliceable, but not bouncy. Rich and chocolaty, but completely devoid of dairy and eggs. I had a vision of it sitting in a chocolate cookie crust with a whisper of vegan whipped cream on top, and two months later, here we are.

As with my traditional Chocolate Cream Pie, this vegan version is nearly no-bake and very simple to make. The crust is just crushed Oreos (I used gluten-free) and vegan butter that are mixed together and baked just to set. The filling is made by whisking things together in a certain order, as all pudding is. No need to sieve this one though—no eggs means no worrying about solids! To assemble, just pour the filling into the crust and refrigerate until very, very cold.

Oh yes, this cold, creamy crowd pleaser of a pie is an all-out winner. I mean, who doesn’t love delicious Chocolate Cream Pie and food everyone can eat and enjoy? Dessert and inclusivity are two of my favorite things!

Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie​

Before serving, top the pie with some vegan whipped cream! I went with an easy coconut cream-based recipe by Minimalist Baker, and it’s outrageously good. If you’re not up to making your own vegan whipped cream, Reddi Wip makes a good coconut whipped cream in a can that you can find in most grocery stores. Just put a little on each slice immediately before serving (and then spray the rest in your mouth because you’re a grown-up and you can).

Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie​

Speaking of slices, can we discuss how beautiful this is? Defined layers! Gorgeous chocolaty filling! And it’s gluten-free and vegan? I think it’s safe to say we have a Thanksgiving showstopper on our hands.

Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie​
Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie
makes 1 pie

Crust:
24 regular or gluten-free Oreos (original or Double Stuf)
5 tablespoons vegan butter, melted

Filling:
5 tablespoons cornstarch
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
3 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon vegan butter

Topping:
Vegan Whipped Cream (I made it with Thai Kitchen Coconut Cream)
finely chopped dark chocolate

Make the crust. Place Oreos in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until they are crumbs. Add melted butter and pulse until the mixture can be pinched together. Press it into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate (I find that a 1/4 cup measuring cup works for this). Bake the crust for 10 minutes and then let it cool for 20 (or until you can handle the pie plate).

Make the filling. In a medium pot, whisk together cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Whisk in half the non-dairy milk, followed by the remainder.

Place pot over medium heat. Whisking continuously throughout cooking, cook pudding until it has boiled for 1 minute. This process should take 8-10 minutes from start to finish.

Pour filling into the crust. Tap the full pan on the counter a few times to release large bubbles. Press plastic wrap to the surface. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight, until cold.

When ready to serve pudding, peel off and discard plastic wrap. Top with vegan whipped cream of choice and finish with chopped dark chocolate. Refrigerate until ready to slice and serve.

Leftover pie will keep covered in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Black Bottom Caramel Oatmeal Pie

Black Bottom Caramel Oatmeal ​Pie

Just before I started my blog, Brooklyn’s favorite pie shop, Four & Twenty Blackbirds, released a recipe for their Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie and everyone in the food world lost their minds over it. And for good reason. That pie is an old fashioned favorite: essentially a pecan pie with toasted oats instead of nuts, all suspended over a puddle of dark chocolate ganache—a triumph, if you ask me.

Black Bottom Caramel Oatmeal ​Pie

But, as you have probably noticed, I cannot leave well enough alone. I can’t just leave a recipe the way it is. I can’t! I’ve been looking at this perfect pie for six Thanksgivings thinking “but what if you made it with caramel?”

Well, I finally got myself together and did just that. I made the pie with luxurious homemade caramel instead of the usual invert sugars, adjusting for time and texture, and it came out magnificently. Now I just wish I hadn’t waited six whole freaking years to experience this rich, buttery, oat-studded caramel & dark chocolate masterpiece. I mean, I know I’ve made lots of other delicious things, but my goodness, I need to make up for lost time with this one.

As with so many pies, this one isn’t complicated, but it has a bunch of steps and does take time. You’ve got to partially blind bake the crust, and then there’s the whole making a caramel oatmeal filling and layering it over chocolate bit, but I promise you these are all simple steps, and if you follow them one by one and give yourself some grace and time, you will be rewarded. Oh, will you ever.

The balance of chocolate and caramel and chewy oats and flaky crust? It’s a triumph, if you ask me.

Black Bottom Caramel Oatmeal Pie
adapted from Four & Twenty Blackbirds
makes 1 pie

Crust:
1/2 batch All-Butter Pie Dough (or other good single crust recipe)

Caramel Oatmeal Filling:
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (toast)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup heavy cream, divided
2 tablespoons light corn syrup (or maple syrup or mild honey)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature

Dark Chocolate Ganache (Black Bottom):
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
5 tablespoons heavy cream

For Garnish:
confectioner’s sugar, if desired

Place oven racks in the upper and lower positions. Preheat oven to 375F.

Partially blind bake the pie crust. On a floured surface, roll out pie dough to a 12" diameter. Fit into a deep 9-inch pie plate and trim the overhang to 1/2-inch. Crimp the edges and freeze for 30 minutes or refrigerate for an hour.

Remove pie crust from the freezer. Line frozen crust with a big piece of parchment. Fill the center with pie weights (or dried beans or rice).

Place the prepared pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until pie crust has “set” and is starting to turn golden in places, but is far from done. Use parchment to lift out pie weights. Prick the bottom several times with the tines of a fork. Return crust to the oven for 10 minutes.

Make the caramel oatmeal filling. Place oats on a dry rimmed sheet pan. Toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes, until fragrant. Remove and let cool.

Make the caramel. Place a medium heavy-bottomed pot on the stove. Add sugar, salt, butter, 1/2 cup cream, and corn syrup to the pot. Do not stir or jostle in any way! Bring to a boil over medium heat and let cook for 10 minutes, until dark all over but not burnt. Remove from heat and *carefully* whisk in remaining 1/2 cup cream, followed by vanilla and vinegar. Let caramel cool 20 minutes.

Add oats to a mixing bowl and pour caramel over the top. Stir together. Whisk in eggs. Set aside.

Make the dark chocolate ganache (black bottom). Place bittersweet chocolate in a small bowl. Pour heavy cream into a small saucepan over medium heat. When it just barely starts to boil, remove it from the heat and pour the cream over the chocolate. Once the chocolate looks soft, stir it together with a fork until you have a smooth chocolate sauce.

Spread ganache into the bottom of the pie crust. Top with caramel oatmeal filling. Bake pie on the bottom rack for 25 minutes, then move to the top rack for another 20-25 minutes, until puffed and slightly jiggly in the center. If crust is darkening too quickly at any point, tent with foil.

Let pie cool completely before serving, with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, if desired.

Leftover pie will keep covered at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for three.

Pecan Galette

Pecan Galette

Every Thanksgiving, I forget that I like making pie. I mean, I know I like it, but I forget that I like it more than eating pie (and I quite like eating pie). There’s something soothing about the whole lengthy process of lovingly rolling, crimping and otherwise helicopter parenting a large pastry that just does something for me.

Pecan Galette

But you know what I like even more than making pie? Making galettes, which is like making pie, but it takes half the time and it doesn’t matter what the final product looks like because it’s supposed to be rustic. Rustic is my middle name.

Just kidding, it’s Ann.

But I digress. Today, I’m taking my favorite pie—pecan, naturally—and folding it up into a rustic galette.

Pecan Galette

Yes! You can make non-fruit galettes! Here we have all the sticky, crunchy, flaky-crusted magic of traditional pecan pie, but made in a relative snap. No crimping, no endless chills, no waiting half a day for it to be cool enough to slice. This Pecan Galette is Pecan Pie’s low maintenance sister.

The major hurdle here (and in all custard pies) is containing the liquid. I tried assembling this one two different ways, first adding the complete filling before folding, then taking a note from pie queen Erin McDowell and adding the pecans, folding, then pouring in the liquid before baking. It will come as no surprised that that the pie queen’s method was much less frustrating. It will feel strange to assemble a galette in this order, but it actually makes perfect sense. And you can’t argue with the results.

One of my favorite things about making galettes is that they can be sliced up within a couple hours of baking. That said, if you’re looking to work ahead for Thanksgiving, you can bake this a day or two ahead of time and it will be divine.

Oh yes, I do love a galette.

Pecan Galette
makes 1 galette

1/2 recipe All-Butter Pie Dough or other good single crust recipe
1 1/2 cups pecan halves, roughly chopped
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (or mild honey or light corn syrup)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg, room temperature

For assembly:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water

Arrange oven racks in the upper and lower positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Place pecans on a dry rimmed sheet pan. Bake for 5-7 minutes until toasted and fragrant. Do not burn. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, nutmeg, salt, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and vanilla. Add melted butter, followed by egg. Set aside.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Roll pie dough out until it is 1/8-inch thick. Trim edges so that you have a 12-inch circle. Transfer to prepared pan. Mound toasted pecans in the middle of the dough, leaving at least 2 inches of excess on all sides. Fold dough over the pecans to contain them. Slowly (!) pour liquid mixture over pecans, stopping frequently to tap the pan on the counter to help the liquid settle. Continue until all liquid is in the galette.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg and water. Brush mixture on exposed pie dough.

Bake galette on the upper rack for 25 minutes. Move to the lower rack. Bake for 20 more minutes, tenting with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly. Crust will firm up as the galette cools.

Let galette cool completely in the pan on a rack. Remove to a cutting board. Slice and serve.

Galette will keep covered at room temperature for two days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.