Spiced Pumpkin Pie with Candied Hazelnuts + Eggnog Cream

• 20 November 2013



Two nights ago, when pressing publish on this post, something happened and I lost virtually everything I'd spent hours creating. It was really upsetting to me, particularly after a seven-week blog hiatus, but I quickly realized that the best thing to do was shut down my computer and call it a night.  Sometimes, that's all we can do, right?  What a blessing it is to have the opportunity to start over the next day.

My original post was written during some lighter moments, so I'd confessed to having this funny anxiety about making homemade pie crust (am I the only one?!), the good times had while "testing" this recipe and the fond memories that these special ingredients--pumpkin, hazelnut and eggnog--evoke this time of year.  But alas, it doesn't feel genuine to try and recreate those words after the fact, so I am just going to go ahead and share with you this delicious, pumpkin pie recipe--one I've thoroughly enjoyed creating in my own kitchen.  And given the upcoming holiday season, I don't want to wait another day!



This pie highlights my favorite autumnal flavors and is even better the next day; so feel free to make it ahead of time and then chill in the fridge.  Oh, and don't forget to save yourself a slice for breakfast the next day.  What?  You've never treated yourself to cold, pumpkin pie for breakfast?  Oh honey, don't deny yourself this experience another year and just go for it (think of me when you take that first bite!).  The smooth, spiced pumpkin filling underneath a delicate ring of candied hazelnuts is about the best thing ever in my book.  Add in a generous dollop of eggnog whipped cream before serving and it's pretty much heaven-on-a-plate.  I try not to think about all the years I've denied myself eggnog whipped cream during the holidays and have vowed to make up for it in the next 37 years of my life! Who knew how easy it was to make?

You'll notice the recipe calls for a frozen pie crust...blasphemous, I know.  But, since it was important to me to keep the recipe super approachable, this is how I created it.  That being said, homemade pie crust is absolutely incredible, so baking this pie in a made-from-scratch-shell will only amplify the goodness.  If you do go to the trouble, be sure to double your recipe and freeze the remaining dough for next time!  You'll be so grateful to save a step in the future.  Enjoy, my friends!



Spiced Pumpkin Pie with Candied Hazelnuts and Eggnog Whipped Cream

Makes 1 pie / 8 servings

15 oz can organic pumpkin pureé
3/4 c. light brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon good sea salt
1/2 c. whole milk
3/4 c. heavy cream
1 deep dish frozen pie crust

Candied Hazelnuts:

2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
pinch good sea salt
1/2 c. hazelnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

METHOD:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Place the pumpkin pureé in a medium bowl.  Add the brown sugar and eggs before whisking until smooth.  Add the spices and salt and then whisk again until thoroughly blended.  Pour in the whole milk and then heavy cream and complete one last cycle of whisking until smooth.

Place a baking sheet on the middle rack of your preheated oven.  Set the frozen pie crust atop the baking sheet and inch it out just a little, so you can pour the pumpkin pie filling directly into the pie crust.  This will assure that you don't spill the filling all over the floor between counter and oven (which is a mess I can attest to!). Bake the pie for 25 minutes.  While the pie is baking, start making the candied hazelnuts.

In a small bowl, sprinkle in all of the spices and the pinch of salt.  Mix well with a spoon. Toss in the chopped hazelnuts and then pour the melted butter over the nuts.  Mix until the hazelnuts are thoroughly coated.  Set aside until the pie has baked for 25 minutes.  Then, open the oven door and inch out the baking sheet again.  Sprinkle the hazelnut mixture around the edges of the pie, creating a pretty ring.  Turn down the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30 minutes (or until jiggly in the very center).

Once the pie is done, take it out of the oven and place it gently on a wire rack to cool.  Once cooled, cover and place in the fridge until you are ready to serve with the eggnog whipped cream.

Eggnog Whipped Cream:

1/2 c. heavy cream
1/3 c. eggnog*
3/4 teaspoon sugar

Chill bowl and whisk attachment in freezer for ten minutes (this step allows the whipped cream to set faster).  Retrieve from the freezer and pour in the cream, eggnog and sugar.  Mix on medium/high until soft peaks form.  Cover and place the bowl of eggnog whipped cream in the fridge to chill until it's time for dessert.  Bon appétit!

* Organic Valley is our grocery store favorite.

All images (except #3 and #6) were taken by my friend Aran Goyoaga, a talented stylist and photographer who writes the beautiful blog, Cannelle et Vanille. Thank you Aran!

The pie slice boxes you see here can be found in my etsy shop, A La Modo.  They make a great Thanksgiving favor :)  

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