For a very special Thanksgiving-themed episode of Throwdown!, Bobby Flay showed down with Michele Albano of Michele's Pies for a Pumpkin Pie bake-off. Even though Albano went the extra mile by using fresh pumpkin puree instead of the less labor-intensive canned version, Flay's molasses and brown sugary Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon Crunch and Bourbon-Maple Whipped Cream won the judges' hearts.
In the spirit of planning ahead for Thanksgiving, I decided to give the winning pie a spin using a recipe adapted from Bobby Flay's Throwdown!. First off, I'll preface this recipe by saying it's not your typical pumpkin pie—the crust is graham cracker, the filling has just as much to do with the gooey pecan pie filling as it does pumpkin, and the toppings are bourbon-spiked whipped cream and a salty-sweet cinnamon oat crunch.
As someone who has always preferred pecan to pumpkin when it comes to Thanksgiving desserts, I have to say, this pie was the best of both worlds. It had the ideal ratio of pumpkin flavor cut with the warmth of brown sugar and molasses. But in all honesty, I'd be happy eating anything topped with that fantastic Bourbon-Maple Whipped Cream and Cinnamon Crunch.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Bobby Flay's Throwdown! to give away this week.
- Cinnamon Crunch
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
- 1/2 cup light muscovado sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, cold
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 3/4 cup dark muscovado sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree
- 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus more for the top
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out and reserved, or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Bourbon-Maple Whipped Cream (recipe follows), for serving
- Bourbon-Maple Whipped Cream
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, very cold
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out and reserved
- 2 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup
- 1 to 2 tablespoons bourbon, to taste
To make the cinnamon crunch, preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Combine the flour, oats, muscovado sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor, and process a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until combined. Pat the mixture evenly into a 4-inch square on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove and let cool. Transfer to a cutting board and chop into small pieces. Keep the oven on.
To make the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and cinnamon in a bowl and mix until combined. Press evenly onto the bottom and sides of a 10-inch pie plate. Brush with the beaten egg. Bake until light golden brown and firm, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
Reduce the oven temperature to 300ºF.
To make the filling, whisk the eggs, egg yolks, both sugars, and the molasses together in a medium bowl. Mix in the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Whisk in the heavy cream, milk, and vanilla seeds or extract. Strain the mixture through a coarse strainer into a bowl. Whisk in the butter.
Place the pie plate on a baking sheet, pour the pumpkin mixture into the shell, and sprinkle additional cinnamon over the top. Bake until the filling is set around edges but the center still jiggles slightly when shaken, 45 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.
Cut the pie into slices and top each with a large dollop of whipped cream and some of the cinnamon crunch.
To make the Bourbon-Maple Whipped Cream, Combine the cream, vanilla seeds, maple syrup, and bourbon in a large chilled bowl, and whip until soft peaks form.