I promise to not do any more caramel after this but I had to give you this recipe in time for you Thanksgiving cooks.
This pie has a great way of making caramel that I think you "classroom scientific" type cooks will find fun. It involves smoking sugar in a pan & other such questionable behavior. But all in all quite interesting. Remember when they'd tell you that white sugar was brown sugar burnt? Well, caramel, apparently is white sugar burnt....and, gosh darn it.....somehow it's brown again. So, we're all good!
And the result is of course fantastic. The caramel will give your pie a really rich dark color (if you make your caramel right). And served at room temp with ice-cream. It was fantissimo! I'd say it's probably for a more grown up audience, esp if you let the caramel darken enough. I served it to my grandparents & was slightly embarrassed when Miss 2# announced, "Is that Rum? I knew I recognized the taste". heh!!
I've left the recipe in it's entirety as it's something you want to read through before you start.
You can also find my pie crust recipe here. Have fun!! And lemmie know what you're making for Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to my unique Thanksgiving & contemplating what to make that won't involve baking anything other than the turkey in the last 4 hours before dinner. Any ideas?
Caramel Pumpkin Pie
1 9 inch single pie crust Partially baked & cooled
1 c sugar
3/4 c heavy cream
2 tbsp dark rum or cognac
2 tbsp unsalted butter cut into 4 pieces
1 c pumpkin puree
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch of nutmeg and allspice
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Center rack in oven & preheat the oven to 350 f (175 c)
Sprinkley 1/2 c sugar evenly over the bottom of a large nonstick skillet. Place the skillet over medium heat & staying close cook until the sugar melts & starts to color. Once you see a little color gently swirl till it turns deep amber -- almost mahogany. The sugar will bubble up & foam & start to smoke. It's very dramatic & might make you think you've gone too far, but you want a dark (though not burned black) color; the darker the sugar the fuller the flavor. When the bubble s have gone from foamy to big & fat, you will probably have reached the right color. To check, drop a bit of the caramelized sugar on a white plate.
Lower the heat to medium, stand back & pour the cream into the skillet. The sugar will bubble & hiss &, if the cream was cold may even clump. Just continue to cook, stirring, and it will even out. Add the rum & butter & cook just until the caramel is smooth. Pour the caramel into a heatproof bowl or pitcher & cool for about 15 min.
Working with a whisk in a large bowl, beat the pumpkin to break it up & smooth it. Add the remaining 1/2 c of sugar & beat to blend. Whisk in the spices, salt, vanilla & eggs. beating until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the caramel. Rap the bowl against the counter a few times to de-bubble the filling then pour into the crust.
Bake for 45-50 min, or until the filling is puffed and set -- tap the pan gently and the filling won't giggle. A think knife inserted into the center of the pie will come out clean. It will also leave a gash in the filling but you'll be covering it with whipped cream.
Trasfer the pie to a rack & cool to room temp, or cool & refrigereate. When you are ready to serve. Spread the lightly whipped cream over the top of the pie.