1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar, divided
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped and toasted
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (16-ounce) can pumpkin
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Whipped cream (optional)
How to Make It
Roll 1 piecrust to press out fold lines; cut out leaves with a leaf-shaped cutter. Brush leaves with lightly beaten egg, and place on a baking sheet; set aside.
Fit remaining piecrust into a 9-inch pieplate according to package directions; fold edges under and crimp.
Bake leaves at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Bake piecrust for 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove leaves and piecrust from oven; let cool. Increase oven temperature to 425°.
Combine 1/2 cup light brown sugar, chopped walnuts, butter, and vanilla extract; spread on the bottom of baked piecrust.
Beat pumpkin, cream cheese, 2 eggs, and remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer. Add flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg, beating until blended. Spoon pumpkin mixture over walnut mixture.
Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°, and bake 30 more minutes or until pie is set. Remove pie to a wire rack; cool. Arrange leaves on top of pie. Serve warm or chilled with whipped cream, if desired.
Made this for Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. Really great twist, yet still fulfilling the 'need' for pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. I melted the 3 T of butter before adding the walnuts. I couldn't see how it would work unless I did. I also used low fat cream cheese (because the Pumpkin Pie Cake from this site called for it and I thought this recipe did too). It worked perfectly. I now have a new favorite dessert. Awe-some! I also never use refrigerated pie crusts. Making mine with oil is much (much) better and very simple.
I have made this pie every year since 2002, and every year I am asked to please bring my "special pumpkin pie". Even my sister, who is the master baker in the family, has said best pumpkin pie EVER! It's not only beautiful- it tastes even better than it looks.
I really like this pie. The changes I made were using pecans instead of walnuts-pre-baking the crust for 10 mins instead of 6 and combining the cream cheese and brown sugar first before adding pumpkin. I added the eggs last after all the spices. Texture is firmer than a traditional pumpkin pie, like a cheesecake and I love the praline mixture in the bottom of the crust. I served it chilled with whipped cream.