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Bruleed Pumpkin Pie

The filling for this pie is covered with a thin layer of superfine sugar, which turns into a beautiful, brittle sheet of caramel when bruleed, or burned, with a small kitchen blowtorch (available at amazon.com). That step is optional, though -- the pie is terrific without it, too. Note: the total time for this recipe includes making the dough, cooling, and chilling.

  • prep: 40 mins
    total time: 17 hours
  • servings: 8
Photography: Marcus Nilsson

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and halved
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Pumpkin-Seed Piecrust, prebaked
  • 1/4 cup superfine sugar (optional)

Directions

  1. Step 1

    Bring milk, cinnamon, vanilla-bean seeds, peppercorns, cloves, and ginger to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and gently simmer until milk is reduced by half, about 25 minutes. Let mixture cool completely, about 2 hours. Pour through a sieve into a bowl; discard solids. Strained milk can be made ahead and refrigerated up to 2 days.

  2. Step 2

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Beat together eggs in a bowl. Whisk in pumpkin, then granulated sugar and salt. Whisk in strained milk and pour into prebaked piecrust. Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet and cover edges with foil, avoiding custard. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until custard is just set in center, about 25 minutes more. Let cool completely on a wire rack, at least 2 hours, then refrigerate, uncovered, at least 8 hours.

  3. Step 3

    When ready to serve, place 2 tablespoons superfine sugar in a sieve and evenly sift over top of pie (avoid crust). Move a small kitchen blowtorch back and forth across sugar until caramelized. Repeat with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, making a second caramelized layer, and serve immediately.

Source
Martha Stewart Living, November 2013

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Reviews (7)

  • thedallasdiva 3 Dec, 2013

    Made this as written except used the standard refrigerated crust. I think it's a keeper - loved the melding of the spicy flavors. I thought it was a little wet, though, so next time I'll press some of the liquid out of the pumpkin. EVERYONE should have a kitchen torch - it's too much fun!

  • lhstrunk 28 Nov, 2013

    also, i had the same issue with reducing the milk. it was more like an hour. plenty of film but i stirred it once in a while. i really pressed hard on the solids when i strained it. i don't like milk but it smells outrageously good. i can't wait to make the pie. ALSO, i don't have a torch. i'm going to try broiling (with foil over the crust).

  • lhstrunk 28 Nov, 2013

    i'm using a regular ready-made pie crust - the refrigerated kind - instead of the pumpkin seed crust. do i really have to pre-bake it? i usually don't for a pumpkin pie. help?

  • lynneguica 26 Nov, 2013

    i did a dry run of this recipe last week. came out excellent. flaky, nutty crusty, creamy, light filling (pumpkin pie filling often is too dense) and crunchy top. my only recommendation would be to watch the crust when you blind bake it. every oven is different and mine is on the hot side so i had to remove the crust sooner than the time in the recipe. torching is so much fun. wait until everyone is present so you can put on a little show ;-)

  • NanOnCapeCod 26 Nov, 2013

    The evaporation process took longer than 20 minutes, next time I'll use a wide pan. It did work, though, and the milk was much better than something from a can. I didn't worry about the skin forming on the top, other than to stir it in every now and then so, it wouldn't hold the moisture in the milk. Since I was doing this a couple of days ahead of making the pie, and since I love cinnamon and ginger, I rinsed those and put them in the cooked milk before I put in the fridge. Great recipe!

  • Sarah F 17 Nov, 2013

    The pie was delicious. Reducing the milk was a total pain - it kept forming that film on the top and needed constant whisking which is not noted in the recipe. That being said it was silky and lighter than Libbys. The bruleed top was a nice twist. I did not do Martha's crust but used a supermarket one.

  • C2507 9 Nov, 2013

    Why does every recipe--including deserts include a member of the pepper family.
    Just when I thought I was save to eat desserts--they include pepper.
    Leaves little for an allergy sufferer to eat. The fun of potluck gettogethers is lost.