If you are looking for a special pie for the holidays, this is it – a light pumpkin pie with beaten egg whites folded into the pumpkin custard, spiked with rum, set in a gingersnap cookie crust, and covered with whipped cream. The recipe comes from my friend Heidi who pulled it from the Boston Globe a few years ago. And as they say in New England, it’s wicked good.
- 2 cups crushed gingersnaps (several pulses in a food processor)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 6 Tbsp butter, melted
- 1 envelope gelatin
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 eggs, separated (or 3 egg yolks and enough egg white substitute for 3 egg whites)
- 2 Tbsp rum (note original recipe called for 1/2 cup of rum, but I and several others think it's a bit much)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- Purée made from 1/2 of one medium sugar pumpkin* (1 3/4 cups)
- 1 cup heavy cream, softly whipped (for topping)
- Extra crushed gingersnaps (for garnish)
Set the oven at 325°F. Have on hand a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Butter it lightly.
In a bowl, combine the crushed gingersnaps, sugar, ginger, and butter. Press the mixture into the pie plate with the back of a spoon, making the top edge even all around. Bake the crust for 8-15 minutes, until it is lightly browned (baking time depends on the oven and on the type of pie dish you are using - a ceramic dish will take longer because it takes longer to heat up).
In a heavy-based saucepan, combine the gelatin, brown sugar, salt, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, milk, and egg yolks. Stir thoroughly. Set the pan over medium heat and cook gently, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly. Do not let it boil!
Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool. Add the pumpkin purée and the rum. Refrigerate the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it thickens enough to form mounds.
In an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and granulated sugar until the form stiff peaks. Stir a few spoonfuls of the egg whites into the pumpkin mixture, then fold in the remaining whites. (If you are concerned about eating raw egg whites, use egg white substitute, dried egg whites, that you can find in the grocery store.)
Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Refrigerate for several hours.
Just before serving, spoon the whipped cream onto the filling and garnish with crushed ginger snaps. Cut the pie into wedges.
*To make pumpkin purée, cut a sugar pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, lie face down on a tin-foil lined baking pan. Bake at 350°F until soft, about 45 min to an hour. Cool, scoop out the flesh. Freeze whatever you don't use for future use.