Chiffon Pumpkin Pie

A truly special pumpkin pie with a jelled pumpkin and meringue filling and a gingersnap cookie crust.

  • Yield: Makes one deep 9-inch pie.

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 2 cups crushed gingersnaps (several pulses in a food processor)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 6 Tbsp butter, melted

Filling:

  • 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)

Method

Crust:

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).

Filling:

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.

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Comments

  1. Lou

    Our Thanksgiving always includes a similar pumpkin chiffon pie made with sweetened condensed milk, orange juice, spices and a tad of rum in a graham cracker pecan crust. Have never added a whipped cream topping but that sounds like a wonderful addition. Thanks! Lou

  2. scott

    Hello…I made this Thursday night and had a slice on Friday night. I used canned pureed pumpkin instead of fresh, for ease. I would increase some of the spices a little, more nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger! I would do one to two tablespoons of rum instead of a half a cup. Overall though, it was amazing!

  3. scott

    PS: Can anyone tell me how long in advance you can make your whipped cream and add it to, in this case, the pie…? Or do I need to get back in the kitchen when it’s time to serve the dessert to finish it? This question has been nagging me for a long time.

  4. Anonymous

    I made this as well and can’t imagine it ever setting with so little gelatin and so much booze. It wouldn’t even set after being in the deep freeze for about 3 hours. Half a cup of rum and a slice of this will land you with a DUI. I’d have to agree with Scott on the reduction to 2 or 3 tablespoons instead. It was really tasty though.

  5. Elise

    Hi Scott and DUI-man, I agree with you that the pie doesn’t need all that rum and I’ve adjusted the recipe. Personally I don’t tolerate alcohol that well so 2 Tbsp works a lot better for me.

    Regarding the question about whipped cream – I don’t know! We usually whip the cream right before using it. In the case of this pie, we whipped the cream to put on the pie, transported the pie to a friend’s for dinner, had dinner and then had the pie. Probably 2 hours passed between applying the whipped cream and eating the pie. But I applied the whipped cream right after I whipped it.

  6. Dan

    Hi Scott. You can do the whipped cream ahead. Place the whipped cream in a wire strainer and set over a bowl and place in the frig. The water liquid can then drip out. The water is what collapses the cream after setting for any length of time. Old ‘Frugal Gourmet’ Jeff Smith trick I learned back in the day.

  7. Marlene

    When it comes to the egg whites and sugar… you stir in a few spoonfuls of the blended egg white and suger into the pumpin AND fold in the egg white and sugar? Directions only mention stirring and folding the egg and not the sugar, but directions call to mix together first.

    Can you tell I don’t dabble in the kitchen much?

  8. James

    I made the cake with 1/4 cup of rum and it set up great! My only comment would be to drop the ground ginger from the crust. It could be the variety of ginger snap cookies I bought, but the ginger was way too strong in the crust.

  9. g

    Are you sure you want us to eat uncooked eg whites? I have my own chickens for eggs, but most folks don’t and raw eggs are not safe to eat.

  10. Maho

    Hi Elise,

    Could you kindly tell me how much gelatine there is in one envelope (preferably in grams)?

    I live in Japan, and the brand I usually buy comes in a large size bag.

    Thanks in advance.

  11. Kathy

    Is there anything I can use instead of the cinnamon – and possibly the nutmeg and ginger? I am having a guest who has allergies to many spices …. is there a solution?

  12. EDITH

    I made one too many pumpkin chiffon pies (3 total) and would like to know if it can be placed in the freezer and for how long before it dries out. Many thanks!

  13. Coralie

    The House full of English students is back again. Another school year, another group of Housemates… and better…Another THANKSGIVING!!! I gave thanks this year, for finding this great recipe site, thanks Elise, it’s been a year now!
    I have to admit i switched the recipe around a bit this year though… as well as mixing some of the Meringue mix into the Pumpkin Custard, I put the reminder piled up (as you have piled up the cream) and baked the whole thing (in a Pie crust rather than ginger Snaps) in an effort to make a delicious Dairy free Dessert for Thanksgiving (UKStyle) ThankGod for Pumpkins!
    Though I’m not sure You americans know how lucky you are to get canned Pumpkin!!!

    Thanks again! x

  14. Rick

    I made this pie and it was great. The only problem was my crust was a little too hard. I’m not sure whether I crushed the snaps too fine or not fine enough. Any suggestions?

  15. Cynthia

    My crust came out too hard as well. I hope someone responds, but my guess is that I :

    (1) crushed the snaps too much
    (2) pressed it into the bottom to much
    (3) cooked the crust too long

  16. Heather

    Just want to let you know that this year I will be amking this pie again! Thank you so much for a new beloved recipe. This will be my third Thanksgiving to bring this pie to the table and even those that don’t like Pumpkin Pie at all, beg for this. This year I will make one with rum and one without as I am expecting.

  17. Julie

    I wanted to say that when I saw this recipe, I literally said “Oh my god” out loud. I was searching for a gingersnap crust as I lost my grandmother’s recipe and lo, appearing from nowhere is this pie. The exact pie my grandmother makes every Thanksgiving and which is the whole reason my family comes together. The exact pie I was making from the old, handwritten paper on which she copied it from some magazine or newspaper. She dropped the booze a long time ago, and doesn’t use extra ginger in the crust, and it never sets as well as it should, but this pie is the thing that waits for me in heaven. Seriously, for my grandmother, make this pie.

  18. Christine B

    After baking the pumpkin, do I need to drain the pumpkin puree I scoop out? I was concerned it would be too wet if I just scoop and use. Thanks!

    You shouldn’t need to. You will need some of that moisture to get a nice purée. ~Elise

  19. Christine B

    I screwed this recipe up so many ways and it still came out quite good! Although, one screw up was that I added about twice as much pumpkin (I think) and ended up with enough filling for two pies. I left it in the fridge, went home for the holiday, and just realized last night it’s still there, one week later as of today. One – can I cook it like waffles or pancakes? I’m not sure if it’s still good (smells good and looks darker, but the same), but I HATE throwing it all away. Any suggestions on use?

  20. Carmen

    Hi Elise,

    Question: is there a good vegetarian substitute I can use for the gelatin? Thanx in advance!

    Seaweed-based agar agar is sometimes used as a substitute for gelatin, but I don’t know how you would actually make the substitution in this case because I have not cooked with it. ~Elise

  21. Mary

    Hi, I LOVE this pie, but I can’t get it to set to save my life. I can deal with the crust being too hard, but the setting is a problem. What if I increase the amount of gelatin? How much more should I add? I use 1/4 cup of rum.

    Hmm, I don’t know why it isn’t setting for you. You might try decreasing the amount of rum to 2 Tbsp or increasing the amount of gelatin. ~Elise

  22. Becky

    Just wanted to let you know that I made this for our Fall Fest Great Pie Bake-Off at church, and placed third. Even better than that though was listening to my husband as he ate it – he must have said “oh!” and “mmm!” 3 or 4 times in the first bite as the different flavors hit him. It was the only pie he wanted a second piece of!

    I too, had the problem of the crust turning out too hard, but I think I baked it too long, as I was waiting to see it “golden up” a touch. The directions don’t mention to puree the pumpkin after scooping it out, which I thought was unusual, so I smashed it with a fork before adding it, but ended up pureeing it after mixing it.

    I personally don’t like the taste of alcohol, so maybe next time I’ll put in less or “cook” it in the pot before warming the other ingredients. Or make one with, and one without, as I know the alcohol provided one of the “oh!”s that my hubby had! :)

    Thanks for another great-tasting pie!

  23. Mrs. Panda

    Thank you so much you saved Thanksgiving. This is my second Thanksgiving and my Daughters first. I wanted it to be extra special because I have so many quests this year. I found another recipe that was similar but called for 1 cup brandy it was terrible!! I really wanted pumpkin pie and was nearly going to give up when I stumbled onto your site. Your pie looks and smells great. I know it will be a hit!!! Can’t wait to pass this down to my little one

  24. Carolly

    My crust came out too hard also. I think it’s the ginger snaps…Nabisco. They were rock hard out of the box.

  25. David

    After recently making a pie with a ginger snap crust that tasted great but was too dense and hard to easily cut or chew, I found this webpage with the discussion about it. I experimented by remaking the same pie with a shorter prebake time and it came out perfectly. My mistake with the first pie was prebaking 10-15 minutes until the crust began to brown slightly and had firmed up for filling. It seemed correct after prebaking but made the final crust too dense.

    What worked for me on the second pie was grinding Nabisco Ginger Snaps to a fine powder in a food processor (for a 9″ pie: about 40, which is about 3/4 of a 1 lb. box), mixing in 1 Tb of melted butter per 7 cookies used, and prebaking EXACTLY 8 minutes in a preheated 325 F oven. Allow the crust and pan to cool to room temperature before filling. The prebaked crust will still be fragile, so fill gently. I then finish-baked the filled pie for 40 minutes at 350 F, but my fill recipe was different than this one. The crust tasted great AND the texture was perfect, IMO.

    By the way, I’ve also found through trial and error that I prefer Nabisco Ginger Snaps for these crusts. Archway Reduced Fat is a passable substitute, but Salerno Ginger Snaps make a crust that tastes too bland to me, so I avoid those. Some grocery stores run out of Nabisco Ginger Snaps in November and December!

  26. Suzy_Q

    In response to the spice question: ALlSPICE! That is the “secret” ingredient in my grandmothers famous Pumpkn Chiffon Pie recipe that sets it apart from the average P.C.P. recipe. It is divine. You can find the recipe @ Food.com. Its called “Grandma Joans Pumpkin Chiffon Pie”.
    In regards to the agar/gelatin substitute question, I have made my grandmothers recipe several times using agar very successfully when I was vegetarian. You can find this recipe as well on Food.com if you search Vegetarian Pumpkin Chiffon Pie (Gelatin free). It’s the vegetarian version of my grandmothers recipe.

  27. Beth

    I made this pie for Thanksgiving. It was delicious. I found pasturized (real) egg whites at the grocery store (near the egg beaters.) I have a question though…can I freeze the pie?

    I wanted to make one for Christmas Eve dinner. I thought if I could freeze it , I could add the whip cream topping after it is defrosted. I am concerned about texture if I freeze it.

    Great question. I don’t know, I haven’t tried freezing it. If you do, please let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise