Recipes Desserts Desserts By Type Pies

Chiffon Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie lovers, take note! This Pumpkin Chiffon Pie has a gingersnap crust and a light, pudding-like filling. It's a fun and elegant riff on the classic pie, and sure to become a favorite.

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
Elise Bauer

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.

What's A Chiffon Pie

Have you ever had a chiffon pie? They first made an appearance in the 1920s. They are called "chiffon" because of how light and airy they are. Typically they involve folding beaten egg whites or meringue into a custard base that has been stabilized with gelatin. Then the pie is chilled until firm.

Rum + Gingersnap Crust for Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

This Pumpkin Chiffon Pie recipe is adapted from one my friend Heidi pulled from the Boston Globe many years ago. The original recipe called for including a half cup of rum! Needless to say, that made a pie a bit too boozy to be family-friendly.

For this recipe, I'm using only two tablespoons of rum, for flavor, which you could certainly omit if you wanted to.

The pie has a gingersnap crust and a classic pumpkin pie custard filling with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger spices, that has been lightened up with egg whites that have been whipped to stiff peaks. It's topped with whipped cream and crushed gingersnaps.

As they say in New England, it's wicked good!

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie with whipped cream
Elise Bauer

A Note on Using Raw Egg Whites

Note that this classic chiffon recipe requires using beaten raw egg whites. Many people avoid eating raw eggs, especially those who are very young, old, or have compromised immune systems.

If eating raw eggs gives you pause, use pasteurized egg whites. If you buy egg whites in a carton at the grocery store, they will have been pasteurized.

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Chiffon Pumpkin Pie

Total Time 0 mins
Yield 1 pie

Use a food processor to finely grind the gingersnap cookies, or put in a large freezer bag and roll over several times with a rolling pin.

If you want to make pumpkin purée from scratch, instead of using a can, 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, and run through a food processor or blender to purée. Freeze whatever you don't use for future use.

You'll need a 9-inch deep-dish (about 1 3/4 inch high) pie plate for this pie. A 10-inch pie dish may also work.

Ingredients

  • Crust:
  • 2 cups finely ground gingersnap cookie crumbs (from about 10 ounces of gingersnaps)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons 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
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs, separated (or 3 egg yolks and enough egg white substitute for 3 egg whites)
  • 2 tablespoons 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
  • 1 3/4 cups pumpkin purée (one 15-ounce can of pumpkin purée)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, softly whipped (for topping)
  • Extra crushed gingersnaps (for garnish)

Method

  1. Pre-bake the 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, and butter. Press the mixture into the pie plate with the back of a spoon or metal measuring cup, making the top edge even all around.

    pumpkin pie crust dry ingredients
    Elise Bauer
    making pie crust for pumpkin chiffon pie
    Elise Bauer

    Bake the crust for 10 minutes at 325°F. Remove from oven and let cool.

  2. Make the custard base:

    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 just begins to thicken, then immediately remove it from the heat.

    making custard for pumpkin chiffon pie
    Elise Bauer

    Do not let it boil! If the mixture comes close to boiling the egg yolks will curdle. (If this happens strain the mixture through a sieve or purée in a blender.)

    Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool.

  3. Add pumpkin purée and rum, then refrigerate:

    Add the pumpkin purée and the rum. Refrigerate the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it thickens enough to form mounds.

    adding pumpkin puree to mix
    Elise Bauer
    mixed and refrigerated pumpkin chiffon pie batter
    Elise Bauer
  4. Beat egg whites and fold into filling mixture:

    In an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and granulated sugar until they form stiff peaks. Stir a few spoonfuls of the egg whites into the pumpkin mixture, then fold in the remaining whites.

    folding egg whites in pumpkin chiffon pie mixture
    Elise Bauer
    pumpkin chiffon pie mixed and ready
    Elise Bauer

    (If you are concerned about eating raw egg whites, use pasteurized egg whites, an egg white substitute, or dried egg whites, that you can find in the grocery store.)

  5. Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Refrigerate for several hours:

    Refrigerate the pie for several hours for the gelatin to set.

    poured pumpkin chiffon pie mix into cooled crust
    Elise Bauer
  6. Top with whipped cream and gingersnap crumbs:

    Just before serving, spoon the whipped cream onto the filling and sprinkle with crushed gingersnaps. Cut the pie into wedges to serve.

    chiffon pumpkin pie in homemade crust with whipped cream
    Elise Bauer

Recipe adapted from the Boston Globe, which got it originally from the granddaughter of Sarah Mazick of Newton, Mass.

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie served with whipped cream
Elise Bauer