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.
Gingersnap Crust and a Rum-Spiked Pumpkin Filling
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!
More Delicious Pumpkin Dessert Recipes
- Classic Pumpkin Pie
- Pumpkin Bread
- Pumpkin Biscotti
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping
- No-Churn Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream
Looking for more Thanksgiving pies?
Making Pumpkin Chiffon Pie in Advance
You can make this pie up to 3 days in advance, keeping it chilled in the refrigerator, or several days more if you freeze it. With the freezing option, it's best to do so without the whipped cream topping, adding it once you're ready to serve the pie. You can also prepare the whipped cream a day or two ahead of time, keeping it in a covered bowl in the refrigerator.
Pumpkin Chiffon Pie vs. Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin chiffon pie distinguishes itself from the traditional pumpkin pie that's more commonly found on the Thanksgiving menu in two key ways. For starters, there's the difference in texture: pumpkin chiffon pie, with beaten egg whites that are folded into the custard, is light and airy while pumpkin pie tends to be denser and creamier. Secondly, pumpkin chiffon pie is chilled to set, while pumpkin pie is baked.
Tips for a Perfect Crust
To make a gingersnap crust that offers a nice, crunchy base without becoming overly hard it's important to 1) grind the gingersnap crumbs very finely, 2) press the crust into the pie plate evenly but not overly compacted, and 3) avoid overbaking the crust.
Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree
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 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.
Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
This 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.
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.
You'll need a 9-inch deep-dish (about 1 3/4 inches high) pie plate for this pie. A 10-inch pie dish may also work.
Recipe adapted from the Boston Globe, which got it originally from the granddaughter of Sarah Mazick of Newton, Mass.
2 cups finely ground gingersnap cookie crumbs (from about 10 ounces gingersnaps)
1/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 (0.25-ounce) envelope gelatin (2 1/2 teaspoons)
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 rum, but I and several others think it's a bit much.)
1/4 cup sugar
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (1 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup heavy cream, softly whipped, for topping
Extra crushed gingersnaps, for garnish
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.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes at 325°F. Remove from oven and let cool.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.)
Pour the filling into the crust and refrigerate:
Refrigerate the pie for several hours for the gelatin to set.
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.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 20g||25%|
|Saturated Fat 11g||53%|
|Total Carbohydrate 59g||21%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||9%|
|Total Sugars 36g|
|Vitamin C 2mg||12%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|