PUMPKIN PECAN CHEESECAKE PIE
Flaky Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, chilled
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch chunks and frozen
1/4 cup lard or vegetable shortening, frozen
6 to 8 tablespoons ice-cold water
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pumpkin Pie Layer
2 cups unsweetened fresh cooked or canned pumpkin (If using canned, strain in a fine mesh sieve for several hours to overnight, covered, in the fridge)
1 1/4 cups heavy cream or evaporated milk,
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Pecan Pie Crunch Topping
1 1/4 cup mix of whole and coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons light or dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons melted butter
Place the flour and salt in a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade and pulse on and off until combined. Scatter the butter pieces and the shortening, in large chunks, over the flour mixture. Pulse the machine on and off until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 6 tablespoons of the ice water and process until the mixture just starts to come together. If the dough seems dry, add the remaining 2 tablespoons water as necessary. Do not allow the dough to form a ball on the blade, or the resulting crust will be tough! You want a raggedy mess of crumbly dough, with lumps of butter showing.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface, divide it in half, and shape each half into a disk – gently pressing each raggedy mess together, (DO NOT press into each disk or try to squeeze it together so the dough is uniform – it will come together in the refrigerator). Wrap the disks separately in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. You will only need one disk for this recipe, so you can freeze the other disk for later use.
Lightly flour a large work surface. Allow the dough to soften at room temperature just until it is pliable (about 10 minutes). Place 1 disk on the floured surface and sprinkle some flour over it. Roll the dough from the center out in every direction, flouring the work surface as necessary to prevent sticking. You want a round of dough that’s about 1/4 to 1/8 inch and about 3 inches greater in diameter than the pie pan/plate you are using.
Transfer the crust to a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan (if you don’t use a deep-dish pan, there will be some filling left over) by rolling it loosely around the rolling pin and unrolling it carefully over the pan. Press the dough first into the bottom of the pan and then against the sides. Patch any holes or cracks with dough scraps. Trim the edges of the dough with scissors, leaving about 3/4 inch of overhang. Fold overhang over and crimp as you please. Place shell in the freezer and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
When oven temperature is at 400 F, remove the pie shell from the freezer and line the pie crust with a large sheet of lightly buttered aluminum foil, buttered side down, covering the edge of the crust so that it doesn’t get too brown. Fill the lined crust with pie weights, dried beans, or raw rice. Bake the pie crust for 15 minutes. Remove the weights and foil. Prick the bottom of the crust well with a fork and bake the crust for another 7 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to turn golden, but the crust is not fully baked. Cool the pie crust on a wire rack while you make the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
MAKE THE FILLING:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in 1/4 cup sugar, then add vanilla and 1 egg. Beat mixture until smooth.
Pour the cream cheese mixture into the bottom of the par baked pie shell, spread evenly, then freeze for about 15 -20 minutes.
In the mean time, in a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, heavy cream, 2 lightly beaten eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and salt. Mix thoroughly until uniform.
Remove the pie shell with cream cheese from the freezer and pour the pumpkin mixture on top of it. Cover edges of crust with aluminum foil to prevent excess browning.
Bake in 350 degree F oven for about 60 to 75 minutes (It really depends on your oven. In one oven I used, it took 75 minutes, in another, 60 – so keep checking for it to be sturdy, but still a tad jiggly in the middle).
When pie is in the oven for about 40-45 minutes, combine all the ingredients for the pecan pie topping. Set aside.
After pie has been in oven for 50 – 60 minutes, remove from the oven and remove silver foil around edges of crust. Sprinkle pecan pie topping evenly over top – the pumpkin pie layer will sink a bit because the pecan goo is heavy, do not worry! Place back in the oven and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and the pecan pie topping is bubbly. Let cool at room temperature, then refrigerate for several hours before serving.
Drizzle with melted chocolate or chocolate ganache for extra decadence!