Pumpkin pie will always be a staple for me, but I never tire of adding new little twists on it. One favorite of mine is to make a Pumpkin Pie with Streusel Topping, adding a little bit of extra crunch and sweetness to the spicy custard classic. Just about every pie is better with a bit of streusel crumbled on top and pumpkin pie is no exception!
The recipe starts, of course, with a classic pumpkin pie filling made with plenty of pumpkin pie spice. The streusel mixture is an easy-to-make combination of butter, brown sugar and flour. I added pumpkin pie spice to the streusel to help tie it in with the filling, but butter and sugar are still the primary flavoring elements in the topping.
Since pumpkin pie is fairly liquidy, it doesn’t support the weight of as much streusel as some other pies. If you overload it with streusel, some of it may sink down into the batter. This won’t ruin the pie or make it any less delicious (so don’t worry if it happens to you!!), it will simply make the slices a bit less-than-perfect, as you may see a bit of the crumble within the interior of the pie. To prevent the streusel from sinking in, sprinkle it on in small quantities (not large clumps) and try to spread it as evenly as possible. You will also displace a bit of the filling when you add the topping, so don’t overfill your pie shell.
The combination of flavors and textures in this pie is wonderful. The crumble topping is slightly crisp, so you get a bit of crunch in every bite to contrast with the creamy filling. The topping will start to soften as the pie is stored in the refrigerator, which means that it will be at is very best within a day or so of baking, even though the leftovers will still be tasty after a day or two.
Pumpkin Pie with Streusel Topping
2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup very finely chopped pecans
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, melted
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 – 15-oz. can pumpkin puree (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk (any kind)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 1/2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
2 tbsp very finely chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Make the crust: Combine all crust ingredients into a medium bowl and stir to combine. Mixture should look like coarse, wet sand.
Press into a 9 or 10-inch pie plate and bake for 12-15 minutes, until just beginning to brown.
Set aside to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Make the filling: In a large bowl, beat eggs, pumpkin puree and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the spices, salt, vanilla and the milk.
Pour filling into cooled pie crust.
Make the topping: Whisk together flour, sugar, salt and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl. Mix in melted butter until mixture comes together and resembles coarse, wet sand. Mix in very finely chopped pecans, if using.
Pour filling into prepared and cooled crust (you can also use a store-bought crust) and sprinkle topping evenly over the filling.
Bake for 10 minutes at 400F, then reduce the oven temperature to 350F (without opening the oven door) and bake for 30-35 more minutes, until the pie jiggles only slightly and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool completely before refrigerating and chill before serving.
Makes 1 pie; serves 8-10.