I face an important conundrum each Thanksgiving. Pumpkin or pecan? This year I’m choosing both. This Hazelnut Pumpkin Pie is two decadent layers: pumpkin pie on the bottom and a pecan-like pie on top, made with hazelnuts to switch things up.
I actually have a much larger decision to make each Thanksgiving. Pumpkin, pecan, chocolate silk, cherry—there are no shortage of pies at my family’s house. We are 100% dessert people, the people who always have room for a little something sweet.
If you’re wondering why cherry pie made the list, it is because of my Uncle Gerry. He is the sole reason why cherry pie appears each year, and I’m pretty sure he’s happy to enjoy the entire pie himself. Anyone else make any not-traditional pies to appease family members? The rest of us cut our pie slices into slivers so we can try multiple types of pie.
This pie, however, eliminates the need for cutting slivers. You’ll most definitely want an entire piece of this Hazelnut Pumpkin Pie.
The crust is pretty straightforward. I make my own all-butter crust in a food processor (here’s the one I have). I find that the combination of cold butter, ice water, and quick pulses keeps the dough from heating up. It also creates a dough where the butter is nice and evenly distributed.
One quick note on the food processor: I pulse the flour and butter together until it reaches marble-sized chunks. You’ll continue to pulse the dough as you add water, so the butter will eventually reach the pea-sized chunks that recipes usually mention. You want those big chunks of butter—they create a super flaky crust!
The pumpkin layer is fairly traditional: pumpkin, spices, an egg, and heavy cream. I bought an 8 ounce container of heavy whipping cream, used 2 tablespoons for the pumpkin layer, and then the rest for whipping into whipped cream for the top of the pie. No waste!
The hazelnut layer is traditional as well: corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, eggs, and cornstarch to hold it all together. I added orange zest for some brightness (it really makes it pop!) and opted for hazelnuts instead of pecans. I just love the flavor of hazelnuts, and they make this pie just a little bit more interesting. I bought Diamond chopped hazelnuts from the baking aisle of my local grocery store. They’re already chopped and there’s no need to mess with roasting hazelnuts, taking off the skin, etc. These are ready to go!
If you own more than one pie plate, chances are that they aren’t the same size. I own pie plates that range from 8½ to 9½ inches. Some are shallow, some are deep. I made this pie in a 9-inch deep dish pie plate from Target. (I have my eye on this one for Christmas!) If yours is smaller or not deep dish, you may want to hold back a little of the filling—the pie will puff up slightly as it bakes.
This Hazelnut Pumpkin Pie was the finishing touch on an entire Italian-inspired Thanksgiving dinner for 4–6. The rest of the recipes can be found here:
Olive Oil & Herb Roasted Turkey Breast
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Olive Oil, Thyme, and Parmesan
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Italian Stovetop Green Beans
Orange Hazelnut Cranberry Sauce
Two-Layer Hazelnut Pumpkin Pie (recipe below)
Hazelnut Pumpkin Pie
Yield 6–8 servings
For the crust:
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, well chilled
- 1¼ cups all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 5–6 tablespoons ice water
For the hazelnut layer:
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon orange zest
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup chopped hazelnuts
For the pumpkin layer:
- 1½ cups canned pumpkin purée
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream (use the rest of the carton to top the pie)
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Pinch of ground cloves
For the whipped cream:
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- To garnish: strips of orange peel
- Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the butter in half lengthwise, then flip it on its side and cut in half lengthwise again to make 4 long sticks. Cut the sticks horizontally into 8 pieces each. Place the butter in the food processor and pulse 10–12 times, or until the butter is in marble-sized chunks.
- Add 4 tablespoons of water and pulse until mixture starts to form a dough. Pinch a handful of dough together to test it—if it holds together, it’s ready. If it falls apart, continue adding water 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing between each addition.
- Place the dough on a 12x12 inch piece of plastic wrap. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten it slightly, and then wrap entirely with the plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove one disk of dough and place on a floured surface. Using a rolling pin dusted with flour, roll the dough into an 11–12 inch circle. I find that rotating the dough 45° after every roll of the rolling pin ensures a circular shaped crust (or thereabouts—it doesn’t have to be perfect).
- Place the dough in a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Trim any additional crust on the edges, leaving ½ inch of dough as an overhang. Roll the extra dough over into the center of the pie to create an edge. Pinch the extra dough lightly with your fingers to help it adhere. Place the pie plate in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
- Place the butter, corn syrup, and ⅔ cup brown sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, place the pumpkin purée, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons heavy cream, ½ cup brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk to combine.
- In another medium-sized bowl, whisk together the 2 eggs and cornstarch thoroughly. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve if there are any lumps. Add the orange zest and ½ cup of the warm corn syrup mixture. Whisk quickly to combine. Add the remaining corn syrup mixture and whisk until completely combined.
- Remove the crust from the refrigerator. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the crust. Smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle the hazelnuts evenly over the top of the pumpkin mixture. Pour the corn syrup mixture evenly over the hazelnuts.
- Place the pie in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Check the pie—if the crust is already golden brown, place a piece of foil over the top of the pie to prevent the crust from burning. Regardless, return the pie to the oven and cook for another 15–20 minutes, or until the center wiggles only slightly when moved. Remove pie from the oven and let it cool completely.
- To serve, place ¾ cup (or the rest of an 8 oz container) of heavy whipping cream in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 1 tablespoon powdered sugar. Beat on medium speed until the cream holds soft peaks.
- Slice pie into 6–8 slices and serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream. Garnish with orange peel if desired.
Tip: Pie plates are all different sizes. This recipe calls for a deep dish pie plate. If your pie plate is smaller, hold back a little of each filling so that it doesn’t overflow.
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