It’s a light dessert that has the traditional pumpkin pie flavors and that is welcomed at the end of a large meal. I make it with a sweet pastry crust that is flavored with orange zest. This is the grated skin of the orange without the white pith. The crust can be made ahead, baked and frozen. You can also make the pie with a simple graham cracker crust. Add some orange zest to it for extra flavor.
The pumpkin mixture is lightened by folding in stiffly beaten egg whites. For safety, I use pasteurized eggs. These are whole eggs that can be found in the egg section of the market. This recipe makes 1 8-inch pie and can be doubled for 2 pies or for one 12-inch pie. Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
Sweet pastry crust (see recipe)
3/4 cup sugar, divided use
2 eggs, separated
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (about 1/2 gelatin envelope)
2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 tablespoon honey
Place 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolks, pumpkin, milk, salt and spices into the top of a double boiler and stir until well blended. Place over boiling water and cook until thickened, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Soak gelatin in cold water for 1 minute; stir into hot pumpkin mixture until dissolved. Cool in refrigerator. Beat egg whites in an electric mixer until stiff; gradually beat in remaining 1/4 cup sugar until mixture stands in stiff peaks. When pumpkin mixture is cool and begins to thicken, fold in the beaten egg whites. Pour mixture into baked pie crust. Refrigerate at least 4 hours to set. Whip cream and honey together until cream is stiff and pipe or dollop onto pie. The pie can be returned to the refrigerator or served.
Sweet Pastry Crust
This sweet dough is a cookie-type of pastry. It is easier to handle than regular pie dough. It can be re-rolled and re-shaped without spoiling the quality and can be frozen raw or after it has been baked in a pie plate.
4 ounces softened butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest from 1 orange
4 egg yolks
2 cups flour
Place butter and sugar in a bowl and cream together. Add the vanilla and orange zest and mix in thoroughly. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, to the mixture and blend until the mixture is smooth.Place the flour on a counter top in a circle leaving the center empty. Add the egg mixture to the center hole and draw the flour into the egg mixture and knead with your hands until a dough is formed. Place in a plastic bag and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and place on a floured surface. Roll out and line the pie plate. Prick the dough with a fork. Place parchment paper or foil in the pie plate and fill it with pie weights, rice or dried beans to weight the pastry down. Bake for 15 minutes. Take out of oven and remove the false filling and paper. Return to the oven and finish baking for 8 to 10 minutes. It should be a light golden color.