Baking · Holiday

The unexpected star

I’m a sucker for Dutch Apple Pie.  I like the crunchy bits on top, the sweet with the cinnamon and the fact it’s that much less pastry to consume.  I’m not a big fan of pie crust and generally abandon the crimped part, noting with smug satisfaction the amount of shortening I am NOT consuming in doing so. 

When I got married, there were a couple of items I didn’t make well, primarily because I didn’t like them.  Those would include breakfast foods like pancakes and waffles, and pies, because of the crusts.  I’m better at it now, thanks in part to my lovely baking/blogging sister who has put up some great recipes and tips.

I wrote about my Thanksgiving dessert idea — small bites with interesting serving conveyances and mentioned I had made pumpkin pie in a regular format.  It turned out to be the “suck it down because it’s so good” dessert of the day.  When I say regular format, I mean in a pie pan with a bottom crust and pumpkin goodness on top of that.  That’s where traditional ends and ooh-la-la begins.  On top of the smooth pumpkin custard, sits a zingy crunchy topping featuring crystallized ginger.  If this were a Batman episode, we’d be saying, “Kazaam!”

My ex-husband would have hated this pie because he’s not a big ginger fan, but if you like a hit of sweet heat, you will love it.  There were no leftovers (we were eating other desserts for several days), and longing looks at the empy pan.

I am making another turkey today (always buy several when they’re cheap just before Thanksgiving), and am going to repeat this masterpiece to accompany.

Look for crystallized ginger in the produce section of your grocer’s.  You’ll probably find it right next to the candied fruit used for making Christmas Cake. 

Ginger Spice Crunchy Pie

Adapted from Taste of Home


  • 1 unbaked 9″ pie shell (from your favorite recipe or store bought)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin – if you use regular pumpkin, decrease the amount of whipping cream and increase baking time slightly.
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger


  • Place pastry in a 9-in. pie plate. Trim pastry to 1/2 in. beyond edge of plate; flute edges.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin, cream, sugars, cinnamon, salt, allspice, nutmeg and cloves. Pour into pastry shell. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes.  If the mixture still seems soupy, increase baking time and cover the pie edges to prevent over-browning.
  • In a small bowl, combine flour and brown sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in walnuts and ginger. Gently sprinkle over filling.
  • Bake 15-25 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 8 servings.

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