1cupcold heavy whipping cream (ultra-pasteurized works best, such as Organic Valley)
1-2teaspoonsgranulated sugar or maple syrup (to taste)
1/2teaspoonvanilla paste or extract
freshly grated nutmeg, toasted pecans, and maple syrup, for garnish
Make the crust:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Butter a 9-inch pie pan (preferably metal) or use a 9-inch loose-bottom tart pan.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the pecans, oats, and sweet rice flour with the tapioca starch, brown sugar and salt. Process until the pecans are finely ground, 30-60 seconds; the mixture will begin to clump together slightly. Scatter the butter pieces over the top and drizzle with the vanilla extract. Process until the mixture comes together in large, streusel-like clumps and the butter is incorporated, 20-30 seconds or so, pulsing near the end so that the mixture doesn’t get overworked. If the mixture fails to come together, add a teaspoon or two more butter until it does.
Dump about half of the crumbs into the buttered pie pan and press the dough evenly into the sides of the pan. Add the remaining crumbs and press them evenly into the bottom of the pan, keeping the edges square. (It usually takes me about 5 minutes to make it look pretty.) Freeze the crust until firm, 15–30 minutes (or refrigerate if using a glass pie pan).
Place the pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until puffed and golden, 18-25 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and, while it’s still hot, press the sides and bottom firmly with the back of a spoon; this will help it hold together when cool. Set aside while you make the filling.
Make the filling:
In a large saucepan, whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, allspice, and salt until combined. Whisk in the milk, cream, pumpkin puree, vanilla, and ginger.
Place the pot over medium heat and gradually bring to a boil, whisking constantly and making sure to scrape the bottom and corners of the pans with the whisk. Occasionally switch to a flexible heatproof silicone spatula and scrape the corners of the pan well. If the mixture starts to look curdled, don’t worry – it’s just the acidic ingredients (brown sugar and ginger) going to work on the proteins in the dairy. Whisk like mad and the pudding will come back together, no problem.
Once the mixture comes to a boil, continue cooking and whisking for 2 minutes (set a timer). You’ll have to stop whisking for a few seconds to verify that the pudding is boiling, which you’ll know by the big, slow bubbles that pop gloopily. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. The pudding should be the consistency of creamy yogurt.
Strain the hot pudding through a mesh strainer and into a large bowl or measuring pitcher, working the pudding through with the spatula. Pour the pudding into the baked crust and refrigerate the pie until very firm, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day. You can cover the pudding with a piece of plastic wrap pressed directly onto the pudding if you like; personally this grosses me out, so I just chill it uncovered.
Whip the cream:
Combine the cream, sugar or maple, and vanilla in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment (or use a large bowl and an electric beater or balloon whisk). Whip the cream on high speed until it just holds firm peaks. If you accidentally overwhip the cream and it starts to curdle, you can fold a big splash of cream into it until it smooths out again. We want the cream firm enough to hold its shape over the pie. Spread the whipped cream over the chilled pie. Optionally chill for 30 minutes to firm the cream or up to several hours.
Just before serving, decorate the pie with pecans and a drizzle of maple syrup if you like. Slice into wedges and serve. A small offset spatula is a great tool for getting slices of pie out of the pan. The pie is best within the first 2 days of baking but extra pie will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 4 days.
Ultra-pasteurized milk and cream will make the smoothest custard and cream that doesn’t weep; I prefer Organic Valley brand.I vastly prefer the taste of homemade winter squash puree here rather than canned. To make your own, halve a medium-sized butternut squash and leave the seeds in for now (they’re easier to remove after baking). Place the squash cut-side down on a lightly oiled, rimmed baking sheet and roast at 400ºF until very tender, 30-45 minutes. Let cool, remove and discard the seeds, and puree smooth in a food processor. You’ll have enough for 2 or 3 pies. The puree can be frozen for up to 6 months.Make ahead: The crust can be wrapped well and frozen, baked or unbaked, for up to several weeks. The pie can be assembled and refrigerated 1 day ahead. The whipped cream can be made up to 1 day ahead; store it separately in a container and rewhip if needed before garnishing the pie. Just before serving, sprinkle with the pecans, nutmeg, and maple, if using.Nutritional values are based on one of ten servings.