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Triple Silken Pumpkin Pie


I’ve been wanting to make this pie ever since I got the amazing baking book Desserts by the Yard by Sherry Yard.  It just looks so incredible and impressive, and I knew I just had to try it, and I love Sherry Yard’s recipes.  I decided to make it for our last dinner group meeting before Thanksgiving as a way to commemorate the holiday coming up next week.  It’s a lot of work, but definitely worth it.  It went over very well with everyone and was a big hit!


The recipe looks a bit daunting, but if you break it up into smaller parts, it’s not that bad.  It does require some prior thinking, and you can even make some of the components ahead of time.  The only hitch in making this was when I was making the pumpkin-caramel layer and the gelatin hardened up when I added it.  I just put it back on the heat, used a small whisk to break it up, and everything was back on track.  The only thing I was not crazy about was the pie dough.  It wasn’t as flaky as I hoped for.  I’m still searching for the perfect pie dough recipe, and next I’m going to try the Cook’s Illustrated version to see how it fares.   So if you’re making this, feel free to use your favorite recipe for pie dough, because it would work just fine.


The three layers of this pie go very well together.  The pumpkin-caramel gives it a nice base and the whipped cream and mousse layers give it such a light, airy texture.  I didn’t have brandy so I used rum in the mousse, which I think was a good substitution.  I’ve found after making the Twofer Pie for TWD (to be posted next week) that rum and pumpkin go really well together.  I added a bit more rum for a slightly more pronounces flavor.  I think my favorite part of the recipe was the mousse layer because of the flavor.  It would be great as a topping for other pumpkin desserts as well.  If you are in need of Thanksgiving dessert ideas, and are up for the task, you should definitely consider making this pie.  It was well worth the effort!


Triple Silken Pumpkin Pie (from Desserts by the Yard by Sherry Yard)

For the Pumpkin Custard layer:

Dough for a single crust pie (recipe follows)

2 tablespoons sugar

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 large egg

½ cup packed dark brown sugar

6 tablespoons plain canned pumpkin (not pie filling)

¼ cup sour cream

6 tablespoons heavy cream

1 tablespoon brandy (I used rum)

For the Whipped Cream layer:

¾ cup heavy cream

½ cup crème fraiche

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons maple sugar

For the Caramel-Pumpkin Mousse Layer

½ cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons water

2 ¼ teaspoons (1 package) powdered gelatin

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice

¾ cup plain canned pumpkin (not pie filling)

3 large egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Whipped cream for garnish (optional)

1.       Roll the dough out to a 16-inch circle, ¼ inch thick; you will need only about two thirds of the pastry.  Freeze the rest for later use.  Press the pastry into the bottom and up the sides of a 9×2 ½-inch springform pan.  The extra dough on the sides will compensate for shrinkage.  Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.  Remove from the freezer and trim away the excess dough from the rim of the pan.  Prebake, following the instructions, until golden brown.  Allow to cool completely on a rack.

2.       Make the pumpkin custard layer: Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

3.       In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, ginger, and cinnamon.  Add the egg and whisk until smooth.  Whisk in the brown sugar, pumpkin,  sour cream, heavy cream, and brandy.  Pour the mixture into the springform pan.  Cover the pan with a sheet of buttered aluminum foil (buttered side down) and bake until the custard is just set, about 1 hour.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.  (The recipe can be prepared to this point up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated).

4.       Make the whipped cream layer: Combine the cream and crème fraiche in a large bowl, and using a hand mixer, beat until it starts to thicken.  Add the sugar and maple sugar and continue beating until stiff.  Spread in an even layer on top of the cooled or chilled pumpkin custard layer and refrigerate.

5.       Make the caramel-pumpkin mousse layer: Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks.  Chill in the refrigeratoruntil ready to use.  Place 2 tablespoons of the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top.  Stir, then let it bloom (soften) while you prepare the caramel.

6.       Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and ginger in a bowl and set aside.  In a heavy saucepan, combine the ¾ cup sugar, the remaining 1 tablespoon water, and the lemon juice and cook over high heat until the mixture turns a deep amber color, at about 335 degrees on a candy thermometer.  This will take 4 to5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

7.       Remove the caramel from the stove and wait until the bubbles subside.  Stir in the brown sugar mixture.  Add the softened gelatin and stir to dissolve.  Whisk in the canned pumpkin and set aside.

8.       Using the hand mixer, beat the egg whites until they foam.  Add the cream of tartar and 1 tablespoon of the remaining sugar and beat.  Continue to beat, adding the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a slow, steady stream.  Beat until the egg whites are stiff and shiny, about 2 minutes.

9.       Lightly warm the caramel-pumpkin mixture by folding in one third of the beaten egg whites, using a whisk, preferably a balloon whisk.  Pour the remaining egg whites over the top and carefully fold them into the pumpkin mixture using a rubber spatula.  Fold in the chilled whipped cream.

10.   Carefully pour the caramel-pumpkin mousse mixture over the whipped cream layer and smooth the top.  Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until set.  (The pie can be made up to a day in advance.).

11.   To serve, gently remove the springform ring from the plate and set the pie on a plate.  Garnish with additional whipped cream if desired.

Pie Crust:

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

About ½ cup ice water

½ teaspoon champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

1.       Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and place it in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes.

2.       To mix with a stand mixer: Sift together the flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the partially frozen butter.  Turn the machine on low and beat for 2 minutes, or until the butter is broken down to the size of walnuts.  Stop the machine, and by hand, pinch flat any large pieces of butter that remain.  In a small bowl, combine the ice water and vinegar.  Turn the mixer on low speed and add the liquid all at once.  Beat just until the dough comes together, about 15 seconds.   The dough should be tacky but not sticky.

3.       Remove the dough from the bowl, divide into 2 equal pieces, and warp each piece in plastic wrap.  Do not squeeze the dough together or overwork.  Chill the dough in the refrigerator at least 1 hour before rolling it out.  (The well-wrapped dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks.  If you are going to freeze the dough, however, it is best to roll out the 2 pieces of dough out into circles, place them between pieces of parchment paper, wrap them airtight in plastic, and freeze.  You can also line the lightly sprayed pie or tart pans with the pie dough, wrap airtight, and freeze).

4.       Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface and line two lightly sprayed 9- or 10-inch pie or tart pans or a 9-inch springform pan.

5.       To blind-bake (prebake) a pie shell: Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

6.       Prick the bottom of the pastry a few times with a fork.  Line the pastry with parchment paper or large coffee filters.  Fill the lined shell to the rim with the dried beans, uncooked rice, or pie weights and gently press the “faux filling” into the corners.  Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350 degrees and bake for another 7 minutes.  (If you are prebaking the dough in a springform pan, increase the amount of weights so that they reach the top of the rim).

7.       Remove from the oven and remove the weights and the liner.  Return to the oven for 10 minutes, until the center turns golden and looks dry.  There should be no sign of moisture.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack.

18 Responses

  1. That’s awesome! I love it.

    My favorite crust is CI’s All-Butter pie crust.

  2. Wow! Sounds great and looks like it would be worth the effort!! YUM!

  3. wow, this looks awesome!

  4. The Dec/Jan WC recipe exchange has been posted.

    Check out my blog for further details and click on the lunchbag image on the righthand sidebar to join.

  5. What a BEAUTIFUL dessert! I LOVE IT!

  6. Wow this looks great! And a challenge that I am willing to try!

  7. Whoa, that’s a hefty pie! Looks great though!

  8. That pumpkin pie looks so smooth, airy and divine! Before TWD, I never knew I would love pumpkins so much.. I made so many batches of pumpkin muffins ever since.

    Definitely try Cook’s illustrated’s pie dough recipe.. it’s amazing! I tried the version without the vodka and it was still the best pie dough ever! I hear the vodka one is just as good if not better. They’re so clever with using just the right amount of shortening so that the crust is flaky without coming off as slimy b/c of the shortening.

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

  9. This looks SO delicious and I’m not even a big pumpkin fan. But silken pumpkin pie is something I can handle!

  10. That looks amazing! I think I may make that tomorrow for Thanksgiving!

  11. This is really unique – I like!

  12. Can I borrow this pie? I promise to give it back! 😉

  13. Mmm I have drooled over this dessert many times when looking through that cookbook! Oddly not many recipes appeal to me in there. Not sure why. Anyway have you tried Dorie’s pie crust? Not the hard shortbread like one but the one that uses shortening? I really like that one.

  14. I start reading rumors everywhere you go, that absolutely nothing in Drag queen Gaga is unique and that she is usually a copycat 😦 I nonetheless love Lady Gaga coZ she is awesome!

  15. […] Dinner & Dessert: Sherry Yard’s Triple Silken Pumpkin Pie […]

  16. […] Dinner & Dessert: Sherry Yard’s Triple Silken Pumpkin Pie […]

  17. Beautiful! Amazing detail! You are exceptionally talented, down to earth, friendly & warm. It’s a pleasure to? watch you & your team create beautiful homes. Thank you for your generosity in sharing your style & design ideas. Love your work. Best wishes to you and your family always.

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