The Best Pumpkin Pie in Carmel Valley*

Carmel Valley San Diego Community | The Best Pumpkin Pie in Carmel ValleyMy mom, Liz, has always been and still is the inspiration for my love of “all things cooking”. She is not a gourmet cook but her food, as basic and uncomplicated as it may be, is always delicious. At eighty nine she still makes the best cream puffs I’ve ever eaten, and of course from scratch. The turkey breast she roasted during my recent stay with her at her home in Connecticut was the best turkey I have ever eaten.

Liz’s pumpkin chiffon pie is one of my all time favorites. When I asked her for the recipe a few years ago she sent me the original 3 X 5 recipe card from her file. At the top of the card it says “Mother, by way of Sally Horne, 1952”. I do remember her friend Sally but I can’t believe I was eight years old when I first had this exquisite dessert.

The best part about the recipe is that it’s very easy to make and all the ingredients are readily available at any grocery store in the community of Carmel Valley San Diego. It’s a completely different take on the gluey, squatty, dark brown around the edges unappetizing pumpkin pie we see everywhere at this time of the year. So here you go…this is a true family recipe. I hope you enjoy it and share it with the rest of the Carmel Valley San Diego community!
*or anywhere else.

1 tablespoon gelatin
¼ cup water
1 ½ cups canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon powdered ginger
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup milk
3 eggs separated plus 1 additional egg white
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 prebaked or ready to bake pie shell (from the freezer section in the grocery store; follow baking instructions provided)
½ cup cold heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sugar
Candy corn for garnish

Soften gelatin in ¼ cup water. Combine next eight ingredients in the top of a double boiler**. Stir egg yolks with a fork or whisk to combine and add to the eight ingredient mixture. Cook, whisking constantly until thick, about 10-12 minutes.

Add gelatin mixture and stir until dissolved. Remove mixture from double boiler and cool until congealed, about 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

Beat 4 egg whites, gradually adding 2 tablespoons sugar until stiff. Put cooled pumpkin mixture into a large bowl and carefully fold in the beaten egg whites. Pour into the pastry shell and chill until set, about 4 hours.

Whip cream and vanilla, gradually adding sugar until cream is thick. Chill until ready to serve.

When serving, garnish each slice with a dollop of whipped cream and the candy corn.

Another option is to eliminate the pie shell and spoon the finished pumpkin mixture into desert glasses and cool until set. Garnish with whipped cream and candy corn. You now have pumpkin mousse.

**a double boiler is simply a sauce pan with high sides with another smaller sauce pan that fits inside it without touching the bottom. A small amount of water in brought to a simmer in the larger pan and the smaller pan with the ingredients is placed inside it. Steam from the simmering water cooks the ingredients in the smaller pan evenly and gently without burning.

You can make your own double boiler using any sauce pan for the simmering water and a Pyrex glass or metal bowl for the ingredients. Bring the water to a simmer, set the bowl over the pan and you’re good to go. Use a pot holder to hold the pan steady during the cooking process.

Dave Clegg | Carmel Valley Community Contributor

Dave Clegg

Dave Clegg is a self-taught amateur chef and recipe author who has always been inspired by his Mom’s great cooking. He decided to create “Carmel Valley Kitchen” as a way to share his passion. Our name says everything about our philosophy of cooking great food. We use only fresh, basic, and readily available ingredients and we use only simple recipes where we stress versatility. As Emeril says “we ain’t builden no rocket ship here”. At CVK you’re introduced to cooking for the beginner/intermediate chef that includes a variety of lesson choices including two options for one-on-one learning and two options for creative cooking.


Carmel Valley San Diego Community | RIDE Cyclery Encinitas

2 Responses to The Best Pumpkin Pie in Carmel Valley*

  1. This sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing — I will do a trial run of this before Thanksgiving!
    Candy Stokes

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