And also. We are going on a cruise on Thursday. Did I mention that?
We’re actually celebrating Thanksgiving on Wednesday with my family before we leave for our trip, but I’ve been making Thanksgivingy things for over a week now for various catering gigs, cooking class, etc. Tis the season!
I’m absolutely wiped out, and the thought of this pie on Wednesday is keeping me going. It’s an old family recipe (my mom’s recipe card was written by my great grandmother), and I can’t remember a Thanksgiving without it. It’s FLUFFY pumpkin pie with egg whites and spices and a graham crust, which I love. I make some modifications to the recipe to ensure that the egg whites stay stiff AND to healthen up the crust. No butter! No sugar! It’s legit.
Let’s grab our stuff! What I love about this pie is that it takes less than an hour start to finish to make, then it just needs to chill for a few hours. You can make it today, and it’ll be perfect for Thursday! Love make-ahead stuff, especially when it comes to baking and you do need to pay a little bit more attention. For the crust, there is an option to use applesauce OR melted butter to moisten the graham cracker crumbs. This is one time where I swear that you can’t tell a difference, so I sub applesauce, which makes this a health food. You’re welcome. Then for the filling we use eggs, pumpkin, sugar, milk, water + gelatin, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Oh! The recipe calls for ginger. I read it. Got out nutmeg. Used it. No biggie. You could also use 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice for the ginger/cinnamon if you have that on hand. Whatever you like!
So basically what happens is this. We make the crust, then we chill that. While the crust chills, we make the pumpkin mixture, then SEPARATELY we make the egg white mixture, then those two get combined and dumped into the pie crust. The pumpkin mixture cooks on the stovetop for 5 minutes, but other than that this is NO BAKE, which is the bomb diggity.
Then, we separate the egg whites and yolks. Whites in the bowl of a mixer (or any bowl if you’re using a handheld mixer). Crack the egg, then kind of use the shell halves to coax the yolk back and forth as the white separates and falls into a bowl.
Stir the mixture all together, THEN turn the heat on the stove to medium-high, and let the mixture gently heat through. Once the mixture is nearly boiling, stir constantly for 5 minutes, then add in the gelatin and turn off the heat. It’s important to stir constantly so that the eggs thicken the mixture but don’t scramble. Scrambled egg pie isn’t something that folks are often grateful for.
Now, onto the egg whites! The gelatin in the pumpkin mixture helps firm up the pie, and the egg whites folded in right at the end keep things fluffy and light. Start to beat the egg whites at a high speed for about 5 minutes until they get super duper white and fluffy and soft peaks form. THEN, with the mixer still running, add the vanilla and slowly pour in the sugar.
So now we have our pie crust chilling, the pumpkin mixture cooling in a bowl, and the fluffy egg whites. Let’s perform the marriage. Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the pumpkin mixture, and VERY gently stir it together. We want to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.
- FOR THE CRUST
- 1 1/4 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup apple sauce (one individual container)
- FOR THE FILLING
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- 1 1/4 cups unsweetened pumpkin puree
- 3 eggs, yolks and whites divided
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- For the crust, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, and press the crust mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate, pressing the crumbs up the side of the plate. Chill until the crust is firm, about 30 minutes, while you make the filling.
- Pour the water into a bowl, and sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Allow the gelatin to soften in the water for about 5 minutes. Combine the pumpkin, egg yolks, 1/2 cup of sugar, milk, salt, ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon in a saucepan, and mix until smooth. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat until it almost reaches a simmer, and cook until thickened, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes; stir in the gelatin and water until the gelatin is dissolved. Remove the mixture from the heat.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until they form soft peaks; gradually beat in 1/2 cup of sugar and the vanilla extract until the mixture is glossy. Lightly fold the egg whites into the pumpkin mixture, keeping as much air in the mixture as possible. Scoop the pumpkin mixture into the graham cracker crust. Chill several hours or overnight.