I'd been wanting to make this Gingery Pumpkin Caramel Cheese Pie from Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy for a while now. I'd been passing it over because of the amount of dulce de leche it required. I guess I was just too cheap to spend money on 2 cans of dulce de leche. Then I made crock pot dulce de leche last month and had an over abundance of the stuff. What else was I going to use the caramely stuff for? Dulce de leche isn't difficult to be stingy with when you can make it yourself super cheap.
Besides, did you know Sunday was PI day? 3.14...March 14th. You gotta have Pie on pi day, at least you gotta if you are big geeks like Mrblocko and I are. Oh yes...big geeky geeks. That's how we roll.
The crust of this pie is made from butter and crushed up gingersnaps. I used my go to recipe from Pensey's (see here). I only used 2 cups of crushed gingersnaps. The recipe said to use 3 cups. Even with 2 cups of crumbs the crust was very thick and difficult to cut when slicing. Next time I make a gingersnap crust I'll use a 10 inch pie pan or use less crumbs. The thick crust was delicious, but difficult to eat.
I had to swap out frozen winter squash for the canned pumpkin. I had heard word back in November that there was a pumpkin shortage. Back then there were cans and cans of the stuff. I stocked up on pumpkin but have since gone through my stash. Now the only canned pumpkin I could find was $4!! Yikes.
The winter squash tasted fine, but was a bit more watery than the canned stuff. Canned pumpkin is really thick. The only problem with the consistency of the squash was that it took sitting in the freezer overnight for the filling to set up properly. Although, this could have also been because I used Neufchatel Cheese instead of the full fat Cream Cheese.
Mrblocko thought that this was the best pie he ever tasted. Blockette only liked the crust. This didn't surprise me because she is not a fan of cream cheese. I thought it was just ok. I mean it was good, but not my favorite pie ever. I think it was too many different combinations of dessert types. I guess I'm a fan of the less complicated desserts. Our friends who I made this pie for thought it was pretty tasty. I didn't have to twist their arms very hard to leave the rest of the pie with them. I'd make this pie again for Mrblocko since he liked it so much, but only if we had several people to share it with.
Gingery Pumpkin-Caramel Cheese Pie from Stickey, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy
For the crust:
3 cups gingersnaps, crushed into coarse crumbs
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar ( Use more or less according to your taste)
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup toffee bits
2 cups dulce de leche or caramel sauce of your choice, divided. (You may have to soften the dulce de leche to make it “swirlable”. I microwaved mine on 50% power for about 20 seconds.)
In med bowl, whisk cookie crumbs, cinnamon and salt. Add melted butter and mix until well blended. Press mix into an 8/9" pie plate. Bake at 350F for 12 min. Set aside to cool. Beat cream cheese and sugar on med speed til fluffy, 2 min. Add pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla, and beat til completely combined. Mix in toffee bits and swirl in 1 c dulce de leche using knife or offset spatula. Pour filling into pie plate and smooth out. Refrigerate til firm, 4 hrs/overnight. When chilled, spread 2nd c dulce de leche evenly over top of pie. If desired, use another 1/2 c dulce de leche to pipe rosettes or other design on top of pie. Chill til topping firm.