Tina's Pumpkin Pecan Pie

I'm thankful for my Aunt Tina's pies. They're the kind of pies that sticky fingered children would steal out of window sills. This pie is the centerpiece of all of our Thanksgiving celebrations: it's spicy and rich, but not heavy, and has a brown sugar butter pecan crust. It's perfect. The pumpkin filling is light, not overly dense and thick, and the flavor is spicy in that lovely spice box way. If you don't like nuts, your can skip the topping and have a lovely pumpkin pie…but I wouldn't. The topping is my favorite part.

For 1- 9 1/2" unbaked pie crust (it makes a lot of filling)

Note: Be careful if you're making a 9" pie, not to fill it to the very top of the crust. It puffs up a little bit in the oven. So you might have a little extra filling.

3 eggs
1/3 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of brown sugar
2 cups of canned pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup half and half

For the pecan topping:
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup of brown sugar, packed
1 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 450

Beat the eggs and both sugars together until light in color and fluffy (about 3 to 4 minutes if using an electric mixer). Lightly beat in the pumpkin puree and then the spices. Stir in cream and half and half.

Pour into the pie shell and bake at 450 for about 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 and bake for another 45-50 minutes or until filling is just set. Keep an eye on the crust, as it might get too brown. If it's perfectly golden brown but you still have some time left on the filling, cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil to prevent it from over cooking.

Set the pie aside while you get started on the topping.

To make the pecan topping, stir together the ingredients in a medium pan over medium heat, until the butter is melted. Pour on the warm pie. If you haven't covered your crust with aluminum foil yet, do it now as the broiler can burn your crust easily. Put the pie under the broiler for just a minute or so, rotating once, until it the sugar bubbles and the pecans are toasted. Cool the pie completely.

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