Even people who aren’t big pumpkin pie fans will like this genteel version. Light, delicate, and sweet, it is a recipe from a kinder, gentler time. Its very name—“chiffon”—evokes a sheer and floaty fabric, a long way from today’s sturdy Spandex. Even after a hearty holiday meal, we find there’s always room for a small slice of this lovely pie.
For the crust
For the filling
For the crust, preheat the oven to 350°. Put the crumbled cookies into a large resealable plastic bag and seal, pressing out the air. Roll back and forth over the bag with a rolling pin until the cookies are ground into fine crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a large mixing bowl and stir in the sugar and cinnamon. Drizzle the melted butter over the crumbs and stir to combine. Pat the mixture evenly into a 9-inch pie pan and bake for 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
For the filling, soak the gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water. Put the egg yolks, ¼ cup of the sugar, the pumpkin, milk, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring until thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the softened gelatin, then transfer to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool.
Beat the reserved egg whites in a large mixing bowl on medium speed until foamy. Continue beating, gradually adding the remaining 1/2 cup sugar until egg whites are thick, glossy, and stiff. Fold the whites into the filling and pour into the baked pie crust. Chill until set, about 2 hours. Serve with freshly whipped cream, if you like.
Canal House Cooks Every Day by Hamilton & Hirsheimer, Andrews McMeel 2012.
Bonnie Benwick translates chef recipes for the home cook in the Washington Post's Plate Lab column. She tells Melissa Clark about some of the challenges you'll face when attempting a restaurant meal in your own kitchen.