Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton

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

  • 2 cups crumbled ginger snaps
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted

For the filling

  • 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh cooked or canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 whole nutmeg, freshly grated or 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Freshly whipped cream


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.

Cook time: 
makes one 9-inch pie
  • Moving to Harlem with Marcus Samuelsson

    What motivated Marcus Samuelsson to move to Harlem and open Red Rooster, his acclaimed restaurant? He tells The Splendid Table's Melissa Clark that 9/11, his mother, and the Great Migration all played a part. He also discusses the challenge of making fried chicken in the same neighborhood as legendary spots like Sylvia's and Charles' Country Pan Fried Chicken.

Top Recipes

Emeril Lagasse: 'Learn something every day or you're cheating yourself'

Emeril Lagasse, author of Essential Emeril, says he keeps an open-minded approach to food.