We are in the heart of pumpkin everything season. Are you sick of it yet? Personally I am still loving it. I really didn't get on the seasonal bandwagon until about two weeks ago because it had been so damn hot. But that has all changed and I finally had to turn on my heat this week - so here I am fall-ing the shit out of everything. And nothing says fall like a pumpkin pie. And this year I have a winner - a CHAI SPICED PUMPKIN PIE.
Isn't chai a tea?
Yes, it chai tea is a thing. But chai really refers to the spice blend that is typically mixed with black tea. For this pumpkin pie recipe I am not using the tea part, just the spice part.
How did you come up with this chai spiced pumpkin pie recipe?
Fun fact about me...every fall, I set out to find my favorite pumpkin pie recipe, because I actually don't have one. I like pumpkin pie, and I pretty much have never met a recipe I don't like, but none have been my favorite, so far.
When it came to thinking up something new and exciting this year, chai just jumped right to the front of the line for me. I love the spice blend in tea, and this summer I had a lovely chai ice cream so I knew how good chai can be outside of just as a drink.
Why chai spice is the perfect compliment for pumpkin pie...
So the best pumpkin pie recipe is typically filled with warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. In fact there is an entire spice mixture sold in stores called pumpkin pie spice.
Chai spice mixes (often called chai masala) usually include most of the traditional pumpkin pie spices AND ALSO cardamom, cloves and black pepper. And before you turn away...YES BLACK PEPPER. The black pepper is not at all overpowering, and adds just a little something extra and unexpected. Pumpkin is something that can be both savory and sweet and there is just the right amount of black pepper in chai spice blends to add just a hint of savory. I promise you, this isn't overpowering, it provides balance. You know how one of my biggest pro tips is salt in every dessert - even just a pinch? Well pepper brings a similar balance to sweets, especially this pumpkin pie. It is an undertone and it is super complimentary.
This is the chai spice mix I use, and it less cinnamon and more ginger and cardamom for sure. Cardamom, I found out, is a member of the ginger family, which makes sense as to why it is complimentary to so many desserts.
How to make pumpkin pie.
I mean, it is pretty damn easy. The rest of this recipe is the usual suspects you would find in a pumpkin pie.
As for pie crust, if you want to make it, this is the recipe I use, if you want to buy it, get this one.
Everyone's favorite...pro tips for making the best pumpkin pie.
Don't worry there is only a few.
- Brown the butter. It adds a great depth of flavor and kind of adds a nutty element to the whole pie.
- Don't overdo the spice. I tested this recipe four times before I came up with the perfect amount of chai spice to use. It is strong and you don't want to make the pie to spicy or too savory...it is about balance.
- Don't skip the vanilla. Vanilla is like the ultimate additional compliment to chai.
What do you serve with this? A big huge spoonful of barely sweetened whipped cream will do just fine.
Chai spiced pumpkin pie
- Pie crust of choice pressed into a 9-inch pie plate
- one 15- ounce of canned pumpkin
- 2 tablespoons of butter melted and browned
- ¾ cup of sugar
- 3 teaspoons of chai spice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup of milk try to use whole milk and at a minimum, use 2%, do not use skim it is too watery
- Heat oven to 450 and have a rack in the middle.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer or a wire whisk, beat all the pie filling ingredients together until well blended. It should be thick and look like a rich and velvety custard.
- Pour everything into the pie shell. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 325 and bake for another 40- 45 minutes. The center should be ever so slightly set, and if it is still a bit jiggly THAT IS OK - the custard will continue to cook a bit when you pull it out.
- Cool completely on a rack before serving, to ensure the filling fully sets up.
Chai spice not your thing? Check out my more traditional pumpkin pie recipe.