Pumpkin Pie With Hazelnuts


After I moved to New York, I still visited my parents in France regularly, and my mother remained my key supplier. I always had a big bag of hazelnuts to take back home to New York. One year, I was preparing the Thanksgiving meal and had a wonderful recipe for pumpkin pie requiring a base of pecans. I didn’t have any and decided to substitute my fresh hazelnuts. To this day, Edward, who loves pumpkin pie, claims this is the best he’s ever had. (Another lesson in the pleasures of serendipity.)


Pie crust:
2/3 cup unsifted flour
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons chilled butter
1 1/2 tablespoons ice cold water

1/3 cup ground hazelnuts
1/4 cup granulated brown sugar
2 tablespoons softened butter
2 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
1 cup unsweetened canned pumpkin pureé (organic, natural preferred)
1 tablespoon flour
2/3 cup granulated brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream

Yield: 10 servings


Put the flour, pinch of salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Cut the chilled butter into small pieces and add to the bowl. Also add the water and process for 15 seconds. If the dough is too dry, add more water by droplets. The dough should just hold together. Do not knead. Wrap the dough in waxed paper and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the pastry and fit into a 9-inch pie plate, 2 inches deep. Prick the pastry with a fork all over the bottom. Line the pie plate with aluminum foil. Add pie weights or dried beans to weigh down the dough, and bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from the oven and discard foil and beans. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. Prepare the filling by combining hazelnuts, 1/4 cup granulated brown sugar, and butter. Work into a paste and spread with the back of a fork or rubber spatula into the partially cooked pastry shell. Bake for 10 minutes. Mix together the eggs, egg yolk, pumpkin pureé, flour, 2/3 cup granulated brown sugar, spices, salt and heavy cream. Pour into the pastry shell. Turn the oven temperature down to 325 degrees and bake the pie for 45 minutes. Serve at room temperature or cold. Optional: Serve with unsweetened whipped cream (1 cup for the entire pie) on the side. Note: The pie will keep for a few days in the refrigerator. Always take out 15 minutes before serving.