Your Pumpkin Pie Will Be Even Better With Praline

Pumpkin pie is a must-have staple for everyone's Thanksgiving dessert table, offering a simple, creamy filling bursting with fall flavors. While there's nothing wrong with maintaining the pumpkin pie status quo, no one will complain about spicing up a tried-and-true recipe with the addition of praline.

A Southern twist on the classic French candied almond, praline is a sumptuous combination of pecans, sugar, and dairy. Unlike brittle, praline is cooked at lower temperatures, resulting in a gooey, creamy, nut-filled candy. Not only will sugary, buttery pecans complement the baking spices and richness of the pumpkin filling, but they will also give your pumpkin pie a luxurious crunchy, chewy element.

Pumpkins and pecans are both native to North America, and you'll usually find pecan pies right next to their pumpkin counterparts on the dessert table. Consequently, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, praline will only add to the all-American authenticity of pumpkin pie. Furthermore, the ingredients in a pecan pie filling overlap with pecan praline, so you're essentially getting two pies in one with this delicious pumpkin pie upgrade.

How to add praline to pumpkin pie

Praline typically entails a lot of stirring, precise temperatures, and a thin margin for error. However, making praline for pumpkin pie couldn't be easier. You get to bypass the stove-top boiling and sticky saucepans by letting the oven do all of the work. All that's required is blending pecans, sugar, and butter together in a food processor and spreading the paste in a thick, even layer over your pie crust. Then, add the pumpkin pie filling, and throw it all in the oven.

The heat from the oven and the moisture from the pumpkin filling will collectively caramelize the sugar and butter and integrate the crunchy praline into the flakey pie crust. Brown sugar is a richer option than white sugar and pairs especially well with the nuttiness of pecans. For optimal flavor, toast the pecans until fragrant before adding them to the food processor. Pecans are the standard nut for Southern praline recipes, but you can swap them out for any nuts you prefer, such as Walnuts or almonds. You could even try blitzing pepitas for an all-pumpkin praline. The pumpkin filling will conceal that delicious layer of praline, letting your guests stumble upon this mouthwatering surprise with their first bite. They won't be disappointed!