If you like sheet pan meals, chances are you'll be into sheet pan pies, which take the time- and effort-saving qualities of those one-pan wonder dinners and transfer them to dessert. Award-winning cookbook author Cathy Barrow's new book Pie Squared gives you 75 slab pie recipes ranging from sweet—like this cloudlike pumpkin custard pie with amaretti cookie crust—to savory. You can even make the whole pie a day in advance, making your holiday feast to-do list just a bit less intimidating.
Pumpkin Chiffon Slab Pie with Amaretti Crust
Excerpted from the book PIE SQUARED: Irresistibly East Sweet & Savory Slab Pies by Cathy Barrow. Copyright © 2018 by Cathy Barrow. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved.
Yield: 12 to 16 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus chilling time
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes, plus chilling time
For the Amaretti Crust:
29 amaretti cookies, crushed (about 2 cups)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
For the Filling:
1 tablespoon (one ¼-ounce packet) powdered unflavored gelatin
¼ cup cool water
One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (1¼ cups)
½ cup packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon allspice
Scant ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
For the Topping:
1½ cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1. Make the crust: Heat the oven to 350°F. If you have one, place a baking stone, baking steel, or inverted baking sheet on the center rack to heat.
2. In a large bowl, combine the amaretti crumbs, melted butter, and salt using a firm spatula and pressing the mixture against the side of the bowl until it is cohesive and the crumbs are thoroughly buttered. Dump the wet crumbs into a 9- by 13-inch pan and press up the sides before filling in along the bottom. Take your time pressing the crust in, using the side of your hand or a metal measuring cup to form a good edge and a smooth base until the crust feels firm to the touch. Slide the pan into the oven (on top of the steel, stone, or baking sheet if using) and bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.
3. Make the filling: In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cool water and let it absorb the water for about 5 minutes (this step is called blooming). Set up an ice bath with a large bowl
filled with ice water. Place a medium saucepan half filled with water on the stove and heat until simmering. In a large heatproof bowl, whisk the pumpkin, brown sugar, egg yolks, cinnamon, vanilla, allspice, cloves, and salt until well combined and no streaks of yellow remain. Place the bowl over the simmering water. Cook the custard to 170°F, stirring with a rubber spatula as it thickens, dries out a bit, and becomes smooth, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat
and stir in the bloomed gelatin until it melts. Place the bowl over the ice bath and whisk as it cools to slightly warmer than room temperature, about 85°F. To keep the custard from setting, remove the bowl from the ice bath while whipping the egg whites.
4. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, whip the egg whites on high until frothy. Add the cream of tartar (which makes the egg whites more stable) and continue whipping until the whites are shiny, the beater leaves a trail, and when lifted, forms medium peaks, another 3 or 4 minutes.
5. Stir one-third of the egg whites into the pumpkin custard until incorporated and the custard is lightened. Add the remaining egg whites and, using a large, flat rubber spatula, gently fold the custard and egg whites together until thoroughly and carefully combined with no large white streaks, while not deflating the egg whites. Gently pour the mixture into the cooled crust, cover, and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours.
6. Make the topping: In the work bowl of a stand mixer, whip the cream, increasing the speed as soft peaks form, until it begins to thicken, adding the powdered sugar one spoonful at a time. Beat until the whisk leaves a trail in the stiffened cream and forms high peaks. Spoon the cream on top of the completely cooled chiffon. Make peaks with the back of a tablespoon, smooth the whipped cream from edge to edge with an offset spatula, or add a dollop to each serving. Refrigerate again for at least 2 hours. The pie is even better if it chills overnight and develops an even stronger autumnal flavor.
Note: This pie depends on uncooked egg whites for its lift, so choose the freshest eggs. If serving children, immune-compromised, or elderly guests, use pasteurized eggs instead.