Thanksgiving Dessert Reimagined: Barleywine Pumpkin Pie

Cooking with Beer by | Nov 2012 | Issue #70

Photos by Sean Z. Paxton

What would Thanksgiving be without pumpkin pie? This year, I wanted to make a special pumpkin pie, one with lots of flavor, showcasing the pumpkin while also highlighting the fall spices. Here, a bourbon pie crust adds complexity. Mixing crème fraîche with an English-style Barleywine that has notes of caramel and hops adds a touch of sweet and sour to the pumpkin, and builds a delicious pie filling.

To top this recipe off, a Sierra Nevada Bigfoot maple and malt caramel sauce sweetens a whipping cream and is laced over the pie slice, really bringing it home. I would suggest buying new and fresh spices for this recipe if what’s in your cupboard is more than two years old. Fresh spices will add a wonderful bright note to the finished pie. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Old Foghorn Barleywine Pumpkin Pie
Start with a bourbon-infused pie crust and then top this decadent dessert with a maple and malt caramel-infused whipping cream enhanced by the addition of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine.

Serves: 8 guests

Bourbon Pie Crust Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, unbleached
1 tbsp sugar, organic
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup vegetable shortening or lard, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 1/2–3 tbsp Knob Creek Bourbon, chilled

Bourbon Pie Crust Directions:
In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, sugar and salt; pulse several times to mix the ingredients. Add the cubed butter and shortening to the flour mixture and pulse the processor several times until the entire mixture has a sandy texture, with small bits of butter or shortening no bigger than the size of the grains of malt. With the motor running, pour the chilled bourbon into the flour and butter mixture, letting the dough almost come together. Turn off the food processor and check the consistency of the dough. It should hold together if a handful is squeezed. Remove the dough, place on a piece of plastic wrap and form a disk that’s about an inch thick; wrap and place into the refrigerator for 30–60 minutes or up to three days (if making in advance). This will let the bourbon hydrate the flour, while the butter and shortening are re-chilled, making the dough easier to roll out.

When ready, remove the pie dough from the refrigerator; unwrap and place on a lightly floured work surface, and use a lightly dusted rolling pin or a chilled 22-ounce bomber. If the dough is too hard to roll out, let sit for 5 minutes to soften. Roll the dough out, flipping it over a few times, lightly dusting the surface with a thin coat of flour to prevent sticking. Once the dough is rolled out to a 14-inch-diameter circle, check for an even thickness across the surface. This will fit into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.

Take an edge of the dough (a scraper can be used to help), wrap it around the curve of the rolling pin/bottle and continue to roll the dough lightly around the pin/bottle, then transfer it onto the pie dish (not greased). Then unroll the dough into the dish, centering it and letting any extra hang over the edge. Lightly press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the dish. Trim the sides of dough to about an inch of the rim of the pie plate. Fold the extra dough under itself, creating a thick rim that will make crimping the edges easier. If there are any cracks or the dough seems too thin, use the extra dough to make a patch.

Crimp the edges by either pinching the dough around in a circle, or by using two fingers on one hand, placing a finger from the other hand in between to make a small wave, and continuing around the perimeter. Place the pie dish into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to re-chill. This will prevent the crust from shrinking while it cooks.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly prick the bottom of the dough with a fork to prevent the crust from bubbling up as it cooks. Place into the center of the oven and bake until it’s a light blond color, about 25 minutes. Let the pie crust cool before adding the filling.

Old Foghorn Pumpkin Pie Filling Ingredients:
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon, ground
1 tsp Vietnamese cinnamon, ground
1 tsp ginger, ground
1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly ground
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp clove, ground
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar, organic
3 each eggs, large
6 oz Anchor Brewing Co. Old Foghorn or another favored Barleywine
1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
2 cups pumpkin purée, canned or freshly roasted and puréed

Old Foghorn Pumpkin Pie Filling Directions:
In a medium-size bowl, measure out the cornstarch, cinnamons, ginger, nutmeg, salt, clove, brown sugar, and organic sugar. Using a whisk, blend well and add in the cracked eggs, beating until frothy and fully incorporated. Add in the Old Foghorn Barleywine, sour cream (or crème fraîche), and pumpkin purée, blending until smooth. Pour the filling into the cooled, pre-baked Bourbon Pie Crust, tapping lightly on the counter to remove any bubbles, and place into a preheated 325°F oven for 55–60 minutes. The filling should be set, but not too firm; a light shake to the pan should have a little wobble to it. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 2 hours to set properly before serving.

Bigfoot Maple & Malt Caramel-Infused Whipping Cream Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine
1 1/2 cups maple syrup, grade B
3/4 cup dried malt powder (DME)
1 pint heavy cream, organic

Bigfoot Maple & Malt Caramel-Infused Whipping Cream Directions:
In a large pot, add the Barleywine, maple syrup, and malt powder. Place the pot over a medium flame and whisk to dissolve the malt powder. As the syrup comes to a boil, it will foam up; whisk to deflate the bubbles and prevent a boil-over (another reason to use a large pot—for the extra volume). Let the syrup simmer (adjusting the heat) for 15–20 minutes, or until a thick consistency is reached and the temperature is 240°F. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a metal bowl, place the ice-cold cream and 2–3 tablespoons of the caramel to sweeten and flavor it. Using a whisk or electric mixer, whip the cream to a semi-soft peak. Wrap and chill if not using right away. Pour the remaining caramel into a squeeze bottle for garnish, and refrigerate. Any extra caramel can be used over pancakes, waffles, in coffee as a sweetener or over ice cream as a sundae topping.

To Serve: 

  • Option 1: Slice the cooled pie into eight pieces and place a slice onto a plate, spooning some of the Bigfoot Maple & Malt Caramel-Infused Whipping Cream across the wedge, then drizzle some of the caramel across the plate as a garnish. Repeat with remaining slices.
  • Option 2: To make a Pumpkin Crème Pie, pour the whipped cream on top of the baked and cooled pie surface. Using a spatula, spread the cream evenly across the pie, forming a bit of a hill in the center. Now, using the squeeze bottle, lace the Bigfoot Maple & Malt Caramel back and forth over the pie, creating a pattern. This can be made up to six hours in advance. Slice the pie into eighths, and serve each slice with an extra drizzle of the caramel.

Homemade Crème Fraîche
This French-style sour cream is easy and fun to make, plus it’s about half the price of the store-bought version. Take 2 cups of heavy cream (preferably not ultra-pasteurized), and place into a clean glass jar. Add 2 tablespoons of buttermilk and seal with a lid. Shake the mixture for 20 seconds, then unscrew the lid, but so it’s still covering the jar.

Leave the jar on the countertop undisturbed for 18–36 hours, depending on how sour and thick you want the final product to be. The time it takes to make will also change with the temperature of the room. Refrigerate for 2 hours before using, as this will further thicken the crème fraîche. Keep refrigerated and use within two weeks. Try using this in mashed potatoes, over pancakes, in salad dressing, in a soup or lightly whipped and over a dessert.

Homemade Pumpkin Purée
Sure, canned pumpkin purée can be purchased; however, the alternative, made with an heirloom pumpkin or other winter squash, can add uniqueness to any pumpkin pie. Try the local pumpkin patch or farmer’s market (or, of course, your own garden) to find an heirloom variety of pumpkin. Sugar pie pumpkins are a good backup choice for this purée, but butternut, buttercup, kabocha, acorn, and hubbard squash all have great flavor and will work wonderfully for this pie. Wash the squash to remove any dirt.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. On a sheet tray lined with parchment paper or a Silpat, cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds using an ice cream scoop or large spoon. Lightly rub the cut surface and flesh with vegetable oil, seasoning with a light sprinkle of salt, and roast the gourd until the flesh is fork tender, about 45–60 minutes, depending on thickness. Let the squash cool, and scoop the flesh from the skin. Place the flesh into a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. Use what is needed for the recipe and portion the rest into 2-cup freezer bags, removing as much air as possible.