When it comes to holiday desserts, there’s truly nothing like a traditional pumpkin pie. This Southern version has the creamiest baked pumpkin filling that’s covered in a praline pecan topping creating a candy-like coating to this Thanksgiving classic. Leave it off for a smooth and creamy pumpkin pie, or add it for a praline crunch in every bite.
Praline Topped Pumpkin Pie
Made from-scratch Pumpkin pie in a flaky pie crust with rich cream and eggs, is an amazing pie to master. But we’ve all had mediocre to bland pumpkin pies and no one wants to make a boring lackluster pie.
This recipe for praline topped creamy pie will change your mind about pumpkin pie. The pumpkin pie filling itself is made with cream which gives it a richness you won’t see in a pie from the grocery store. You could stop right there and have the most delicious pumpkin pie, but don’t because pralines are amazing!
If you’re not familiar with pralines, they are a rich fudge-like candy covering a cluster of pecans. For this topping, you get a similar flavor by using dark corn syrup and dark brown sugar to coat the pecans which caramelize in the oven forming a sweetened pecan topping on your pie.
Adding a pecan praline topping completely transforms a classic pumpkin pie. This candy like topping is not only good on pumpkin pie, it’s fantastic on top of a buttermilk cake. Since pumpkin pie is more rich than sweet, it can handle the extra sweet praline topping.
If you want a creamy pumpkin pie without the pralines, maybe there are food allergies, just top it with whipped cream instead.
If I’m making this pie for Thanksgiving, it’s generally not the only dessert I’ll have. Some people just don’t care for pumpkin even when it’s topped with delicious pralines. There are so many pies to choose from but I would suggest an easy to make apple crumb pie or a no-bake strawberry cream pie, all of which can be made a day or two in advance.
For a truly no-fail easy pie, try a Kentucky Derby pie with walnuts and chocolate, it’s great with vanilla ice cream.
Do you need to make a homemade pie crust?
Your pie will always be better with a homemade crust. However, that doesn’t mean your pie will be bad if you use a store bought crust. Whether you make it from scratch or use a store-bought pie crust, pumpkin pie is a fabulous holiday dessert. Sometimes around the holidays, shortcuts are necessary to get all of your dishes on the table. If you love a good homemade pie crust, you can follow my recipe for the perfect buttery pie crust every time.
So many things to love about pumpkin pie!
- It’s a true classic. Pumpkin pie just belongs on your Thanksgiving table. You might even know a few people who insist you can’t have Thanksgiving without it. It’s creamy, easy, and when topped with pralines, everyone will love it.
- It’s easy to make! The last thing you want to do around a holiday when you’re already making other dishes is a complicated dessert. The filling for a pumpkin pie comes together in just one bowl, as does the topping and it can be made in advance, so you don’t have to stress about a thing.
- Creamy filling, flaky crust and sweet topping. Praline topped, creamy pumpkin filling inside of a flaky, buttery crust — what’s not to love? The different textures in this dessert are one of the best things about it.
What You’ll Need for a Pumpkin Pie
- Parbaked pie crust – Parbaking (also called blind baking) the crust ensures it doesn’t get soggy as it bakes with the filling inside. I recommend this butter pie crust because it’s easy to make and it comes out flaky and buttery, but store-bought crusts work well, too. If you go the pre-made route, choose one that you have to roll out and fit into your pie plate, not the kind that’s already baked.
- Cornstarch – Just a little bit of cornstarch keeps the filling from being too runny and helps it set up perfectly as it bakes.
- Light brown sugar – Brown sugar brings a lovely, deep caramel note to the filling, which pairs perfectly with the pie spices.
- Canned pumpkin – Make sure to use 100% solid-pack pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling.
- Heavy cream and whole milk – Using a combination of heavy cream and whole milk makes for a creamy custard filling.
- Large eggs – Eggs are the main ingredient that thickens the pumpkin filling and helps it set up into a beautiful pumpkin custard.
- Spices – Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, pepper and salt
- Dark brown sugar – this is found in pralines and gives them that unique flavor
- Dark corn syrup – dark syrup results in a deep rich molasses flavor
- Pecans – it can’t be a praline without Southern pecans
How To Make the Best Pumpkin Pie
Step 1: Mix together the dry ingredients.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, salt and cornstarch.
Step 2: Mix together the rest of the filling ingredients.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until they’re well mixed, then whisk in the heavy cream, milk, and pumpkin. Keep whisking until it’s nice and smooth, then add the dry ingredients, and combine until your batter is thick and creamy with no lumps.
Step 3: Fill the pie shell.
Pour the mix into a par-baked pie crust and bake for 15 minutes. Then, (here’s the trick!) reduce the oven temperature and continue to bake until the center is just a little jiggly.
Step 4: Make the topping.
Combine the pecans with brown sugar, then add the dark corn syrup. 10 minutes before the pie is done, remove it from the oven and add the topping. Continue to bake until the topping is bubbly around the edges.
Let the pie cool on a wire rack for 3-4 hours before serving or storing.
Tips for Making the Perfect Pie
- Keep an eye on the pie. Pumpkin pie bakes for a long time, so make sure to cover the edge with a strip of aluminum foil or a pie shield to keep the crust from burning.
- Every now and then, your pumpkin pie might bubble over a bit in the oven. It’s not a big deal and won’t affect the flavor of your pie, but to protect the bottom of your oven, you might want to set a baking sheet on the bottom rack of your oven to catch any overflow.
How to Store Pumpkin Pie
In the fridge – Your pumpkin pie can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Since there is so much dairy in this pie, I don’t recommend keeping it at room temperature.
In the freezer – You can freeze the pie in an airtight container for up to three months. I prefer to wrap it tightly in a few layers of plastic wrap, too. Thaw it on the counter or in the refrigerator before enjoying it.
How to Parbake a Pie Crust
If you’ve never parbaked a pie crust, don’t worry – it’s super simple. Simply roll out your pie dough and place it into a pie pan. Use a fork to poke holes over the bottom of the crust (this step is called docking), and then place a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment paper over the crust. Fill the pie crust with specialty pie weights, dry beans, or uncooked rice, and bake the crust at 425°F for 15 minutes. Remove the weights and cook an additional 5 minutes.
More Holiday Pie Recipes to Enjoy
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- 1 9 inch pie crust partially baked
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
- 3 eggs room temperature
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons dark corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons white sugar
- Partially bake a 9 inch pie crust and let cool slightly.
- Preheat oven to 400º.
- Topping: In a small bowl, combine pecans, brown sugar and salt. Add the corn syrup and vanilla and stir to combine. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon , ginger, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, salt and cornstarch.
- In a separate bowl whisk the eggs together then whisk in cream, milk and pumpkin. Whisk until smooth.
- Add the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth and well combined. Pour into the partially baked pie crust and bake for 15 minutes, turn down the oven to 350º and bake an additional 35 minutes.
- Half way through the baking, cover the outside crust with a pie crust shield or strip of aluminum foil to prevent it from getting too brown.
- Remove when the center is still a little jiggly and top with the praline topping, sprinkle with white sugar, return to the oven and bake an additional 10 minutes until the topping is bubbly around the edges.
- Let cool on a wire rack for 3-4 hours before serving.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- Add aluminum foil or a pie shield about half way through so the crust doesn’t get too brown.
- The pie should be just barely jiggly when you add the praline topping.
- You can leave off the praline topping and serve with whipped cream.