My first memory of bourbon pumpkin pie comes from sitting in my dad’s ’89 Acura. He asked me to hold this pumpkin pie he had made for our family Thanksgiving, and to be extra careful because he literally poured bourbon on top of the then-cooling pie.
He said it would give it extra flavor.
I sniffed my little nose in the direction of the pie. It smelled heavenly. First, a punch of warm, spiced bourbon. Then notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger wafted through the air. Instantly, I wanted to eat that pie.
But I had to wait. I had a job to do. I stared at the pie all the way to my grandmother’s house, making sure it didn’t wobble this way and that. And that night, I cut myself a gigantic piece of bourbon pumpkin pie. And it was love at first bite.
Keeping with the tradition, this pumpkin pie is made with a healthy pour of bourbon. And even better, it’s topped with crunchy, nutty maple pecans.
This pie is dangerous, guys. Dangerously delicious.
It also kills two birds with one stone. You get pumpkin AND pecan pie in one. And what’s better than that? Oh, well maybe a crust made with Challenge butter. It’s my “perfect pie crust,” aka a gorgeously flakey butter crust. Honestly, this crust is so good you may just eat it on it’s own. And I won’t judge you one bit.
Tips for making this bourbon pumpkin pie
Besides the high-quality butter used in the flaky pie crust, I’ve also used a few tablespoons of vodka. This might sound like an odd addition to your average pie crust, but just hear me out. Vodka adds moisture to the pie crust without activating the gluten in the flour, meaning your crust is less likely to toughen up as you roll it out, etc.
You won’t taste the vodka at all in this pie because the alcohol cooks out completely. But it is a crucial ingredient in this pie crust recipe; as the vodka evaporates, it leaves behind an ultra flaky crust. Just trust me on this one!
To ensure your dough rolls out easily, you’ll need to refrigerate it for at least an hour after you’ve mixed everything together. This gives the dough time to firm up again and prevents the butter from oozing out of the crust in the oven.
To make the actual bourbon pumpkin pie filling, you simply need to mix all the ingredients together and pour into the prepared pie crust. Pumpkin pies require little to no skill to make, which is one of the many reasons it’s the perfect Thanksgiving dessert! Just make sure you’re using pure pumpkin puree and not the pre-sweetened stuff in this recipe (check the ingredients list on the can to be safe).
Wait to add the maple pecan topping until the pumpkin pie is completely cooled. If you add it on while the pie is still hot, everything will kind of just melt together and look sad. (It’d still taste amazing though).
Also, Challenge Dairy, who I’m partnering with on this post, is hosting an amazing campaign with UNICEF this season to fight and raise awareness of the childhood malnutrition crisis. It’s called the “Pin a Recipe, Feed a Child” campaign.
It’s an amazing campaign, and one that takes just seconds to contribute to. Simply click here to take you to the Pinterest board and pin a recipe (or two, or five, or twenty!) and each pin will equal one meal donated to a child in need.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and salt. Cut Challenge butter into small cubes, then work butter into flour mixture using a pastry blender or large forks until it resembles a corse meal.
Pour in 3 tablespoons vodka, then mix everything together using your hands. Work quickly as to not melt the butter. If dough is too dry, add in another tablespoon of vodka. Form dough into disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Place in fridge for at least 1 hour, but up to 2 days.
make the pie
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a pie plate with butter.
Over a large work surface, roll out your pie disk into a large circle big enough so that it will drape over the edges of your pie plate (i.e. if your pie pan is 9 inches, roll it out to 11 inches). Fit it into pie plate by gently patting it onto the edges of the pan. Tuck the pie edges under themselves, then use your fingers to create a fluted pattern (you can look up online how to make it look extra pretty!). Place in fridge while you make your filling.
In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, eggs, spices, flour, bourbon, and orange zest. Whisk until well combined.
Remove pie crust from fridge and pour in pie filling. Carefully place pie into heated oven and cook for 50 minutes. Once cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool completely in fridge, about 4 hours.
make the pecan topping
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt maple and brown sugar until it bubbles. Add in butter, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes. Add in pecans and coat completely with mixture. Cook for 4-5 minutes more, until the pecans have absorbed most of the sugar and begin to look sticky.
Remove from heat and place on parchment paper to cool. Once pie is cooled completely, top with maple pecans!