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Pumpkin Cobbler Is Like Pumpkin Pie, Only 10x Easier

Food52 logo Food52 8/19/2019 Erin McDowell
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I’ve never been a big pumpkin pie person. I like it okay. I definitely eat my once-annual slice around Thanksgiving, but you’ll never find me making it voluntarily unless it’s November. That’s because so many pumpkin pies can be disappointing, largely due to the reason I’ve been harping about on this site since way back in 2014: the soggy bottom crust.

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Yup, I’m team Mary Berry all the way, and pretty much blame this one faux-pie (see what I did there?) for every slice of pumpkin I’ve passed on since. When pumpkin pie is good: a crisp, flaky crust encasing a silky-smooth spiced custard, it is nutso-crazy good. But when it’s orange mush sitting on top of a thin layer of uncooked pastry, it’s something else entirely.

One of the things I like about making pumpkin pie is how easy it is, relative to other holiday favorites like apple. The custard is whisked together faster than it takes to grab the ingredients from your cupboard—no peeling, no cutting, no pre-cooking and waiting to cool. But to achieve a pie worth eating, you want that crispy-bottom crust, which means par-baking. I’m a huge advocate of it, but it admittedly adds a whole lot of additional time to the pie-baking process. So I started to wonder what might happen if you turned this fall favorite pie upside-down (literally).

Same custard, same crust—just flip it.

Suddenly, the pie becomes a cobbler, with a flaky, golden-brown crust topping the most popular filling of the season.

This little swap fixes almost every pumpkin pie problem you’ve ever had: No need to bother with par-baking—the crust browns easily because it’s on the surface. Forget fretting over cracked filling, because the custard cooks slowly and evenly inside since it’s covered on top. Skip worrying about the dough warming up while you carefully crimp it; just cut it into random-size pieces and layer them on top (which creates a lovely effect for the same amount of effort that the filling requires).

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Don’t have time to wait for it to cool? This cobbler is actually delicious served warm, too. Scared of cutting the perfect slice? This one just needs a big spoon for scooping. Not sure if one pie will feed your whole family? This cobbler’s made for a crowd.

I've finally found an alternative to pumpkin pie that I can use the word “love” for. (It’s even good enough to break me of my "one slice a year" rule.)

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But despite its many differences, some things never change: It’s best topped, like all the pumpkin pies of my past, with a hefty dollop of whipped cream.

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Pumpkin Pie Cobbler

By Erin McDowell

  • soft butter, for greasing the pan
  • 2x recipe prepared pie dough (my favorite recipe is here)
  • 6 large eggs (340 g)
  • 1 cup (198 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (106 g) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 30 ounces pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Egg wash, as needed
  • Turbinado sugar, as needed
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View Full Recipe

Related video: Erin McDowell's Buttermilk Sweet Potato Pie

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More Pumpkin Dessert Recipes

1. Pumpkin Cream Pie

A gingery graham cracker crust gets filled with pumpkin pastry cream, then topped with sour cream–whipped cream. Because it's supposed to be made and refrigerated in advance, there's no need to worry about it occupying oven space on Thanksgiving.

a piece of cake on a plate: Pumpkin Cream Pie © Provided by Food52 Pumpkin Cream Pie

2. Salted Pumpkin Caramels

For when you're looking for a little something sweet, not a gigundo dessert. (Though if you end up eating a dozen of these yourself, we've been there!) Chewy, cozy pumpkin caramels are wonderful to begin with, but the toasted pepitas and crunchy salt really set these apart. Psst: They also make a great host gift.

a slice of pizza: Salted Pumpkin Caramels © Provided by Food52 Salted Pumpkin Caramels

3. Pumpkin Flan

This creamy, custardy, caramely pumpkin flan comes with an ingredient list that's full of pantry staples: pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, sugar, spices, vanilla. The only ingredient to come from your fridge is eggs—and you have those already, right?

a piece of cake sitting on top of a table: Pumpkin Flan © Provided by Food52 Pumpkin Flan

4. Pumpkin Pudding (a.k.a. No-Pie Pumpkin Pie)

Just like pumpkin pie—except, without the pie crust. This stress-free recipe comes from Alice Medrich. She writes, "My family’s Thanksgiving always included pumpkin pudding. I wish I could say that the pudding starts with a freshly baked pumpkin, lovingly mashed and blended with fresh cream, eggs, spices. In reality, it was (and still is!) canned pumpkin purée and evaporated milk, mixed with spices exactly as directed in the recipe on the can of Libby's pumpkin, but baked in a dish instead of a crust."

a close up of a bowl on a table: Pumpkin Pudding (a.k.a. No-Pie Pumpkin Pie) © Provided by Food52 Pumpkin Pudding (a.k.a. No-Pie Pumpkin Pie)

5. Pumpkin Chiffon Cake

A light, fluffy pumpkin cake that just so happens to be gluten-free. Rice flour creates an especially tender crumb, while cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves give it cozy fall vibes. Make sure the egg whites are at room temperature so they whip up properly.

a close up of a stone wall: Pumpkin Chiffon Cake © Provided by Food52 Pumpkin Chiffon Cake Pumpkin pie, yay or nay? Let us know in the comments below!
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