Durham's Big Spoon Roasters did not yet exist when I lived on the Carolina Piedmont. Since I moved away, though, I've heard murmurs about the handcrafted nut butters from various food sites and magazines and friends who can't get enough of the stuff and I wondered how I too could get my hands on a few jars. As I was browsing the Big Spoon website, deciding which of the flavors--from Chai Spice to Peanut Cocoa I most wanted, I realized that the nut butters--those two in particular would make perfect pie ingredients.
So I emailed the owner Mark to tell him my idea, and the next week, a box showed up on my door with those two flavors packaged inside. Though the Chai Spice--a peanut and almond butter with local wildflower honey, salt, and chai spices-- could make a delicious pie filling almost all by itself (or in a Chocolate & Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart or a Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie or... the possibilities are endless--stay tuned!), I decided to start with the seasonal and perhaps unsuspected pairing of pumpkin. Chai spice and pumpkin pie spice are kissin' cousins as is, and I thought the smooth pumpkin and slightly grainy nut butter would compliment each other's textures and flavor well. I had also done a similar butter 'n' orange-veggie in this Sweet Potato Speculoos Pie, adapted from a Pumpkin-Nutella version from Sally's Baking Addiction.
The duo got along just splendidly, the nut butter adding a hint of honey and a darker, richer flavor to the fairly standard pumpkin pie base. The consistency was thick and hearty, a substantial slice that would also work well substituting sweet potatoes for the pumpkin purée. Though I added bourbon to my whipped cream, in my humble opinion it never hurts to throw in a dash in the pie itself. This recipe is definitely in the running for what will be on my dessert table this coming Thanksgiving, though I've yet to bake with that Peanut Cocoa butter...
You can check out where you can buy Big Spoon Roasters nut butters near you here, and if there's nowhere close, you can also order online.
Nothing-in-the-House Pie Crust, halved
2 c. (15 oz.) pumpkin purée, canned or fresh (sweet potato purée would also be delicious)
3 large eggs, lightly whisked
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. Big Spoon Roasters' Chai Spice Nut Butter
1. Prepare half of the Nothing-in-the-House pie crust as per the directions, reserving the leftover egg for an egg wash. Chill dough at least 1 hour before rolling out and fitting into a greased and floured 9-inch pie pan. Let chill for 15 more minutes in the fridge. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add pumpkin purée, whisked eggs, heavy cream, brown sugar, spices, and salt and mix well to combine. Add the Chai Spice nut butter and stir just until incorporated.
3. Pour filling into the chilled pie crust and distribute evenly using a rubber spatula. Bake 40-45 minutes until filling is well-set. Let cool and once at room temperature, chill pie until you're ready to serve. Serve chilled or at room temperature with a dollop of bourbon whipped cream.
Drunken Pumpkin Bourbon Pie with Mascarpone Cream
Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake Pie
Sweet Potato Speculoos Pie