Spicy Bourbon Pumpkin Pie

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Spicy bourbon pumpkin pie elevates the classic autumn dessert with a bold kick of alcohol and heightened spices, creating a harmonious fusion of warmth, sweetness, and depth. The addition of bourbon not only introduces a robust complexity but also accentuates the pie’s innate spices, making it a rich and memorable treat for mature palates.

A slice of spicy pumpkin pie with whipped cream on top.
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A slice of spicy pumpkin pie plated with bourbon.

Warm Spiked Pumpkin Pie

The classic pumpkin pie, with its velvety filling and aromatic blend of spices, has long been a cherished staple of autumnal feasts and Thanksgiving dinners. But for those seeking to elevate this timeless treat, the addition of bourbon offers a spirited twist, infusing the pie with a rich, smoky depth that beautifully complements the earthy sweetness of pumpkin. The inherent caramel and oak notes in bourbon seamlessly meld with the traditional spices of the pie, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, creating layers of complexity in every bite.

More than just a flavor enhancer, bourbon also introduces a cultural narrative to the pie. Bourbon, with its deep American roots, especially in the southern regions, invokes images of wood barrels aging gracefully in old distilleries and the time-honored traditions of whiskey-making. In blending this iconic American spirit with the equally iconic pumpkin pie, we get a dessert that is not only a celebration of flavors but also a beautiful fusion of culinary histories and traditions. This bourbon-spiked variation is more than just a pie; it’s a tribute to American gastronomy.

A slice of spicy pumpkin pie on a white plate.

How to make Bourbon Spicy Pumpkin Pie

First you need to assemble the following ingredients:

  • Pie crust (9-inch) – a good quality pie crust gives the pie a buttery and flaky base with a hint of savory richness.
  • Pumpkin purée (15 ounces) – whether fresh or canned, pumpkin puree offers an earthy and subtly sweet with the unmistakable essence of autumn squash.
  • Granulated sugar (1/2 cup) – sugar gives the pie a straightforward sweetness that enhances and brightens other flavors.
  • Light brown sugar (1/2 cup) – I love using brown sugar since it adds moist sweetness with hints of caramel and molasses.
  • Molasses (2 tbsp) – molasses has a deep, rich sweetness with undertones of smoky bitterness.
  • Salt (1/2 tsp) – salt has a sharp mineral flavor that heightens and balances the palate.
  • Cinnamon (2 tsp) – cinnamon has warm, aromatic spice with sweet and woody nuances.
  • Ginger (1 tsp) – this adds a spicy and zesty kick with a touch of warmth and sweetness.
  • Nutmeg (1/4 tsp) – nutmeg gives the pie a sweet and nutty spice with subtle woody undertones.
  • Cloves (1/8 tsp) – cloves have a bold, pungent spice exuding warmth and a hint of bitterness.
  • Milk (3/4 cup) – milk has creamy, mild sweetness with a delicate lactic essence.
  • Heavy cream (3/4 cup) – has a rich, velvety texture with a decadent dairy sweetness.
  • Eggs (3) – A neutral foundation with a subtle richness that binds and sets the other ingredients.
  • Vanilla extract (1 tsp) – A fragrant, sweet essence with floral undertones and a hint of caramel.
  • Bourbon (3 tbsp) – Adding bourbon to pumpkin pie infuses the dessert with a rich, smoky depth, elevating its traditional flavors and introducing a sophisticated twist to a classic treat.

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, use this method to make the pie:

  • Bake crust. Roll the crust into a buttered pie pan trim or crimp the edges. Make sure you refrigerate the crust ahead of time so it is cold. Crumple up some parchment paper and place over the unbaked crust, place pie weighs or dried beans in the covered pie crust. This is to weigh it down and prevent shrinking. Bake at 425 for 12 minutes, remove the weights and parchment paper. Then bake another 5 minutes to cook the bottom. Set aside to cool and turn oven down to 375.
  • Blend. Blend the pumpkin puree, sugars, molasses, and spices together. You can do this in a stand-up blender or with an immersion blender in a saucepan. Blend until sugar is fully incorporated.
  • Cook Filling. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan. Heat on medium high, stirring frequently until you see steam rising, about 5 minutes. You are heating the spices to integrate the flavors. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the milk and heavy cream. Once it is cooled add the eggs, bourbon, and vanilla extract. Mix well.
  • Bake. Pour the filling into the pre-baked pie crust. I usually fill it halfway on the countertop and the rest of the way in the oven. Bake an hour or until it is set but has a slight jiggle when you shake the pan. Check the pie every 15-20 minutes during baking to make sure the crust doesn’t burn, you can cover it with tin foil if you need to. Let the pie cool completely at room temperature before cutting into it, enjoy!
A slice of spicy pumpkin pie with whipped cream on top.

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Spicy Bourbon Pumpkin Pie

Choose Your Bourbon Wisely: Go for a quality bourbon with a flavor profile you enjoy. The notes of caramel, oak, and vanilla in many bourbons complement pumpkin well.

Don’t Overdo the Bourbon: While it might be tempting to add a generous splash, too much bourbon can overpower the pumpkin and spices. Start with a recommended amount, and adjust to taste in subsequent bakes.

Enhance the Spices: Bourbon can stand up to and even enhance the flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Consider increasing the spices slightly to maintain their presence against the strong character of bourbon.

Bourbon in the Crust: For an extra hint of bourbon, brush the pie crust with a small amount before blind baking.

Avoid a Soggy Bottom: Since you’re adding liquid with the bourbon, it’s even more essential to blind bake your crust to ensure it stays crisp.

Blend Well: Make sure the bourbon is well integrated into the pumpkin mixture. An uneven blend might result in certain bites being too strong.

Temperature Matters: After adding bourbon, ensure your pie filling is not too cold or too warm when pouring into the crust. Room temperature is ideal.

Taste As You Go: Before baking, taste the filling. If the bourbon flavor is too subtle, you can always add a splash more.

Consider a Water Bath: Baking your pie in a water bath can help ensure even cooking, reducing the risk of overbaking or cracking, especially since the addition of bourbon might change the pie’s baking dynamics slightly.

Pairing With Whipped Cream: If you’re serving with whipped cream, consider adding a splash of bourbon to that as well for a consistent flavor profile.

Adjust Cooking Time: Alcohol can affect the setting time of the pie. Monitor it closely towards the end of the recommended baking time, checking for the signature slight wobble in the center.

Rest and Set: Once out of the oven, let the pie cool completely before refrigerating. This resting period allows the flavors to meld and the texture to set perfectly.

A fork is being used to take a bite out of a spicy pumpkin pie.

FAQs

Does the bourbon make the pie alcoholic?

While the pie does contain bourbon, the alcohol content is typically reduced during the baking process. However, some trace amounts might remain. If alcohol content is a concern, consider using a bourbon extract instead.

Which bourbon is best for a pumpkin pie?

Choose a quality bourbon with strong notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak, as these flavors complement the spices in pumpkin pie. Brands like Maker’s Mark, Buffalo Trace, or Woodford Reserve are popular choices.

Can I replace bourbon with another type of alcohol?

Yes, you can experiment with other spirits like rum or brandy. Each will introduce its unique flavor profile to the pie.

Is there a non-alcoholic substitute for bourbon in the recipe?

If you’re looking for the bourbon flavor without the alcohol, bourbon extract is a great alternative. You can also use non-alcoholic vanilla extract with a touch of molasses for depth.

Why is my pie center too soft or runny?

The addition of bourbon can affect the setting time. Ensure that you’ve baked it long enough and allowed it to rest and set after baking.

Can I make a bourbon whipped cream to go with the pie?

Absolutely! Just add a splash of bourbon (to taste) when whipping the cream. Make sure not to add too much liquid, or the cream might not whip properly. I like making the whipped cream with this dispenser.

How do I store bourbon pumpkin pie?

Like traditional pumpkin pie, store it in the refrigerator. It should keep well for 3-4 days.

Is the taste of bourbon very strong in the pie?

While there’s a distinct bourbon flavor, when used in moderation, it should complement rather than overpower the pie’s traditional flavors.

Can children eat bourbon pumpkin pie?

The alcohol content in the bourbon should cook off during baking, leaving only the flavor. However, it’s always best to use discretion and perhaps inform guests of the bourbon content, especially when serving to children or those who avoid alcohol.

A slice of spicy bourbon pumpkin pie with whipped cream and a fork.

What to Enjoy with your Bourbon Spiked Pumpkin Pie

Enjoying bourbon-spiked pumpkin pie with complementary accompaniments can elevate the overall tasting experience. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Whipped Cream: Opt for a slightly less sweetened whipped cream or even a bourbon-infused whipped cream to emphasize the pie’s unique flavor.
  2. Ice Cream: Salted caramel, vanilla bean, or even a butter pecan ice cream can beautifully enhance the deep, rich notes of the bourbon in the pie.
  3. Beverages:
    • Coffee: A strong dark roast or espresso complements the richness of the pie.
    • Hot Toddy: This warm alcoholic beverage, made with bourbon, honey, and lemon, can echo the pie’s flavors.
    • A Neat Glass of Bourbon: For the true aficionados, a small glass of the same bourbon used in the pie can be a delightful pairing.
    • Chai Tea: The spicy notes in chai can harmonize with the pie’s flavors.
  4. Nuts: Candied or toasted pecans or walnuts offer a crunchy contrast to the pie’s creamy texture and can resonate with the bourbon’s nutty undertones.
  5. Caramel or Butterscotch Sauce: A warm drizzle can complement the caramel notes inherent in the bourbon.
  6. Chocolate: Dark chocolate shavings or a dark chocolate sauce can provide a rich and slightly bitter contrast that complements the sweetness of the pie.
  7. Fresh Fruits: Sliced apples sautéed in butter and a splash of bourbon, or poached pears, can serve as a refreshing side that bridges the flavors.
  8. Cheese: A slice of aged cheddar or a creamy brie can introduce a savory element that plays well with the pie’s sweetness.
  9. Toasted Coconut: Adds a slightly tropical hint and an extra layer of texture.

Try these other favorite pumpkin recipes next:

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Spicy pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream on a table.

Spicy Bourbon Pumpkin Pie Recipe

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Spicy Bourbon Pumpkin Pie

This twist on a classic pumpkin pie features molasses and bourbon for an earthy delicious pie you won't be able to resist!
Course Pumpkin
Cuisine American
Keyword christmas pie, holiday pies, pie, pumpkin, spiked pie, thanksgiving pies, whiskey pie, whiskey pumpkin pie
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 196kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • 9- inch unbaked pie crust
  • 15 ounces 1 can pumpkin purée
  • ½ cup 99 grams granulated sugar
  • ½ cup 107 grams packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¾ cup 180 ml whole milk
  • ¾ cup 180 ml heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2-3 Tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Roll out the pie crust and transfer it to a well-buttered 9-inch pie pan. Trim and crimp the edges, then chill the crust for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 C). To pre-bake, line the chilled crust tightly with aluminum foil and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 12-15 minutes, then remove the weights and foil, and bake for 5 minutes more. Remove from the oven, place on a baking sheet, and set aside. Leave the oven on, but turn down the heat to 375 degrees F (190 C).
  • Prepare the filling. In a blender or using an immersion blender in a pot combine the pumpkin purée, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, spices, and molasses. Blend until the brown sugar is completely incorporated.
  • Transfer the pumpkin mixture to a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Stir frequently until you see wisps of steam rising, then stir continuously until the mixture is very steamy and makes a slight bubbling sound when you pause for a second. 
  • Remove the pan from the heat, then whisk in milk and cream. This should cool the mixture to room temperature. 
  • Whisk in the eggs, bourbon and vanilla well.
  • Pour the warm pumpkin mixture into the pre-baked pie crust. Carefully transfer the baking sheet with the pie to the oven. Alternatively you can fill the pie crust in the oven to get the max fill.
  • Bake for 1 hour or until the pie puffs slightly in the middle, but still jiggles when you gently shake the pan. You may also see small cracks in the outer part of the pie and some bubbling around the edge. Check the pie every 15-20 minutes and cover the crust with a ring of foil when it is deep golden brown.
  • Let the pie cool to set fully, I prefer to refrigerate it before enjoying. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 196kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 290mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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  1. Brenda C Decker says:

    I love all these recipes. Thank you so much.