Warming chai spices infuse both the pumpkin filling and meringue topping with impeccable flavor in this spiced chai pumpkin meringue pie. Par-baking the pie crust is an important step, as the crust takes longer than the filling to properly bake through.
Chai Spice Mix
- 1 and 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves*
- 1 unbaked pie crust (what I used) or all butter pie crust*
- egg wash: 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 Tablespoon milk
- one 15-ounce can (about 2 cups; 425g) pumpkin puree*
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon (8g) cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 and 1/2 teaspoons chai spice mix (above)
- 2/3 cup (160ml) heavy cream*
- 1/3 cup (80ml) whole milk*
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon chai spice mix, or to taste (above)
- At least 2 hours ahead, make the pie dough: Make the pie crust through step 5 according to my directions and video tutorial in my pie crust recipe. Make pie dough in advance because it needs to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before rolling out (step 3). The recipe makes 2 crusts, and you only need 1 for this pie, so save the other for another pie.
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Roll out the chilled pie crust: Remove 1 disc of pie dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle. Make sure to turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls. Carefully place the dough into a 9-inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it’s tightly pressed into the pie dish. Fold any dough overhang back into the dish to form a thick rim around the edges. Crimp the edges with a fork or flute the edges with your fingers.
- Par-bake the crust: Line the pie crust with parchment paper. Crunching up the parchment paper is helpful so that you can easily shape it into the crust. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. (Note that you will need at least 2 standard sets of pie weights to fit.) Make sure the weights/beans are evenly distributed around the pie dish. Par-bake the crust for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the parchment paper/pie weights. Brush edges lightly with egg wash. Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork to create steam vents and return crust (without weights) to the oven for 7–8 more minutes or until the bottom is *just* starting to brown. (Review this how to par-bake pie crust page if you need extra help with this par-baking step.)
- Make the pumpkin pie filling: Whisk the pumpkin, 2 eggs, and brown sugar together until combined. Add the cornstarch, salt, 2 and 1/2 teaspoons of the chai spice mix, heavy cream, and milk. Vigorously whisk until everything is combined. (You’ll have plenty of chai spice mix, so if you want to increase to 2 and 3/4 teaspoons, you can; the extra-deep flavor is delicious.)
- Pour pumpkin pie filling into the warm crust. Bake the pie until the center is almost set, about 55–60 minutes. A small part of the center will be a bit wobbly—that’s OK. After 25 minutes of baking, be sure to cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil or use a pie crust shield to prevent the edges from getting too brown. (See this post on the best tools for baking pies for how to make a pie crust shield out of foil.) Start checking for doneness at minute 50.
- Once done, transfer the pie to a wire rack and allow to cool completely at room temperature for at least 3 hours before adding the meringue topping. Pie can be made through this step up to 1 day in advance; cover and keep at room temperature before adding the topping.
- Make the marshmallow meringue: Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in a heatproof bowl. Set bowl over a saucepan filled with 2 inches of simmering water. Do not let it touch the water. (You can use a double boiler if you have one.) Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture has thinned out, about 4 minutes. The mixture’s temperature taken with an instant read thermometer should be 160°F (71°C). If it’s not, keep cooking and whisking until thinned out and temperature is warm enough. Remove from heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon chai spice mix, and then, using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat on high speed for 5 minutes or until stiff glossy peaks form. Taste, and whip in a little more chai spice mix if you have any left/if desired.
- Spread meringue on top of cooled pie, or pipe with large star piping tip such as Wilton 1M. Serve immediately or store at room temperature or in the refrigerator, uncovered, for up to 8 hours before serving. If desired, toast the marshmallow topping with a kitchen torch just before serving. If you want to use the oven to toast instead, see detailed recipe Note.
- Cover and store leftovers at room temperature for 1 day or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can make the pie through step 7 up to 1 day in advance; cover and keep at room temperature before adding the topping. Baked and cooled pie freezes well, without the meringue topping, for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and then continue with step 8. You can make the pie crust dough ahead of time as well; it has to chill for at least 2 hours, but it keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and the freezer for up to 3 months, so make it in advance and it will save you time on the day you actually make this pie. If frozen, thaw pie crust dough in the refrigerator overnight before rolling out. The filling can be made the night before as well. In fact, I prefer it that way. It gives the spices, pumpkin, and brown sugar flavors a chance to infuse and blend. Cover and refrigerate overnight. No need to bring to room temperature before pouring into the warm pie crust and baking.
- Special Tools: Pie Weights | Pastry Brush | Pie Crust Shield | Egg Separator | Pie Dish | Electric Mixer (Stand Mixer or Handheld) | Disposable Piping Bags or Reusable Piping Bags | Wilton 1M Piping Tip | Kitchen Torch
- Pie Crust: Both linked pie crust recipes make 2 crusts. You only need 1 crust for this pie, so freeze the second half for another pie. If using store-bought pie dough, you still need to pre-bake it. If needed, you can use a graham cracker crust or gingersnap crust instead of traditional pie crust. Pre-bake the crumb crust at 350°F (177°C) for 10 minutes. No need for pie weights if using a crumb crust.
- Chai Spice Mix: You can substitute nutmeg for the cloves, if preferred.
- Pumpkin: Canned pumpkin is best in this pumpkin pie recipe. Make sure it’s labeled “pumpkin puree” and not “pumpkin pie filling.” If using fresh pumpkin puree, lightly blot it before adding to remove some moisture. The bake time may be longer.
- Heavy Cream & Milk: Do not substitute a lower-fat milk—the fat in whole milk is needed. Feel free to use 1 cup of half-and-half instead of heavy cream + whole milk.
- Topping: If you want to skip the meringue topping, you can serve this pie plain or topped with whipped cream. (Feel free to add some of the chai spice mix, to taste, to the whipped cream ingredients before you start whipping it.)
- Toasting topping in the oven: Instead of a torch, you can use your oven. Preheat to 450°F (232°C), and bake until the meringue begins to brown, usually about 2–3 minutes—keep a close eye on it. You could also use the broiler, but I find this method quickly burns the exposed crust, so I generally don’t recommend it unless you cover just the crust with some aluminum foil.
Keywords: spiced chai pumpkin meringue pie