This freezer-friendly and make-ahead pecan praline pumpkin pie combines my tried-and-true flaky pie crust, smooth and spiced pumpkin pie filling, and a sweet/salty crunchy pecan topping. It’s salted pecan pie meets pumpkin pie— in the best way possible! Use my helpful video tutorial to walk you through each step.
As far as Thanksgiving desserts go, pumpkin pie is an icon. And this pecan praline pumpkin pie is a fun twist on my traditional pumpkin pie recipe. I won’t call this rendition an “upgrade” since you can’t mess with perfection, but the crunchy praline topping definitely adds a tasty contrast to the smooth and spiced filling below. If you ever craved a little crunch with your pie, this recipe is for you!
3 Parts to Pecan Praline Pumpkin Pie
- Pie Crust
- Pumpkin Pie Filling
- Pecan Praline Topping
For the ultimate finishing touch, I recommend topping this pecan pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkle of sea salt. The crunchy salt helps cut the praline’s sweetness and whipped cream is ALWAYS a good idea with pie. Agreed?
Praline Pumpkin Pie Video Tutorial
Partially Blind Bake the Pie Crust
Like my traditional pumpkin pie recipe, today’s version includes partially blind-baking the pie crust which means that we are pre-baking the crust before adding the filling. Do you know how to blind bake pie crust? Let’s review:
- Make pie dough ahead of time, then refrigerate or freeze until you’re ready to make the pie. Pie crust must chill for at least 2 hours before rolling out. You can use my favorite pie crust or my all butter pie crust recipe. I prefer the shortening/butter blend in my pie crust because the shortening promises that prized flaky texture. If needed, you can use a graham cracker crust or gingersnap crust instead. See recipe note.
- Roll the dough out, then fit into a 9-inch pie dish. Crimp or flute the edges. My trick to beautiful edges– don’t trim the excess pie dough. See step 2 in the recipe below.
- Chill the shaped pie crust for at least 30 minutes. This prevents shrinking. Remember that pie dough must be cold when it hits the oven. You can chill the shaped crust before or after you fill with pie weights (next step).
- Fill with pie weights. As the pie dough bakes, its fat will melt. The melting fat causes the pie crust to shrink down the sides of the pie dish. To prevent the pie dough from completely losing its shape, weigh it down with pie weights. Carefully line the pie dough with parchment paper first, then pour in pie weights or even dry beans. (Note: 2 packs of these pie weights* is needed.) *affiliate link!
- Bake until the edges are relatively set, about 12 minutes.
- Remove pie weights, then pour in the pumpkin pie filling and bake.
Some recipes, like my coconut cream pie and banana cream pie, require a fully blind baked pie crust because the filling doesn’t go into the oven. With this pecan pumpkin pie, however, we’re only partially pre-baking it. (Which is even easier!)
Pumpkin Pie Filling + Secret Ingredient
If you’ve made my beloved pumpkin pie recipe before, you know how good this filling is! To make room for the pecan praline topping, I reduced some of the ingredients so the filling doesn’t overflow. Instead of 3 eggs, we’ll use 2. I also reduced the sugar and liquids, too. This recipe uses an entire can of pumpkin, which is always convenient. I kept the spice amount the same, so we’re getting extra spice flavor in each bite.
Speaking of spices, I add a pinch of fresh ground black pepper to pumpkin pie filling. I got this tip from King Arthur Flour and pumpkin pies are NEVER the same without it. The black pepper brings out the pumpkin pie spice flavors and no one ever realizes it’s hiding in there. (They’ll just ask you why your pie is so good!)
Don’t Forget the Egg Wash
You don’t have to wait for the partially blind baked pie crust to cool down before pouring in the filling– it can still be warm! To prevent a pale and lackluster crust, brush the partially blind baked pie crust with egg wash. Egg wash, a mixture of egg and milk, promises a golden sheen on the edges of your pie.
Pie Crust Shield: Do you notice the edges of your pie crust browning too quickly? Sometimes the crust edges are finished baking before the filling. A pie crust shield helps prevent over-browning. (I link to my favorite one in the recipe notes below.) You can also use aluminum foil. Fold a 12-inch piece of aluminum foil in half, then cut a semi-circle out from the folded edge. Unfold the foil to reveal a circle. Remove the cooking pie from the oven, then carefully place the foil on top so the center is exposed and edges are covered. Return pie to the oven.
Let’s almost fully bake the pie before we add the praline topping. Why? First, the topping would burn if it’s in the oven that long and second, we could risk under-baking the filling if it’s hiding under the topping the whole time.
Pumpkin Pie Praline Topping Ingredients
As the pie bakes, make the 3 ingredient praline topping. You need:
- Chopped Pecans: This is a pecan praline topping, which is reminiscent of my favorite pecan pie filling. If you don’t like pecans, feel free to substitute with chopped walnuts or pistachios. Or instead of using 1 cup of chopped pecans, try 1/2 cup chopped pecans and 1/2 cup pepitas. Yum!
- Brown Sugar: Praline is the mixture of cooked sugar and nuts, so we can’t have a praline topping without sugar! I recommend brown sugar, which pairs with the brown sugar in the pumpkin pie filling.
- Honey: We need a sticky liquid sugar for this praline topping. The honey cooks and melts down, creating a delectable sticky crunch. If needed, you can substitute the honey with light corn syrup or even maple syrup.
Top the pie with the praline topping, then return to the oven for about 15 more minutes.
How to Make Ahead + Freeze Praline Pumpkin Pie
Pecan praline pumpkin pie is perfect for entertaining because (conveniently!) it needs to cool completely before serving. I always make pumpkin pie the day ahead of time, let it cool, cover it with aluminum foil, and refrigerate overnight. You can bring to room temperature before serving or serve cold.
Freezing: You can also freeze the baked and cooled pie. If freezing, I recommend baking your pie in a disposable aluminum pie dish because its thin weight will help prevent ice crystals from forming on your pie. Cool the baked pie completely, then wrap the whole thing– pan included– in plastic wrap or Press & Seal, followed by a layer of aluminum foil. This is how to freeze cakes, too. Freeze for up to 3 months, then keep pie in the wrapping and thaw in the refrigerator before topping with whipped cream and serving.
- You can also freeze the semi-baked pie before adding the praline topping. To maintain the praline topping’s crisp texture, this is what I recommend. Follow the recipe below through step 7, cool the pie, follow the freezing and thawing instructions above, then bring the pie to room temperature. Continue with step 8 in the recipe below. This way your praline topping is fresh!
I honestly don’t know which is the best: the crunchy sweet/salty topping, the creamy pumpkin filling, or the flaky pie crust. But who has to pick favorites? LET’S EAT IT ALL.Print
This pecan praline pumpkin pie combines flaky pie crust, smooth and spiced pumpkin pie filling, and a sweet/salty crunchy pecan topping. For recipe success, read my recipe notes and watch the helpful video tutorial above before you begin.
- 1 unbaked Flaky Pie Crust (what I used) or All Butter Pie Crust*
- egg wash for pie crust: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon milk or heavy cream
- one 15oz can (about 2 cups; 425g) pumpkin puree*
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon (8g) cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger*
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg*
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves*
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2/3 cup (160ml) heavy cream*
- 1/3 cup (80ml) whole milk*
- 1 cup (130g) finely chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (30g) honey*
- for garnish: sea salt and whipped cream
- For best success, read the recipe in full before beginning.
- Pie crust: I like to make sure my pie dough is prepared before I begin making pecan praline pumpkin pie. Make pie dough the night before because it needs to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before rolling out and blind baking (next step).
- Roll out the chilled pie dough: On a floured work surface, roll out one of the disks of chilled dough (use the 2nd pie crust for another recipe!). Turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls until you have a circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough into a 9×2 inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is completely smooth. To make a lovely thick edge, I do not trim excess dough around the edges. Instead, fold the excess dough back over the edge and use your hands to mold the edge into a nice thick rim around the pie. Crimp the edges with a fork or use your fingers to flute the edges. You can see me do this in the video tutorial above. Carefully line the inside of the pie with two pieces of parchment paper, as shown in the photos and video above, then pour in the pie weights. Make sure the weights are evenly distributed around the pie dish. Chill the dough in the refrigerator or freezer for at least 30 minutes– this helps prevent the crust from shrinking. (You can actually fill with pie weights before or after chilling, it doesn’t make a difference.)
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Pre-bake the crust: Bake the cold pie crust (with weights!) for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes as you prepare the filling. You can pre-bake the crust up to 3 days ahead of time. Cover cooled crust tightly and refrigerate until ready to fill.
- Whisk the pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, black pepper, cream, and milk together in a large bowl until completely combined and smooth. If desired, you can use an electric mixer for this step.
- Remove pie weights (and parchment) from crust. Pour filling into warm crust. Brush edges with egg wash. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until the center is no longer jiggly. It can still be a little sticky in the very center on top, just as long as it no longer jiggles when you lightly tap the pan. During bake time, if you find the edges of the pie crust are browning too quickly, apply a pie crust shield or a ring of aluminum foil to protect it.
- Topping: Remove pie from the oven and add the topping. I like to make the topping as the pie bakes so I have it ready. Using a fork, mix the pecans and brown sugar together. Drizzle in the honey and mix until combined. Spoon on top of the pie, then *very* gently press it down with a spoon or fork so it sticks on the filling.
- Return pie to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Use a pie crust shield to protect the crust from over-browning, if needed.
- Remove the pie from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely, at least 3-4 hours. If not serving right away, cover cooled pie and store at room temperature for 1 day or in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- Serve room temperature or cold with a sprinkle of sea salt and whipped cream. I used Ateco 849 piping tip for the whipped cream, but you can just use a spoon to top each slice with a dollop.
- Cover and store leftover pie in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: See post above for detailed make-ahead and freezing instructions.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Pastry Blender, Rolling Pin, Pie Dish, Parchment Paper, Pie Weights, Pastry Brush, Pie Crust Shield
- Pie Crust: Both linked pie crust recipes make 2 crusts. You only need 1 crust for this pie, so freeze the 2nd half for another use. 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 cookie crust at 350°F (177°C) for 10 minutes. No need for pie weights if using a cookie crust.
- Pumpkin: Canned pumpkin is best in this pumpkin pie recipe. If using fresh pumpkin puree, lightly blot it before adding to remove some moisture. The bake time may be longer.
- Spices: About 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice can be used instead of ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
- 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.
- Honey: If needed, you can substitute the honey in the praline topping with light corn syrup or even maple syrup.
Keywords: pumpkin, Thanksgiving, pie