This Dulce de Leche Pumpkin Pie is a sweet twist on a Thanksgiving favorite! Dulce de leche adds a deep, caramel flavor to the pumpkin pie and gives it a silky-smooth texture.
Behold, the baker who doesn’t like pumpkin pie is posting a pumpkin pie recipe. Hypocrisy, thy name is Elizabeth.
I took one for the team with this post. And by “the team,” I mean my husband, who loves pumpkin pie but rarely gets to enjoy a freshly-baked version. And by “took one,” I mean “baked one,” and by “this post,” I mean…“this post.” Not everything has to be a deep metaphor, alright?
So yes, I have pumpkin pie issues, mostly related to its texture. I also don’t love mashed potatoes, so you can put me firmly in the “no gloopy foods” camp. But I know I’m in the tiny minority with this opinion, and I live with a devout pumpkin pie lover, so I decided it was time to get over myself and write about this Thanksgiving classic.
This is an almost classic version of pumpkin pie. My big change—heck, almost my only change—was to swap out dulce de leche for the sweetened condensed milk in the pumpkin custard. It’s not rocket science, but it is mighty tasty.
The dulce de leche flavor is subtle, but it gives the pie a nice undertone of caramelized sugar and depth of flavor that’s missing from more traditional pumpkin pies. Even with the dulce de leche addition, I didn’t find the pie too sweet, and in fact, thought that it needed a bit of sweetened whipped cream to round it out. Yes…“needed.” That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.
So if you’re looking to tweak your usual pumpkin pie routine this Thanksgiving, pick up a can of dulce de leche instead of condensed milk! And this isn’t mandatory, but if you wanted to buy an extra can, thin it out a bit, and drizzle it on top of your pie to give it a glorious dulce de leche bath…well, that would be a good idea too.
Dulce de Leche Pumpkin Pie
This Dulce de Leche Pumpkin Pie is a twist on a classic! Dulce de leche is used in the pumpkin pie filling, resulting in a lush filling with caramelized sugar undertones.
For the Pie Crust:
- 6.5 oz all-purpose flour 1½ cups
- 1 oz granulated sugar 2 tbsp
- ½ tsp salt
- 5 oz cold unsalted butter cubed and frozen for at least 30 minutes
- 1.25 oz cold shortening cubed and frozen for at least 30 minutes
- ¼ cup very cold water
For the Pumpkin Pie:
- 15 oz can pumpkin puree
- 14 oz can dulce de leche
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
To Make the Pie Crust:
- Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a large food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
- Add the cold cubed butter and shortening, and pulse in short bursts until they're cut into the dry ingredients and the mixture has the texture of coarse crumbs. Add half of the cold water and pulse in 5-second bursts, adding the rest a little more at a time just until the dough starts to come together. You may not need to use all of the water—stop when the dough starts to come together, and don’t overwork it!
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead it just enough to incorporate any dry patches of flour. Wrap the dough well in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for an hour to chill. The dough can be made several days in advance and kept in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Flour your work surface and rolling pin. Roll the dough out into a circle, and press it into a 9-inch pie pan. Crimp the edges of the pie, and place in the freezer while you preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Once at 400 F, spray a piece of foil with nonstick cooking spray and press it on top of the pie. Fill it with pie weights, rice, or beans, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the dough no longer looks raw and is starting to cook along the edges. Remove the foil and weights, and if the crust puffs up on the bottom, gently press it down again. Cool the par-baked crust to room temperature before using it.
To Make the Pumpkin Pie:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Whisk together the pumpkin and dulce de leche until smooth and free of lumps. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. Pour into the par-baked crust and smooth into an even layer.
- Bake the pie at 350 F for 50 minutes, or until it barely jiggles when you tap it. If the edges of the crust seem to be getting too dark, cover the edges with a ring of aluminum foil. The pie can be served warm or cool, and can be kept for several days in the refrigerator.
To speed things up, you can use a pre-made pie shell, or purchased pie dough, instead of making your own. If you cannot find dulce de leche, see the Note at the bottom about making your own from condensed milk. Note: If you cannot find prepared dulce de leche, you can make your own on the stovetop, using a can of sweetened condensed milk. Place the can of condensed milk in a deep saucepan, and fill the pan with water so that the can is completely submerged. Bring the water to a simmer and allow it to simmer for 4 hours. Several times an hour, check the saucepan to make sure that the water is still covering the top of the can, and add water as necessary. After 4 hours, remove the can and let it cool completely before using it. You can also just use condensed milk in this recipe, to make a "normal" pumpkin pie instead of a dulce de leche version.