Dirty Chai Pumpkin Pie (aka Espresso Chai Pumpkin Pie)
If you’re a coffee lover and a chai lover, or if you just frequent coffee shops, you’ve probably at least heard of a ‘dirty chai’: a chai latte spiked with a shot of espresso. When I was a barista back in the day: I actually hated when people would order a ‘dirty chai’ because I didn’t like the name and would call the drink out as an ‘add shot chai latte’ instead. I know, such a brat, lol. What can I say, I’m a stickler for correct terms and such. Same goes for pretty much all those secret menu drinks nonsense. cotton candy frappuccino and all that other junk. But I digress.
I was brainstorming complimentary flavors for a pumpkin pie twist and this just happened to come to me and I was like “is that crazy?”. Perhaps. But it also really works together. The hint of espresso adds such a delicious depth of flavor and richness to the pumpkin flavor and the chai spices add a cozy and slightly exotic warmth. It’s seriously so good! And I really wanted to create a pumpkin pie recipe without using evaporated milk and after some tests, I discovered regular ole heavy cream works perfectly! Yay.
Full disclosure: braiding for pie crust is quite fiddly and you shouldn’t do it if you’re in a hurry. I got overly ambitious and tried to shoot 4 recipes in 1 day. My max is normally 2. I’ve tried to do this many times and I’m always mentally and physically drained, cranky, and sucked of most of my creativity by the last recipe so I don’t know why I’ve still not learned this lesson. This pie was the last recipe of the day and I’d lost my good light to shoot it so I decided to just bake it off and shoot it the next morning. I braided the rim and affixed it and it looked perfect. I chilled the crust for only about 10 minutes because I was in a hurry to start making dinner for my sister and I before we headed out to see Bohemian Rhapsody (SO GOOD, btw). I popped it in the oven then started on the chicken and when I looked through the oven window 15 minutes later, I wailed “my pie!”. The dough was not chilled enough so the perfect braid was sinking into the filling. I didn’t cry but I was close, folks. This is why you shouldn’t push yourself creatively when you’re tired. No good comes of this state. I was able to salvage it but then I proceeded to dump my entire pepper grinder full of peppercorns onto the chicken I was trying to season. Ya… I was done lol. My sister was like “uh, I’ll take over. Just go curl your hair”. So, if you want to be an overachiever like me and braid your crust, go for it! But allow yourself plenty of time and be sure to chill the crust in the freezer for a good 20 minutes to an hour before you add the filling and bake! This will ensure your braiding stays put.
I really hope you guys give this one a try and enjoy it! It’s honestly one of my favorite recipes I’ve ever developed and that’s saying a lot coming from someone who isn’t a fan of pumpkin pie usually. If you make it, be sure to share using #allpurposeflourchild and tag me at @all.purpose.flour.child so I can see it! I love seeing your creations!
Dirty Chai Pumpkin Pie
makes 1 9 inch pie
1 1/3 c all purpose flour
1 t Himalayan pink salt
1/2 c unsalted butter (1 stick), cold and cubed
2 t apple cider vinegar
3-4 T ice water
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 t vanilla extract
1 c heavy cream, room temperature
2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t ground cardamom
few cracks fresh black pepper
pinch ground cloves
2 t instant espresso powder (I used Starbucks Italian VIA)
½ t Himalayan pink salt
1 egg, beaten
splash of water
ground cinnamon, for dusting
make the crust
In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Cut in the butter with the flour mixture using a pastry blender (or a food processor) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the vinegar and ice water and stir until the dough just comes together. Pat dough into a disk, cover in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge at least two hours or overnight, ideally.
make the filling
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, sugars, vanilla, heavy cream, spices, espresso powder and salt until combined. Set aside.
assemble + bake
On a well-floured work surface, roll out the dough in a circle a few inches larger than your pie dish, to about an 1/8 inch thickness. Arrange the dough in the pie dish and crimp the edges however you’d like. Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake for about 40-50 minutes, until center is just set and crust is golden brown. Allow to cool completely before slicing. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream and leftover pie crust cookies if you’d like (directions below). Dust with ground cinnamon.
optional but fun:
Re-roll any dough scraps out and use cookie cutters or even just cut out shapes free-hand with a paring knife, brush with egg wash, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and bake until golden brown. I actually made a double batch of crust so I could make lots of leaf decorations and the braid halo around the pie. Decorate the top of your pie with them or serve alongside the pie with whipped cream and ice cream.