Pumpkin Pie with Brown Sugar-Walnut Topping

by Erin

I adore my dad’s pumpkin pie. It was actually the very first pie I ever liked, because I used to think that fruit pies were gross. Mushy fruit = spoiled fruit and therefore pie was like eating a slab of rotten fruit. Thankfully I got over that. But somehow I have yet to share my dad’s pumpkin pie recipe on my blog. It’s actually adapted from the recipe on the can of pumpkin puree, except my dad uses homemade puree. This sometimes results in requiring longer cooking times due to being more liquidy than the canned stuff, but it’s worth it.

Then one day I saw this topping. Not that I thought his pie needed any improvement, but I had him try out this crumble topping when he made the pies for Thanksgiving. He made two, one with the topping and one without. The one with disappeared faster than the regular, even though most people claimed they had to have the regular – nothing new and fancy. But due to it’s disappearing act, I was unable to snag any photos of it.

Pumpkin Pie with Walnut Brown Sugar Crumble 1

So when it came time for my dad to yet again bake pies for Christmas, I requested one pie with the topping again. This time I was there to help so there really was no argument. And once again people said they “knew” they would prefer the plain version better, and once again the one with the topping went first (this was a new group of people too). And this time I got a picture before the masses descended upon it!

Pumpkin Pie with Walnut Brown Sugar Crumble 2

One year ago: Berry Detox Smoothie

Two years ago: Salmon Florentine


Makes 1 pie



1/2 cup walnut pieces

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

One unbaked 9-inch pie crust


2 eggs, lightly beaten

1-3/4 cups fresh pumpkin puree or 15 oz. canned

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1-1/2 Tbsp flour

1 cup evaporated milk or heavy whipping cream


  1. To make the topping: Add the walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt to the bowl of your food processor. Pulse until the mixture is crumbly – I left some pieces of walnut a little bigger, but you could pulse until they were very fine. (You can make the topping a day ahead of time, just store in an airtight container at room temperature.)
  2. Preheat oven to 400 with a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Roll the dough into about a 12-inch round. Transfer to the pie plate. Trim away the excess then fold the edges under and crimp them.
  3. To make the filling: In a large bowl, mix together the eggs and pumpkin. In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients and add to the pumpkin mixture. Add milk (or cream) and mix until smooth.
  4. Pour the filling into the crust and transfer the pie to the oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the filling is firm (it will still jiggle, but if you touch it, it shouldn’t be wet). Remove the pie from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the surface then return to the oven. Bake for an addition 15-20 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 175 F. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
  5. (You can make the day 1 day ahead of time. Cover and refrigerate overnight, removing about 1 hour before you intend to serve.)

Source: Pie from my dad. Topping from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures.


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Laura Dembowski January 13, 2013 - 3:12 pm

I love all kinds of pies – hence the name of my blog – but this looks amazing! I love that your dad uses homemade pumpkin puree. It’s all I use when baking with pumpkin. It’s so tasty; I wish more people baked with it.

Jessica@AKitchenAddiction January 10, 2013 - 8:10 am

Love the sound of the topping! Perfect addition!

Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust January 9, 2013 - 9:15 pm

Oh that topping. Erin, it’s to die for!

Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers January 9, 2013 - 5:19 pm

Ohhhh, your pie looks wonderful! I bet your Dad loved the topping! I am so in the mood for pumpkin! Great recipe!! Book marking this one!!!

Tracey January 9, 2013 - 12:01 pm

Haha, people can be so opposed to change, but glad this one seemed to go over well. One of Shane’s cousins made the pie and topping for Thanksgiving and people raved about it too :)


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