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Dig into this fall-spice pudding pie nestled in a nut crust and topped with whipped cream

(Photos by Mark Weinberg for The Washington Post; food styling by Erin Jeanne McDowell for The Washington Post)
Fall-Spice Pudding Pie With Whipped Cream and a Nut Crust
Active time:40 mins
Total time:3 hours
Servings:8 (makes one 9-inch pie)
Active time:40 mins
Total time:3 hours
Servings:8 (makes one 9-inch pie)

This creamy pudding-style filling can be spiced just right for a fall pie that’s perfect for Thanksgiving. It pairs especially well with this nut crust, which can be made with any kind of nut (so it is gluten-free). The crust bakes up deliciously crisp and toasty, a delicious contrast to the smooth, sweet filling. Top it with whipped cream for the ultimate decadent experience.

Build your perfect pie: Mix and match crusts, fillings and toppings for the slice of your dreams

Get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.


For the crust

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 sticks/56 grams) unsalted butter, melted (may substitute oil), plus more for greasing the pie plate
  • 2 1/2 cups (325 grams) finely chopped nuts
  • 3 tablespoons (37 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg white, lightly whisked

For the filling

  • 1 3/4 cups (420 milliliters) whole milk
  • 1/3 cup (80 milliliters/59 grams) heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (53 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (28 grams) cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping

  • 1 cup (240 milliliters/235 grams) cold heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Step 1

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate with butter.

Step 2

In a medium bowl, stir the nuts, sugar and salt until combined. Add the 4 tablespoons of melted butter and the egg white, and stir the mixture until uniformly combined.

Press the crust evenly into the base and up the sides of the prepared pie plate.

Step 3

Bake the crust for 17 to 20 minutes, or until it is rich brown and smells toasty. Let cool completely on a wire rack before adding the filling to the crust.

Step 4

Make the filling: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk and cream until the mixture comes to a simmer. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, salt and nutmeg.

Step 5

When the dairy mixture comes to a simmer, whisk the egg yolks into the sugar mixture until well combined. Carefully, in a slow, steady stream, add about a quarter of the warm dairy mixture into the yolk-sugar mixture and whisk well to combine.

Step 6

Pour the yolk-sugar mixture in the pot with the remaining dairy mixture and whisk until fully incorporated. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken, 2 to 3 minutes.

Switch to a silicone spatula and continue to stir until the mixture comes to a boil — ideally, look for fat bubbles breaking the surface near the center of the saucepan.

Step 7

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla until fully incorporated.

Strain the warm pudding into the cooled crust and spread into an even layer. Cover the filling directly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

Step 8

Make the topping: When ready to serve, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or using a large bowl and a hand mixer), whip the cream on medium speed until it begins to thicken, 1 to 2 minutes.

With the mixer running, add the sugar in a slow, steady stream, then continue to whip until medium-soft peaks form that still curl down slightly at the ends, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vanilla, if using, reduce the mixer speed to low and mix to combine.

Step 9

Spread the whipped cream in a generous layer all over the pie filling, making decorative, billowy swirls. Slice the pie and serve.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 631; Total Fat: 46 g; Saturated Fat: 19 g; Cholesterol: 175 mg; Sodium: 345 mg; Carbohydrates: 48 g; Dietary Fiber: 5 g; Sugar: 35 g; Protein: 13 g.

Filling and topping from food writer Erin Jeanne McDowell; pie crust adapted from her “The Book on Pie” (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020).

Tested by G. Daniela Galarza; email questions to

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