Taste of Fall: Ginger Snap Crusted Pumpkin Pie

Though I may have alluded to my pumpkin obsession, I'm not sure that I've really expressed the seriousness of the situation. I love pumpkin. There I said it. I LOVE PUMPKIN! It is really one of my favorite flavors and ingredients. Since it only makes an appearance for a short time during the year, I try to soak up as much pumpkin as possible. This past weekend I whipped up one of my favorite, down home desserts - a traditional pumpkin pie.

If you love pumpkin and/or are looking for a great Thanksgiving dessert, give this one a whirl! Just one thing I need to mention. I beg you - if you do one thing with this recipe, please please please make your own crust. It seriously is the easiest part and you cannot believe the difference. Take it from my own personal experience: The first time I made this pumpkin pie, I used a pre-made crust. While the pumpkin part was obviously delicious and wonderful, the crust...not so much. And in my personal opinion, the crust is just as important as the pie. And since this super simple crust is easy as pie, there are no excuses. Homemade crust is a must! Ok, I'm now off my soapbox. Let's get down to the recipe.

Delicious pumpkin pie, made possible by some standard fall ingredients! 
For the crust, I changed up the traditional graham cracker for ginger snaps. While I still think graham cracker crusts are fabulous, I wanted to try something new for this recipe. If you're not into ginger snaps, substitute 24 graham crackers for the 24 ginger snaps.
24 Ginger Snap cookies
1/2 stick butter, melted

The pie filling is adapted from the classic LIBBY'S recipe. You can view the original ingredients below and note my changes in parentheses. 
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (I used 1/8 tsp cloves and 1/8 tsp nutmeg)
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin (Make sure you use pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling!)
1 can (12 fl. oz.) Evaporated Milk (I took this opportunity to cut a little fat and used Fat Free Evap Milk)
1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell (Noooooo! See above rant and subsequent crust recipe)
Whipped cream, optional (If you know me at all, you know that this is in no way optional)

Put it all together:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

- Place ginger snaps in food processor and process until coarse crumbs - but don't over-blend!

- In microwave, melt butter. Then, add melted butter to processed ginger snaps in food processor. Pulse a few times until butter is combined.

- Press ginger snap crumbs into 9-inch pie plate. You may need to roll up your sleeves on this one and get your hands dirty - make sure crust is evenly pressed into plate.

- Bake crust for 8 - 10 minutes and then let cool.

- Change oven temperature to 425 degrees.

- In mixing bowl, mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg and cloves in small bowl.

- Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

- Pour into pre-baked, homemade pie shell - for the love of food, not the prebought kind!!

- Bake in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes.

- Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours.

- Top with (lots o') whipped cream and ENJOY!

- Tip: This pie tastes best the day after. Let cool completely, cover with plastic wrap and foil, refrigerate, and eat the next day. The flavors are stronger (in a good way) and the crust is softer.

Looks tasty, doesn't it? So what do you think? Any other fabulous pumpkin recipes out there? If so, don't hold out on me! I only have a limited time to get my fill!