The Best Pumpkin Pie Topping

Want to skip the bourbon and go for a classic caramel flavor? Swap it out with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

It’s pumpkin season! As you savor your pumpkin spice latte and make your pumpkin soup, don’t forget to top things off with the quintessential fall dessert: pumpkin pie. We could have kept it unadorned for a classic look, but instead, we opted for decadence with bourbon caramel topping. Even better? You’ve got options! This sauce is only one of four recipes for elevating a store-bought pie with home-made flavor!

Roasted peptitas are an excellent alternative to gold dragées. Choose these for a hint of salt with your caramel and a more rustic look to the pie.

Pumpkin Pie with Bourbon Caramel Topping

What You’ll Need:

  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (¼ stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ¼–½ teaspoon Kosher salt (depending on salt preference)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup bourbon (optional)
  • Pumpkin pie, homemade or store bought
  • Gold dragées, for decoration or roasted pepitas
Rich flavors call for thin slices.

What You’ll Do:

  1. In a large saucepan over medium, heat the sugar, butter and salt until the butter melts and the sugar darkens around the edges, 3–4 minutes.
  2. Whisking constantly, slowly stream in the cream until well combined (some sugar will seize at first). Let the mixture simmer until it begins to thicken, about 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk in the bourbon and simmer until the mixture is just below the soft-ball stage (200–225°F) on a candy thermometer, another 10 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it rest for 1 minute before pouring it on top of the pie, tilting to spread the caramel to the crust.
  4. Let the caramel set for 5 minutes; then sprinkle on gold dragées or pepitas. Let pie chill for 1 hour before serving.

Victoria Van Vlear

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Victoria Van Vlear

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