FOR MILLIONS, THANKSGIVING DAY is defined by two treats: NFL football and delicious pie. To honor these great fall customs we asked one pie shop from each of the three cities hosting NFL games this Thanksgiving to provide us a sample for a pie-tasting contest. From the Detroit area, Achatz Handmade Pie Co. sent its pumpkin praline; Livin' the Pie Life in Arlington, Va., offered its Southern pumpkin praline; and Emporium Pies in Dallas submitted its Drunken Nut (a bourbon pecan). The winner: Heather Sheire at Livin' the Pie Life. Her confection is well-balanced with a sweet, crunchy topping and a smooth filling. Follow the recipe and it will make any game better—especially if it includes the unpalatable 49ers.
1 PREHEAT the oven to 400º F.
2 PLACE the ingredients for the praline topping in a food processor and process until the mixture is the consistency of coarse sand. Refrigerate until ready to use.
3 WHISK together pumpkin purée, ¾ cup brown sugar and 3 large eggs in a medium bowl until smooth. Next, whisk in the cream, vanilla, rum, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt.
4 POUR the pumpkin filling into an unbaked pie shell.
5 SPRINKLE the praline topping over the pumpkin filling.
5 BAKE for 15 minutes at 400º. Then, turn the oven down to 375º and continue to bake for 35 to 45 more minutes. The pie is done when the center is puffy and the praline topping is browned.
Recipe courtesy of Livin' the Pie Life in Arlington, Va. For their homemade pie crust recipe, along with recipes from Achatz in Michigan and Dallas's Emporium Pies, visit SI.com/eats.
SOUTHERN PUMPKIN PRALINE PIE (SERVES 8)
¼ cup packed light-brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
4 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1 small can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
½ cup heavy cream or whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons quality amber or dark rum
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger small pinch of cloves
½ teaspoon kosher salt