It only took me over six years of Louisiana be make a proper Cajun sweet dough and pudding pie but friends, here we are!
This is the kind of deep nuanced southern secret that takes time to reveal itself. You don’t just transplant to Louisiana and learn the secrets to gumbo and crawfish pie and sweet dough. You have to earn it with time and invitation.
Years ago when I started teaching Bakehouse pie baking classes, my assistant Sydney’s grandmother was curious about my pie crust recipe because, according to her, it was incorrect. Her pie crust had more sugar, an egg, and baking powder so my less sweet, all-butter pie crust seemed like more of a curiosity. She’s correct, of course. Her pie crust sounded more like a cookie to me and there’s zero things wrong with that. Technically we’re both right.
Fast forward to early this summer, I ran across a recipe for a deep dish Tarte a la Bouillie from Taste of the South. The title translates to burnt milk or porridge tart and the crust looked sugar-cookie-thick with a crust that folded over like the perfect hair day. This was the pie crust that had been gently tapping me on the shoulder for years! I tried the exact Taste of the South recipe with struggling results, but an easy five pies later, landed on a crust and filling perfect for this season. It’s essentially a Cajun Pumpkin Pudding Pie – silky smooth and light in texture with a sweet cookie crust that is absolutely serene.
Please say you’ll join me in this! This is a good one friends! xo
Here’s what you’ll need for this show-stopper of a pumpkin pie:
• Ingredients for the Cajun sweet dough that include flour, powdered sugar, baking powder, and salt. We’ll also need an egg and whole milk for binding. A splash of almond extract to make this sweet cookie crust taste properly southern.
• Ingredients for the pumpkin pudding include brown sugar, flour and salt. You’ll also want pumpkin puree, eggs, cozy spices, whole milk and heavy or sour cream.
We’ll start by making the crust – the Cajun Sweet Dough.
This crust is a combination of pie crust and cookie so we’ll add an egg into the whole milk, baking powder into the dry ingredients for lift, and a splash of almond extract to make the tender dough more cookie like.
In the bowl of a food processor combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Give it a little whirl to combine all of the dry ingredients.
Add the pats of cold butter and pulse the mixture until the butter is about the size of peas. This could take 12 to 20 pulses.
Now, you can absolutely do this step by hand if you don’t have or don’t want to fuss with the food processor. Just keep in mind that we’ll break this butter down into smaller bit that we do for our all-butter pie crust.
Once it’s pulsed, transfer the butter and flour mixture to a medium bowl and add the whisked milk, egg, and almond extract.
Use a fork or a wooden spoon to toss the wet and dry ingredients together in the bowl. Once well combined, use your hand to knead the dough into a disk. When making my all-butter pie crust, I transfer the dough to a clean counter and gently (and quickly) knead it together, keeping the cold butter in big chunks for a flaky pie crust. With this sweet dough, we aren’t worried too much about overworking the butter. Take a big deep breath and knead the dough into a cohesive disk.
Now here’s another trick – we’re rolling the pie crust right away!
From my experience, this pie crust cracks and is really difficult to transfer if it chills before its rolled. And gosh – I tell ya – I made this crust five times in a week just to be sure. You’ll want two pieces of parchment paper or two Silpats for rolling. Flour the bottom parchment paper, place the room temperature dough on the paper, dust it with flour and top with another piece of parchment. Start rolling!
I peel back the top parchment paper after a few stroked to re-flour and iron out any paper creases with my hand. Roll the crust to a 12-14 inch round that is just over 1/4-inch thick.
After our crust is rolled we’ll slide it (2 parchment papers and all) to a baking sheet and into the refrigerator to chill.
While the crust chills, we’ll cook our pudding on the stovetop.
In a saucepan whisk together brown sugar, flour, and salt. Don’t skip this step. It’s important to combine everything now so the flour doesn’t clump when we add the eggs.
Whisk in the eggs.
Whisk in the pumpkin puree, spices, milk and cream.
Have you ever made pudding before? It’s like making gumbo – there’s a lot of standing and stirring. Think of it as a meditation.
As you whisk the ingredients over medium-low heat you’re waiting for a few things to help you thicken the mixture. The eggs will cook and thicken while the flour cooks and thickens. Whisk pretty constantly using a flat or small whisk that can work into the edges of the pot to pick up any bits that might be over cooking.
See the whisk lines that momentarily held in the pudding? Thats what we’re going for.
Don’t fret too much – remember that we’re also putting this pudding in a pie crust and baking it. If you undercook the pudding slightly that’s ok because it has more time to bake.
Once the pudding is cooked on the stovetop, whisk in the butter and vanilla extract.
Transfer to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap that covers the surface of the pudding. Let it chill at room temperature while you get after the pie crust.
I love this tart in a removable bottom tart pan, but it also works just fine in a 9-inch (not deep dish) pie pan. The decorative edge won’t translate to a regular pie dish, but the crust can be folded over and crimped sweetly.
Remove the crust from the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. When the crust just becomes bendable, remove the top sheet of parchment paper and gently invert it into the tart pan. Press in gently but if it tears it’s totally ok! The crust will press together easily.
Gently press the crust into the edges of the pan. Any excess can drape over the edges. Run a rolling pin over the top of the pan to cut the scraps from the tart. Clever trick, right?
Pour the pudding into the tart shell.
Reroll the scraps of dough to create a decorative edge. I cut 1 1/2-inch crust circles and pressed them into the scalloped edge creating little half moons all around.
This works well is a tart pan but might be a little more tricky in a pie dish. Crimped edges on a pie dish are cutie!
Bake until the edges are just lightly golden brown and the pudding is set.
It may have a little jiggle to it when it’s baked through but no wave-like moves. Waves mean the tart needs more time to bake.
Allow the tart to cool to room temperature or even chill it overnight! Before serving, I like a little dusting of powdered sugar around the edges and a dollop of whipped cream on each slice.
The texture is silky smooth and lighter than pumpkin pie. It’s a such a sweet little treat and I’m absolutely adding it to my Thanksgiving table (no matter how many people are around it this year).
I really think you’ll love this pie, friends! Happy Baking! xo
Photos with dearheart Jon Melendez.Print
A creamy pumpkin pudding pie with Cajun sweet dough crust.
For the Crust:
- 2 1/2 cups (307 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (60 grams) powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
- 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
For the Filling:
- 1/2 cup (135 grams) lightly packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (39 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup heavy cream or sour cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 4 cubes
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- First let’s make the crust. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade add flour, sugar baking powder and salt. Pulse to combine. Add the cubed butter and pulse 12-20 times to create a coarse meal. Some butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes, others the size of peas. Transfer the flour mixture to a medium bowl and allow to chill in the refrigerator.
- In a small measuring cup whisk together egg and yolk, milk and almond extract.
- Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and add the wet ingredients to the dry. Toss together to combine. You may want to dump the dough onto a clean counter to knead together into a relatively smooth disk. Don’t worry if you work the butter in a bit. That’s ok.
- Place the dough between two pieces of floured parchment paper (or parchment paper and a Silpat, or two pieces of plastic wrap). Roll the dough out evenly, turning the dough over frequently and lifting and smoothing the paper or plastic so it doesn’t create any creases. You can dust a bit more flour too if you’d like. The circle should be 12-14 inches in diameter and about 1/4-inch thick. Slide the dough (still between the paper or plastic) onto a baking sheet or cutting board and refrigerate for about 1 hours. The dough cal also be refrigerated overnight or well-wrapped and frozen.
- Make the filling while the dough chills. In a medium saucepan (not over heat just on the countertop) whisk together brown sugar, flour, and salt. Don’t skip this step, you don’t want your flour to clump while making a custard. Whisk in the eggs until well combined. Whisk in the pumpkin. Whisk in all of the spices. The mixture will be thick and smell delicious.
- Stream in the milk and cream (or sour cream) and whisk to smooth. Place over medium-low heat and, whisking frequently (using both a whisk and rubber spatula to scrape the sides) cook the mixture until thickened, about 10 minutes. Pay close attention as to not cook the eggs. You’ll know the mixture is thickened properly because it will be the consistency of a loose, warm pudding or a thick cream of tomato soup. Remove from heat and stir in the butter chunks 2 at a time until melted and incorporated. Whisk in the vanilla extract.
- Transfer to a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap (so the plastic touches the pudding). Set aside.
- When the dough is thoroughly chilled, place the dough on the counter and let it rest for about 10 minutes or until it’s pliable enough to bend without breaking. Remove one piece of paper or plastic from the dough. Invert it onto the tart pan and remove the second piece of paper or plastic. Gently press the dough into the edges of the pan. It’s ok if the dough tears a bit, just press and tears back together. Allow the excess dough to rest over the sides. Run a rolling pin across the top of the pan to cut the excess dough off of the tart.
- To create a scalloped edge, use a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter (really you can use any small shape you have) and cut circles from the excess dough. I needed about 22 circles to rim my tart.
- Pour the filling into the tart crust.
- Place each circle so that it creates a half circle going into the pie filling and press into the tart pan with your fingers to cut the other half circle from the tart. Continue around the pan.
- Carefully place pan on a parchment lined baking sheet (the kind that won’t warp in the oven) and refrigerate while you preheat the oven.
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Carefully place the sheet pan with pie in the oven and allow to bake for 35-40 minutes until the pie is set.
- Allow pie to cool to room temperature before serving. I like this pie best cooled to room temperature then chilled overnight. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
• I prefer a 10-inch removable bottom tart pan for this recipe though a standard 9-inch pie dish also works well!