What would mama think?

By Meghan Overdeep
November 02, 2019
Alton Brown
Credit: Vincent Sandoval/Getty Images

Alton Brown is known for doing things the hard way. Whether it's using homemade preserved lemons to make even tastier lemonade, or adding a bit of salt to his coffee to stave off bitterness, the food science whiz is a firm believer in going the extra mile.

So, when we came across Brown's pumpkin pie recipe lately, we weren't at all surprised to find that it calls for making your own homemade pumpkin purée. (No offense, Libby's!) To do it his labor-intensive way, simply roast a large baking pumpkin until the flesh is tender. Then after separating the flesh from the skin, blend it in a food processor until smooth.

Pretty tame by Good Eats standards, right? Well, then you get to the crust. Flying in the face of decades of baking tradition, Brown's pie swaps a traditional, flaky crust for a spicy, gingersnap cookie one.


To make the crust, combine gingersnap cookies, brown sugar, and ginger in the bowl of a food processor and process until you get fine crumbs. Then drizzle melted butter into the crumb mixture and pulse to combine.

WATCH: Four Things You Didn't Know About Costco's Famous Pumpkin Pie

Unlike the pumpkin pies most of us are used to, the star of this dish isn't the filling but the flavorful crust. Don't be afraid to tinker with the amount of ginger if you're uncomfortable with spice, or to substitute the homemade pumpkin purée for a good ol' can of Libby's.

Leave it to Alton Brown to come up with a twist on tradition that won't leave the whole Thanksgiving table up in arms!