adapted by Jen Brigham from The Gourmet Cookbook (2004)
20 (2-inch) gingersnaps, finely ground
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
3 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (from two 1/4 ounce envelopes)
1/4 cup bourbon or brandy
6 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups very cold heavy cream
chopped crystalized ginger (for garnish)
Make the Crust:
Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350˚F. Invert bottom of springform pan (to make it easier to slide pie off the bottom), then lock on side and butter pan.
Stir together gingersnap crumbs and butter in a bowl until crumbs are evenly moistened. Press onto bottom of springform pan. Bake until edges are golden brown, about 8 minutes (watch carefully toward the end of baking; crust burns easily). Cool in pan on rack.
Make the Filling:
In a small bowl sprinkle gelatin over brandy, rum, or water and let stand.
In a heavy saucepan whisk together milk, brown sugar, yolks, pumpkin, spices, and salt and cook over moderately low heat, whisking, until mixture registers 160°F. on a candy thermometer. Remove pan from heat and immediately add gelatin mixture, whisking until gelatin is completely dissolved.
Transfer filling to a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and cool, stirring constantly, just until the consistency of raw egg white. Remove bowl from ice water.
In a bowl with an electric mixer beat cream until it holds stiff peaks and whisk about one fourth into filling to lighten. Fold in remaining cream gently but thoroughly and pour filling into crust. Chill pie until set, at least 3 hours and up to 24, covered with plastic wrap after 1 hour.
Top with bits of crystalized ginger, serve and enjoy!