Pumpkin pie is a classic Thanksgiving dessert thats easier than you think to make yourself. Especially when you follow this recipe for pumpkin pie from scratch, you'll be making pies with rave reviews you'll want to enjoy again and again!
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Pumpkin pie is probably one of THE desserts a lot of people would think of if they were asked to name a typical American dessert. Not so surprising when it's a traditional part of thanksgiving for many.
In fact according to an article (and pie chart, quite literally) I recently came across, pumpkin pie is the third most popular in the country for the big feast.
I don't know what others think, but my impression is that at least as viewed outside of the US, it is probably top or at most only beaten by apple pie. Either way, pumpkin pie is undisputedly a classic and tasty at that.
Now I can't claim this as an old family recipe, but it is one we have used for many years with consistent rave reviews. The smooth texture, sweetness and warm flavors or cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg come through in each bite and win you over.
I originally found what I use as a base for this on the internet years ago, long before starting this blog. Unfortunately I can't remember where to refer back to (and in any event, I have tweaked since, too).
Despite it being tasty, there's still a bit of me cringes a little when I think how much sugar has gone into it. And that's me knowing I have reduced a bit from my original recipe and probably include a lot less than many pre-made varieties. But now and again, a little indulgence has to be done.
Maybe another year I will try to work on a healthier version but for now, let's not mess with a classic.
Steps to make pumpkin pie from scratch
The whole pie can take a bit of time to make if you do it all from scratch, but honestly, it's really not that difficult.
- Roast the pumpkin until tender then remove flesh and puree.
- Mix the pastry ingredients in the food processor, bring together in a ball, cover and chill.
- Roll out the pastry, line the pie dish with the pastry and trim edges. Prick with a fork then blind bake.
- Add the sugar and spices to the pumpkin puree. Separately beat the eggs and milk then combine.
- Carefully pour the filling into the pastry case and bake until set.
If completely from scratch isn't for you...
You can make things a little easier for yourself by using pre-made for some components. You can use a pre-made pastry shell and/or buy ready-made pumpkin puree.
However I'd recommend at least using pumpkin plus the spices etc I list rather than ready prepared pumpkin pie filling. For one, it means you can adjust to taste but also this combination is really good.
However if you have time, I would encourage you to give all the components a try. They really aren't difficult and the flavor is worth the effort. At least all my taste testers have agreed.
Ways to prepare ahead
You can do things in stages to make things easier. I usually roast the pumpkin the night before while making dinner (plan meal accordingly!). Then I have the pastry chilling while I mix up the filling, but it too can be made the day ahead. Just wrap tightly in cling wrap/film and refrigerate.
You will just want to take the pastry out of the fridge a couple minutes before rolling so it is not too firm (though you also don't want it too soft). If you prefer, you can do the initial baking of the pastry ahead of time as well.
Tips for making pumpkin pie
A few tips I have picked up to make things easier for you.
- First, if you are making your own pumpkin puree, keep the half pumpkin intact and put it on the tray cut side down to roast. Having tried inverted, face up and as chunks, it cooks much more evenly and quicker when left as a half. I suspect being a semi-enclosed space means it steams the inside as it cooks. You can also use chunks from a larger pumpkin, though it is less traditional.
- The key is to use cold butter and cold water for the pastry then chill before you roll out and put in your dish/tin.
- Use the rolling pin to help you lift up the pastry (as in photo above) and slide your dish underneath.
- When you neaten off the edges, trim the pastry outwards so it almost sticks the edges to the dish/tin. Both this and the cold pastry will help stop the pastry shrinking too much.
Finally, try not to cut and serve it on a table low enough for a toddler to reach, it might go before you get a chance to try it yourself...(and believe me, you want to!)
Pumpkin pie from scratch really isn't as scary as you might think and believe me, the result is well and truly worth it. This recipe is already well loved by friends and family, and I highly recommend you give it a try!
Try these other pumpkin treats!
- Pumpkin souffle
- No bake pumpkin cookies
- Pus get more seasonal inspiration in the fall recipes archives and other dessert recipes.
Pumpkin pie from scratch
- 1 ½ cups pumpkin puree 350g, see below
- ¾ cup sugar 160g, I usually use ½ light brown, ¼ granulated
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup milk 120ml
- 9 in unbaked pie case see below for recipe from scratch, 9in diameter is approx
To make your own pumpkin puree
- You can use canned pumpkin puree but fresh is better. To make fresh, cut a pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and roast in oven 375-400F/190-200C with cut side down on a tray, around 40mins until tender. Scoop out the flesh and puree with a blender. This can be done a day or two ahead.
To make your own pastry case
- To make pastry from scratch, mix 1 ½ cups/200g all purpose/plain flour with 1 stick/4oz/110g unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks, and 2tbsp confectioners/icing sugar, in a food processor until like breadcrumbs. While pulsing the mixer, slowly add some cold water until the dough just comes together (around 2-3tbsp, see picture above). Form dough into a ball, cover in cling film and chill for 30mins before rolling out.
To make the pie
- Preheat oven to 375F/190C.
- Mix together the pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and milk together.
- Combine the egg-milk mixture with the pumpkin mixture - best to gently whisk then let it settle.
- If using homemade pastry, roll out dough and line a pie dish or tin. Press gently into dish to ensure there are no air bubbles underneath and trim edges.
- The pastry case can be used uncooked, but I tend to bake blind (prick base with fork, fill with parchment/greaseproof paper and beans) for 10min first as I don't find my dish heats through enough to cook the base otherwise. A metal tin is probably OK without this.
- Carefully fill the pie crust with the filling mixture and bake for approx 40min until the filling is set.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.