Classic Pumpkin Pie

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This is going to sound quite absurd, and I can’t really believe it myself–I finally baked my very first pumpkin pie EVER. I know, right? Someone as pumpkin obsessed as me just now got around to making a classic pumpkin pie? Yeah. I have no real good excuse either. I guess my tendency is to be adventurous and try other kinds of unique pumpkin recipes like pumpkin bread pudding (which I also made last week–recipe soon), pumpkin brownies, pumpkin cakes, etc. that don’t involve having to make a typically labor intensive pie crust and go through all of the motions of making a “daunting” pie. But in actuality, it wasn’t all that daunting. Thanks to Martha’s great double-crust recipe, I had no fear and felt confident that it would turn out wonderfully, as everyone else said it would in the reviews. Since we ordered a vegan pumpkin pie from a local bakery, I wanted to make a REAL pumpkin pie with the typical eggs and evaporated milk. For some time now I’ve been eyeing this vegan version of a recipe, but I’ll make it some other time.

There was also a recent debate in the Food & Wine section of my local newspaper about whether or not freshly pureed pumpkin was better than canned. According to them and other chefs, they vote for canned pumpkin (probably since it also is not just pure pumpkin–according to The Kitchn, it supposedly contains a mixture of other squashes such as red kuri, butternut, etc that lend it more sweetness, flavor, and a deeper orange color). Since I have many pumpkins just scattered throughout my house, I decided I wasn’t going to be lazy and instead I was determined. I wanted to test their theory. And you know what? It’s hard to say if they were right. It was thoroughly satisfying roasting the sugar pie pumpkin in the oven at 375 for 50 minutes and pureeing it myself in the food processor, but I don’t know if the typical pumpkin pie flavor/sweetness came through. It was still delicious though. More of a lighter, custardy version of pumpkin pie that was just as good. I didn’t use pumpkin pie spice or vanilla extract like most recipes typically call for. Instead, I used cinnamon (of course), nutmeg, and FRESHLY GRATED GINGER, which is key, my friends. And I also modified the recipe by scraping out the seeds of a vanilla bean instead of using the extract. And I added rum. Yay for making recipes your own! So yeah, this pie was still really good. The family loved it (but of course they’re biased, they’re family!), the crust turned out AMAZING, and I had a fun time making it, which is what really matters most.

I hope everyone had a great and satisfying Thanksgiving. I know I did. I cooked up a storm, which is something I’ve desperately needed since I haven’t had much time to do so lately, being busy with school and all. The feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction from making great food is like none other. I plan on posting those recipes soon, as they are keepers to be repeated throughout this season (or whenever!). Now on to the pie!

Note: I realize that it may seem kind of pointless to post a pumpkin pie recipe AFTER Thanksgiving, but seriously people, you can and should be able to eat pumpkin pie any time, any where, no matter the time of year. That’s just my philosophy, though.

Classic Pumpkin Pie with Betty White 

Adapted from here.


1 sugar pumpkin (about 4 pounds), halved, or 1 1/2 cups solid-packed canned pumpkin (one 15-ounce can)
All-purpose flour, for work surface
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons heavy cream
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 vanilla bean pod, sliced and beans removed
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 to 2 tablespoons of dark rum (optional)
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. If using fresh pumpkin, roast pumpkin, cut sides down, on a rimmed baking sheet until soft, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool completely. Roasted pumpkin can be refrigerated in an airtight container overnight.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger disk of dough into a 14-inch round. Fit round into a 10-inch pie plate; trim and fold dough under flush with rim of pie plate. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.
3. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Roll out remaining disk of dough to 1/8 inch thick. Whisk 1 egg and heavy cream in a small bowl; set aside. Using a 1-inch leaf-shaped cookie cutter, cut out leaves. Brush edges of pie shell with egg wash. Arrange leaves around edges, pressing to adhere. Brush leaves with egg wash. Cut a large circle of parchment paper; fit into pie plate, extending about edges. Fill with pie weights. Freeze until cold, about 10 minutes. If desired, cut out additional leaves and place on a small parchment paper-lined baking sheet. These may be baked and used to garnish pie slices.
4. Bake pie shell 10 minutes. Remove weights and parchment; bake 5 minutes more. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
5. If using fresh pumpkin, discard seeds. Scoop out flesh using a large spoon; transfer to a food processor. Process until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer pumpkin to a large bowl. Add brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla bean, nutmeg, remaining 3 eggs, rum, and evaporated milk; whisk until combined.
6. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer pumpkin mixture to pie shell. Bake until all but the center is set, 50 to 60 minutes. Let pie cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into wedges, and serve with pumpkin or vanilla bean ice cream!

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2 responses »

  1. that’s such a beautiful pie! i’ve never done crust cut-outs like that and it’s so pretty. so, it looks like you lined the edges of the pie with cut-out leaves, is that right? how does that work? now i’m going to have to get some cookie cutters!also, those owl earrings are super cute!

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