pumpkin pie

OK, I know what you’re thinking: pumpkin pie in December? Why don’t I just put on a Halloween costume and sing the Star-Spangled Banner while I’m at it? Listen, I know. Pumpkin pie is traditionally associated with Thanksgiving, and I know, here we are, a few days from Christmas—a time decidedly post-Thanksgiving.

But I’ve thought this one through, and I’m bringing it to you today, anyway, despite the backwards holiday timing and seeming ignorance of appropriate blog content. I’m doing it for two reasons:

  1. This is the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever had.
  2. I can’t stop making it.

(Oh and PS: pie pumpkins are currently on sale at my grocery store, so hello?)

homemade pumpkin pie

I’m also posting this now because it includes a pie crust recipe! for a homemade crust! (Once you start making excuses, it’s hard to stop.) I’ve posted this dough recipe before, with a quiche in early November, but I’ve since made it with all my pumpkin pies, as well as another version of that creamy pear pie, and I’ll be darned if it hasn’t been flaky, buttery goodness every. single. time.

If you remember nothing else from this post, remember this: if you have a cup of flour and a stick of butter, you have a pie crust. No kidding.

homemade pumpkin pie

And the final thing, the one that really sends this post over the top, is that it comes with a story. See, once upon a time, a year and a half ago, my friend Wendi made a pumpkin pie for a party. She said it was based on this five-star (and 258 reviews) version from AllRecipes, with just a few tweaks that she was happy to pass along. Shortly after that, my brother made the pie. I made the pie. It couldn’t turn out bad. The key seems to be that creamy, spiced, custard-like filling—made with real pumpkin, not the kind from a can—and even though the original is supposed to be best after sitting overnight, I think there’s nothing like a hot, steaming piece fresh out of the oven.




Pumpkin Pie
Makes one pie.
This recipe has changed a couple times, first through Wendi, then for the sake of whole ingredients (cream instead of evaporated milk, Sucanat instead of sugar), then with a different crust and hand-chosen spices. The result is what you see here, my favorite, favorite (and that’s saying something) way to make pumpkin pie. Brought to you in December. You’re welcome.

Ingredients:
1 unbaked pie crust (see recipe below)
2 eggs
1 cup sucanat (or brown sugar)
1 Tablespoon flour (I use spelt)
2 cups pumpkin puree (usually about one pie pumpkin, roasted, scooped, food-processed)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
12 ounces organic heavy cream

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

In a large bowl, beat two eggs lightly. Add the rest of the ingredients (sucanat, flour, pumpkin puree, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cream). Mix together well.

Pour mixture into unbaked pie crust, leaving a little space at the top (I always have like 1/4 cup leftover, which I either bake in a tiny leftover pie crust or by itself in a small ramekin). Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees; then lower the temperature to 350 F, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes more. The pie is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

_____________

Homemade Pie Crust
Makes one pie crust.
This is one of the very few recipes I can now make from memory, no questions asked, and feel 100% confident that it will turn out well. I love how easy the proportions are and how comfortable the dough feels in my hands. While I’ve only used spelt flours with it, I think regular would work just as well.

To explain this method a little better, we created a how-to video here.

Oh and also: Sweet potato puree or squash puree makes an easy substitute for the pumpkin. I’ve also done combinations of them to make the two cups.

Ingredients:
1 cup flour (I’ve used white spelt, whole-grain spelt, and a combo of the two)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup cold water

Directions:
Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or a fork until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in water. Using your clean hands, shape the dough into a ball and wrap it in plastic. You can refrigerate for four hours or overnight, or you can use it right away.

If you do refrigerate it, then set it on the counter for about 20 minutes or so to thaw before using. Roll out on floured parchment paper, making it larger than the pie pan you want to set it in. Using the parchment to help you move it, turn the crust onto the pie pan, pressing it down and up the sides.

I also usually line my pie plate with buttered parchment, just to make sure it doesn’t stick.

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 33 Comments

  1. Alicia

    I actually just had the conversation about pumpkin pie at Christmas time with someone. Pumpkin pie is mentioned in at least TWO Christmas songs. “later we’ll have some pumpkin pie and we’ll do some caroling” and “headed to Pennsylvania and some homemade pumpkin pie.” I always thought it was a Thanksgiving food too but maybe not?!

  2. Kim

    Do you have any tips for not burning the crust? Maybe it has to do with adjusting the temperature, but every time I’ve made crust from scratch (erm, maybe once) or even from the refrigerator section at the market (erm, more than once), I end up burning the top of the crust. I’ve tried covering in foil, but it’s usually too little too late…and I feel like most people don’t do that.

  3. Shannalee

    TJ, My kind of person! : )

    Alicia, Huh. I didn’t think about that! Vindication!

    Tschitschi, Try it!

    Kim, Hmm. The funny thing is the original pumpkin pie recipe recommended the foil tip, but I’ve never done it. It might be because I don’t make the edges of the crust very high? But I’ve never had it burn.

    Thanks, Redmenace! Another vote for Christmas pie! Yes!

  4. Megan Gordon

    Why oh why do we relegate pumpkin pie to just November? It’s SO GOOD and often takes the back seat to all the madness going on at Thanksgiving anyway. Now I have to admit, I don’t do my own pumpkin but I did start this new method of cooking down the canned pumpkin with the brown sugar until it makes this thick paste: really takes the flavor up to a 10. Highly recommend. And someday I’ll be brave enough to do my own pumpkin puree.

  5. boiled sweets

    No recipe is off season as long as it is very very yummy! This one sure is and I’m giving it a try.
    Moreover this post is a good break from all the cookie recipes I’ve been reading for a week now. Yey! :)

  6. Angela@spinachtiger

    Just last night I saw that Whole Foods is holding a special on pumpkin pies on Christmas Eve and I “what, at Christmas.” But, you are just in time, as these flavors are wonderful all the time. Why don’t we eat pumpkin all year?

  7. Shannalee

    Zita, Yay! I hope you get to try this!

    Megan, Good question! I’m intrigued my your pumpkin paste and kind of want to try doing something like that with homemade pumpkin puree and Sucanat–but I like this pie so much the way it is, I can’t change it, ha! Maybe something else pumpkin though! Hmmm…

    Boiled sweets, Amen! I like that logic!

    Angela, Ha! So even Whole Foods likes pumpkin pie this time of year! Yesss! : )

  8. Maddie

    Here’s my rule: if it’s cold, you can make pumpkin pie. :) December in Chicago probably qualifies on that front, right? I heard there was more snow blowing in yesterday…all the more reason to be stuck inside with something delicious!

  9. Wendi

    YUM!!! Guess what I’m going to be making with that “fresh” pumpkin in my freezer. I like the heavy cream for evaporated milk. I’m going to try that… and I guess I should attempt your crust too.

  10. Delishhh

    Pumpkin goes anytime of the year. I never used to like pumpkin but have grown to love it. Great pie recipe. I had so much pumpkin in November and thought i would be tired of it for awhile but now i am longing for it again.

  11. Shannalee

    Maddie, I looked at the weather app on my phone a few days ago, and every single day for the next week showed snow. Every. day. On the plus side, though, I guess this means lots more time for pie! : ) I have another in the oven right now, ha!

    Philip, Well I actually don’t use a food processor in this recipe (except to puree the pumpkin). For the dough, the butter just gets cut into the flour, which is ideal because it leaves little pieces and makes it so flaky!

    Wendi, Thanks again for hooking us up with the best pumpkin pie ever. We talk about you every time we make it. : )

    Delishhh, I love it, too. One of the best parts of the holiday season!

  12. SMM

    Have you ever tried pumpkin pie that has coconut milk instead of the heavy cream? I haven’t made it yet but it sounds divine.
    This idea that pumpkin pie is merely for Thanksgiving? First I heard of such a thing. Pumpkin pie is good from October – January in my books.

  13. Laura

    Sounds delicious! I love pumpkin pie but I’ve never made it with the real stuff – I always use pumpkin from a can. Your rave reviews on this recipe are enough to make me stop being so lazy and use a real pumpkin… As soon as I get my hands on a pumpkin, I’ll have to prepare this. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  14. Shannalee

    Laura, You won’t regret it! For slightly more detailed instructions: preheat oven to 350 degrees F, slice the pumpkin in half, place it on a oiled baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. You’ll know it’s done when you can pierce it easily with a fork. Take it out and let cool totally, and the skin comes right off. Then put the insides in a food processor and bam! One pie pumpkin usually gives two cups of puree: exactly enough for this recipe. Enjoy!

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  17. Lily

    So I made this yesterday and it is amazing! Crust turned out fine but was sticky right away so I put it in the fridge for about 20 mins and then it was ok. The only issue I had was my filling was runny even after baking for an hour. Did I over fill it? I had leftover but maybe it was still too much? But it was more dense the next day. Should I maybe have let it sit out to cool longer?

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Lily, Oh, I’m sorry to hear that! My best guess would be that the pie needed to bake a little longer? Assuming that the oven temperature, ingredients, and pie plate size were all the same as above, I would guess it’s just the difference of a different oven. I can tell you that when the pie first comes out of the oven, the filling should look set and the crust should look golden. Hope that helps and glad you were able to still enjoy! Thanks for your feedback!

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  20. Samarpita

    Hi shanna recipe sounds so yummy but my son can’t have dairy so what dairy free cream I can use. If u could email me I would really appreciate .

    Thanx a ton.

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