pumpkin pie, the real deal.

October 29, 2012

ppie - whole pumpkin When you’re waiting for a storm, and before the power goes out, I can’t think of a better plan than to mix up a pie so that you can hunker down and feast on it by candlelight if need be. Of course, if you’re not waiting out a storm, spending an afternoon baking a pie and hunkering down to eat it isn’t the worst idea either. With Halloween and Thanksgiving approaching, having a good pumpkin pie recipe on deck is a very good thing, regardless of the weather. ppie - scooped I used Mark Bittman’s recipe to make an easy pumpkin pie and instead of opting for canned pumpkin, I roasted whole sugar pumpkins. The first time I made a pie with whole pumpkins instead of the canned stuff, I was in France and trying to share my favorite Thanksgiving food with French friends. I was nervous that slight differences in ingredients would result in only an approximation of the American treat, but in this case at least, I’m glad I didn’t let my lack of Libby’s discourage me. The real stuff really is better. ppie - roasted halves Roasting pumpkin is also ridiculously easy: just thwack your knife through the pumpkin, scoop out those seeds for later roasting of their own, and place the pumpkins cut side down on a buttered baking dish. I roasted two pumpkins for about an hour, until the flesh was soft and scoopable. If you like a smoother pie, you might choose to blend the pumpkin and the cream with a hand blender. I didn’t and wasn’t bothered a bit by any stringiness. ppie - roasted scooped I like to grind my own spices and so my proportions are a little less precise than Bittman’s. For this pie, I ground enough to yield roughly two combined tablespoons of cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and cardamom (shells removed). ppie - spices ground For the crust, I’d say taking the extra step of pre-baking the crust is well worth it. I’ve had many a pumpkin pie with an uncooked crust, and the extra work makes all the difference. (Nota bene: I skimped on the pie weights (or dried beans) during the pre-bake and my crust shrunk a bit more than I would have liked. Next time I won’t make the same mistake). ppie - pastry After a sweet-scented 30 to 40 minutes of baking, the pie should be ready. A little shake should still result in a slight jiggle at the middle. Allow to cool (James prefers his pie chilled) and add a heaping scoop of whipped cream with a sprinkle of dried ginger. You’ll be in pumpkin heaven. ppie - baked2

Pumpkin Pie, adapted from Mark Bittman

1 pie crust (see here, minus the herbs)
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons or so of spices: I used ground cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and cardamom.
Pinch salt
2 cups pumpkin: The flesh of two small sugar pumpkins equalled about this much
1 cup milk
1 cup cream

1. Prebake the crust (at 475 F) and begin to prepare the filling while crust is in the oven.
2. Beat the eggs with the sugar, and then add salt and spices. Stir in the cooked pumpkin and the milk and cream (or half-and-half). Warm mixture in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Do not boil.
3. Put pie plate on baking sheet in the oven. Reduce oven temp to 350 F. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the crust and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the middle “shakes like Jell-O.” Cool, and serve.

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  • Reply Milynn {Love + Whimsy} October 29, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Beautiful pumpkin pie! I have a couple mini pumpkins like these that I brought home with me from the pumpkin patch. Was going to paint them, but I'm thinking I should make the most out of them and make a pie.

    Also! Was there supposed to be a link to the pie crust? I'd love to try the recipe you used to make it!

  • Reply Gregory Brown October 29, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Be safe up there. Batten your hatches.

    Oh, and what temperature do you roast the pumpkins?

    • Reply Erin October 29, 2012 at 4:12 pm

      Oh! Good question. I think we did a solid 350 F!

  • Reply Anonymous October 29, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    This may seem obvious but when do you add the pumpkin? Is it heated in the saucepan with the eggs, sugar and spices? Have never made a pumpkin pie before!

    Thank you!

    judith b.

    • Reply Erin October 29, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      Oops! Updated recipe!

  • Reply Mary October 29, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    I've tried to make pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkins the past couple of years, and my pie mixture always turns out super runny. I'm going to try this recipe and see if I have more luck! Is there anything special you do to make sure the pie mixture is the right consistency?

    • Reply Erin October 29, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      Hmm. I've never had that problem per se. The mixture is indeed definitely very runny when it goes in the crust, but it should firm up with cooking.

    • Reply Abby October 29, 2012 at 6:52 pm

      I think it has to do with the fat content of the milk you use. I used 1% with my own pie last week (http://keepthehearthfiresburning.blogspot.com/2012/10/pumpkin-pie.html) and it took much longer than expected to bake. But cream and full-fat milk should do the trick.

      Also, I agree, roasted pumpkin is so much better than canned!

  • Reply Rebecca D. Martin October 29, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    We just did a pumpkin pie (for my husband's birthday, instead of cake – lucky me!) with real pumpkin. Actually, I used butternut squash. It was delicious. I'll never go back to canned pumpkin again!

    • Reply Erin October 29, 2012 at 4:18 pm

      Awesome! I think the canned stuff is typically made from butternut squash anyway (but fresh is always better)!

  • Reply Alexa October 29, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    i've always been a little intimidated by the thought of making pumpkin pie from scratch, but this looks totally doable!

  • Reply Kristen October 29, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Ok, I have to admit how dumb I am! I thought the pumpkin came from the goo in the seeds! No idea you roasted the actual pumpkin!! Guess you can tell I use can pumpkin!

  • Reply BostonGemmie October 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    If my oven loved me as much as I loved it..I could cook more pies!!! It always burns it or cooks half of it and not the other half!!

    Looks yummy!!! Did you use real whip cream??

    Be safe up there in New York!!!

  • Reply laura October 29, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Ooh la la! This looks so yummy!

  • Reply Hannah Margaret Allen October 29, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Does it make that much of a difference to do the actual pumpkin, instead of the canned? I'm so curious. Is it horribly time consuming?


  • Reply Martha Rule October 29, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Yummy pics! I want to try this for pumkin muffins now šŸ™‚

  • Reply Evelyn of Smallish October 29, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Wow, what beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing, Erin.

  • Reply drew October 29, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Now I wish I had stocked up on pie supplies before the storm. :/ Hope you guys stay cozy and safe over in BK! I'll be mulling some spices to distract me from the loud gusts battering my tiny Philly apartment.

  • Reply Liv November 10, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    I'm going to try this (and make a practice pie before Thanksgiving) since I'm recently lactose-intolerant and am forced to make delicious food from scratch more often than not. Of course, I'll be using almond milk, so wish me luck that it doesn't ruin my pie!

  • Reply Nate November 12, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Curious… is there a benefit to roasting your squash cut side down? I've always done mine the opposite, but now it's got me thinking…

    • Reply Erin November 12, 2012 at 10:08 pm

      Hey, Nate! I've always roasted face down. I'm no expert, but I've always figured it traps the moisture and gets things cooking faster!

  • Reply tea moss November 23, 2012 at 4:01 am

    Hi Erin. I made it! Loved your recipe, thanks so much. I used fresh Australian pumpkin (I'm not sure what type it was) the pie turned out really nice. I shared your link. Best wishes.

  • Reply Sarah November 24, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Thanks for sharing this–I think I've found my forever pumpkin pie recipe. This was a big hit on our Thanksgiving table (and for breakfast the next day!)–definitely worthy of our home-grown pumpkins.

    I put my roasted pumpkin through a food mill (fitted with the blade with the largest holes) and this got rid of any stringiness but the pumpkin still had some nice texture, unlike the canned stuff. I mention this just because I'm a big food mill partisan these days. šŸ™‚

  • Reply Michelle Justine December 6, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Can't believe you roasted your own pumpkins! MAJOR props to you! It looks fantastic.

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