Monday, November 26, 2012

Walt's pumpkin pie

I like pumpkin pie and try to make at least one during the holiday season. My pie doesn't resemble the very sweet, highly spiced pies I remember in the US. I cut down on the sugar and spices so that the taste of the pumpkin comes through.

A mini-version of the pie that I made with the leftover filling from the larger pie.

This year I used a butternut squash that I grew in the garden. In past years I've grown pumpkins and used them, but butternut works just as well and has a similar flavor. You could even use sweet potatoes in place of the squash. So here's my modified recipe:

Walt's pumpkin pie
  • 2 cups roasted pumpkin pulp (or butternut, red kuri, or other similar squash), see below
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream (I mix cream with non-fat milk for a lighter pie)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves or 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest*
  • 1 pie crust

A day or two before you make the pie, roast a pumpkin or squash by cutting it in half, removing the seeds, putting the halves face-down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, then baking them at 350ºF (180ºC) for about half an hour or until the flesh is tender. When the roasted squash is cool, scoop out the flesh and refrigerate it until needed.

Preheat oven to 425ºF (210ºC).

Mix sugars, salt, spices, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Beat the eggs and yolk and add to the bowl. Stir in the pumpkin. Stir in the cream. Whisk all together until well incorporated. I used a stand mixer for this step.

Pour the mixture into a partially baked pie shell (blind bake with pie weights for about 20 minutes then let cool while mixing the pie filling). Bake the filled pie at 425ºF (210ºC) for about 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350º (180ºC) and bake another 30 to 40 minutes until the filling is set and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Don't over-bake the pie; the surface will dry out and cracks will form.

If there is any filling left over, you can make mini-pies with leftover crust, or just bake the filling without crust in buttered ramekins. The filling will keep a day or two in the fridge if you're not ready to use it right away.

Cool the pie on a rack before serving with whipped cream. In France, I use un-whipped crème fraiche with a little brown sugar added to lightly sweeten it.

*I didn't have any lemon zest when I made the pie, so I substituted 1/4 tsp freshly ground coriander seeds. I ground them with a mortar and pestle, but you can use a spice grinder if you have one. The fresh seeds add a nice lemony flavor in place of fresh lemon zest.


  1. Thanks for posting the recipe, which is now copied to my "bake soon" file.

  2. Thanks from me too!
    I recently made a pumpkin spice cake using tinned pumpkin purée, which is not easy to get hold of here. Next time I think I will use roasted butternut squash as per this recipe.

  3. Very nice looking, Walt:) That's the same amount of sugar that my ages-old recipe calls for. I'll be the addition of cardamom is a nice difference.

    Some friends of mine made their pumpkin pie this year with some fresh ginger mixed into the crust somehow. I understand that it was quite good!

  4. Robb prefers sweet potato pie. I like both. I don't think I've ever had a squash pie. Good to see you're having some nice weather for a day or two.

  5. Oh my goodness, this looks delicious! Only once in my life did I make pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkin. It was a lot of trouble but well worth it for that subtle, heavenly flavor that you just cannot get from a can. Thanks for sharing Walt.

  6. Love it love it especially the lemon zest and cardamom suggestions!!
    Sooo good with a touch of low-sweetened whipped cream!!! Very much like my recipe out of Joy of Cooking, roasted pumpkin and all. hope you enjoyed every last bit!!!

  7. Walt - The only details I was expecting about the Apple/Ad was just what you shared in responding to Judith's comments and mine! Well Done. Perhaps they will be watching and using more of your excellent photographs in the future! Good luck.

  8. I would love to try some, for pumpkin pies (here) taste all alike. Mr. Keillor once called pumpkin pie a symbol of mediocrity; the worst ones taste no different than the better ones.
    Perhaps your is beyond and more delicious and 'real'? I bet it is!

  9. keir, you bet! Let me know how it turns out.

    jean, we use the tinned stuff all the time in the US. Fresh is better, but some people don't have the time.

    judy, that sounds good. I'll have to try it sometime.

    starman, I like both, too.

    ron, it's worth the work, which is not really all that much work. It's just a matter of having the time.

    kassandra, we did!

    mary, I hope so!

    michael, I'd like to think so. I enjoy tasting the pumpkin, not masking it with sugar and too much spice.

  10. Looks Delish!! Love the rich colour.. I may try this for our Thanksgiving on Sunday.. What crust do you use?!

    1. leesa, I used my own home-made pâte brisée. :)


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