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Best Pumpkin Pie - From a Real Pumpkin
Best Pumpkin Pie - From a Real Pumpkin
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recipe (short version)
You probably take pumpkin pie from canned pumpkin for granted.
You're there, the can is there, there's a pumpkin on the label... open it and
mix it up with spices to make a pie, right? Ah, but a pumpkin pie made
from a fresh pumpkin tastes so much better than the glop that was processed last
year! This recipe makes a light and fluffy pumpkin pie! Here's how to do it, complete instructions in easy steps and
fully illustrated. And it is much easier than you think, using my
"patented" tips and tricks! This makes a light, fluffy pumpkin
pie with a fresh, traditional pumpkin pie taste. I can assure you that
this will be the best pumpkin pie you've ever made! This is also a great
thing to do with your kids! Children just love pumpkins: growing
them, carving them, and making a pie from them! And who cares if
Libby's says there will be a shortage of canned pumpkin this year? As long
as you can find a pumpkin or a butternut squash, you can make a BETTER
You can even freeze the pie after cooking it.
And if you want a unique and special pumpkin pie, try
this pumpkin pie
with a pecan topping
- it is (al together now) aaaawe-some!
you want to try a super healthy alternative, try my
new carrot pie recipe. This
"faux pumpkin pie
" looks and tastes just like a pumpkin pie, but is
made from carrots instead. It's even easier and faster to make! I
can gaurantee, your guests won't know the difference; they'll just think
it's the best pumpkin pie, they've ever had!
If you're ready for some
pumpkin pie humor, after making
one, you might want to see this page
If you like this recipe, you'll probably also like my
easy pumpkin cheesecake
complete, easy directions to cook a
easy, tasty, healthy turkey gravy
. And if you have never canned or made jam, applesauce, apple butter,
etc, before, never fear, it is easy with my
. Don't forget to use
see these Christmas tree farm pages
to find a cut-your-own tree farm
or fresh-cut farm or lot near you! They're loads of fun, often
with Santa visits, sleigh rides or hayrides, sometimes even live
reindeer and more.
Just have a Jack O Lantern?
If all you have is a Jack O Lantern pumpkin (no pie pumpkin or butternut
squash) then see this
page for the recipe to make a pie from an ordinary carving pumpkin.
Directions for Making Pumpkin Pie
Yield: It really depends on the size
of the pumpkin and the size of your pie plate. If you use a 6" pie
pumpkin and a full deep dish 9" pie plate, then it should fill that pie
to the brim and maybe have enough extra for either a small (4 inch) shallow pie
(or a crustless pie - see step 11).
Some people manage to make 2
full pies, especially if they use shallow pie plates and/or 8 inch pie
Ingredients and Equipment
- A sharp, large serrated knife
- an ice cream scoop
- a large microwaveable bowl or large pot
- 1 large (10 inch) deep-dish pie plate and pie crust (Click here for
illustrated pie crust
instructions! they will open in a new window) - or two small pie
plates (9 inch) and crusts (Metric: a 10 inch pie plate is a pie
plate with a diameter of 25 cm, and a depth of almost 5 cm)
- a pie pumpkin (see step 1; you can use different types of
pumpkin or even a butternut squash)
- 1 cup sugar (see step 9 for alternatives, such as Stevia, honey or
Splenda) (metric: 200 grams)
- 1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon (metric: 3.8 grams)
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves (metric: 2 grams)
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice (metric: 2 grams) ( Other names for
allspice are: Piment de la Jamaïque, Maustepippuri, Kryddpeppar,
Piment, Korzennik lekarski, Ienibahar, Pimentovník pravý)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (metric: 1.25 grams)
- Optional: 1/2 teaspoon mace (which you'll find in the very old
pumpkin pie recipes)
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional) (metric: 20 grams)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional, I don't
- 4 large eggs - to reduce fat and cholesterol, you may use egg
whites (like "Egg Beaters) instead, and vegans may want to use
this page for more information about egg substitutes)
- 3 cups pumpkin glop (ok... "sieved,
cooked pumpkin") (metric: 0.7 litre)
- 1.5 cans (12oz each) of evaporated
milk (I use the nonfat version) for best results. (metric: each can
is about .35 liter, or about a half liter total))
Note for the UK and Europe: Nestle Carnation has two sizes
of cans in England: 170g and 410g - the large 410g can is 14 fl. oz.
and the small 170g can is 5 fl. oz. (the same as the small can in
the US). Use one of each (19 fl. oz. total) in your pie.
If you can't get
canned evaporated milk, make your own from nonfat dried milk and make it twice as
concentrated as the directions on the box call for!
If you can't get nonfat dried milk, just use
If you are lactose-intolerant, use lactose-free milk or
One visitor tried fresh whipping cream (unwhipped) and reported
the pie "turned out wonderful! "
Another suggests using
coconut milk, if you are allergic to dairy.
Note: if you do not have cinnamon, cloves, allspice and ginger, you
can substitute 3 teaspoons of "pumpkin pie spice". It's not
exactly the same, but it will do.
Note: If you can't get evaporated milk, you can substitute nonfat
dried milk - make it twice as concentrated as the directions on the box
say to reconstitute it. It won't be the same as evaporated milk, but it
ought to come close.
Recipe and Directions
Yield: One 9-inch deep dish pie or two 8-inch shallow
Step 1 - Get your pie pumpkin
"Pie pumpkins" are smaller, sweeter, less
grainy textured pumpkins than the usual jack-o-lantern types.
Grocery stores usually carry them in late September through December in
the U.S. In some parts of the country, they are also called sugar
pumpkins or even "cheese pumpkins". Go figure that one. Note: the Libby's can of cooked pumpkin is just there
for reference - it is the small can, so that gives you an idea of the size
of a typical pie pumpkin.
you must use
caned pumpkin, you can get organic canned pumpkin in a BPA-free can
clock on the box at right:
They're only about 6 to 8 inches in diameter
(about 20 to 24 inches in circumference).
TIP: If you're in a pinch and can't find a pie pumpkin, here's a tip: butternut
squash taste almost the same! And many farmers will tell you that "Neck
Squash", Jarradale Blue Hubbard, Cinderella and Long Island Cheese winter
squashes are all considered to make a better tasting pumpkin pie. Commercial canned pumpkin is from a
variety of butternut, not true pumpkins! If you insist on using a regular Jack O'
Lantern type pumpkin, you may need to add about 25% more sugar and run the
cooked pumpkin through a blender or food processor to help smooth it out.
Just like selecting any squash, look for one
that is firm, no bruises or soft spots, and a good orange color.
One 6" pie pumpkin usually makes one 10 inch deep dish pie
bit extra; or two 9 inch shallow pies! If you have
extra goop, you can always pour it into greased baking pans and make a
crustless mini pie with the excess (and the cooked pies do freeze well!)
If you live in the Far East (Thailand, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, etc.) and
cannot get a pumpkin or a butternut squash, I'm told that Japanese pumpkins
make a great substitute. Just cube the meat into small cubes and steam them
for 35 minutes. The rest of the preparation is the same and I'm told the
taste is great.
Step 2 - Prepare the pumpkin for cooking
Wash the exterior of the pumpkin in cool or
warm water, no soap.
Cut the pumpkin in half. A serrated
knife and a sawing motion works best - a smooth knife is more likely to slip
and hurt you! A visitor suggests using a hand saw.
Step 3 - Scoop out the seeds...
And scrape the insides. You want to
get out that stringy, dangly stuff that coats the inside surface. I
find a heavy ice cream scoop works great for this.
Note: SAVE THE SEEDS:
The seeds can be used either to plant pumpkins next year,
or roasted to eat this year! Place them in a bowl of water and rub them
between your hands. then pick out the orange buts (throw that
away) and drain off the water. Spread them out on a clean towel or paper
towel to dry and they're ready to save for next year's planting or roast.
Click here for roasting instructions!
(opens in a new window)
Step 4 - Cooking the pumpkin
There are several ways to cook the
pumpkin; just choose use your preferred method. Most people have
microwaves and a stove, so I'll describe both of those methods here. But
others make good arguments in favor of using a pressure cooker or
baking in the oven. At the end of this
document, I've included alternative instructions to replace step 4, if you'd
rather use a different method.
Method 1 - Bake in the oven
You can also bake the prepared pumpkin in the oven, just like a butternut
squash. This method takes the longest. Basically, you cut and scoop out the
pumpkin as for the other methods, place it cut side down into a covered oven container.
ovenproof container (with a lid), and pop it in an 350 F (165 C) oven. It normally takes about 45
minutes to 90 minutes (it can vary a lot!); just test it periodically by sticking it with a fork to see
if it is soft!
Method 2 - Steam on the stovetop
You can also cook it on the stovetop; it takes about the same
length of time in a steamer (20 to 30 minutes). I use a double pot steamer, but you
could use an ordinary large pot with a steamer basket inside it!:
Method 3 - Put it in a microwaveable bowl
Remove the stem, and put the pumpkin into a
microwaveable. You may need to cut the pumpkin further to make it fit.
The fewer the number of pieces, the easier it will to scoop out the cooked
Put a couple of inches of water in the bowl,
cover it, and put in the microwave. I cook it on high until it is
soft. That may take 20 minutes or more, so like anything else, try 15
minutes, see how much it is softened, then do 5 minute increments until it
Cook the pumpkin until it is soft
Whichever method you use, cook the pumpkin until it is soft and will
separate from the skin.
Step 5 - Scoop out the cooked pumpkin
you cook the pumpkin on the stove, microwave, or even the oven, once it
is cooked until it is soft, it is easy to scoop out the guts with a broad, smooth spoon, (such as a
tablespoon). Use the spoon to gently lift and scoop the cooked pumpkin out of the skin.
It should separate easily an in fairly large chucks, if the pumpkin is
times the skin or rind will simply lift off with your fingers (see the
photo at left) . I'll bet you didn't realize making your own
pumpkin glop... err, "puree" was this easy!
Note: there are many varieties of pumpkin and some make
better pies that other (due to sugar content, flavor, texture and water content.
Drier, sweeter, fine-grained pies; the small (8" across) ones called "pie
pumpkins" are best.
If your pumpkin puree has standing, free water, you may want to let it sit
for 30 minutes and then pour off any free water. That will help prevent
you pie from being too watery! Beyond, that, I have not found that the water
makes a difference - I wouldn't be TOO concerned about it! The
recipe accounts for the liquid!
Tip on using the liquid: Comments from a visitor on
November 26, 2009: "Any suggestions or use for the pumpkin juice left
over after draining the cooked pumpkin? I keep thinking there must be some
good use - maybe soup or in cookies or something?"
You can use it as a replacement for water, and in some cases, milk, in recipes,
like soups, cookies, breads, muffins and even pancakes and waffles, where it
adds a very nice flavor!
Tip from a visitor: "I make my own pumkin
pies from scratch all the time. To eliminate watery pumpkin I strain my
pureed pumpkin through a cloth overnight. If I use frozen pumpkin I do
the same again as it thaws out. It works great and my pies cook
Another visitor reported success using coffee
filters in a sieve to drain out excess water.
Again, don't go to great lengths to remove water;
the recipe accounts for the fact that fresh pumpkin is more watery than
Step 6 - Puree the pumpkin
get a nice, smooth consistency, I use a Pillsbury hand blender. By
blending it, you give the pie a smooth, satiny texture; rather than the
rough graininess that is typical of cooked squashes.
A regular blender works, too (unless you
made a few frozen daiquiris and drank them first..). Or a food processor
or even just a hand
mixer with time and patience.
With the hand blender, it just takes 2 or 3
Another visitor says using a food mill, like a Foley Food Mill, with
a fine screen, accomplishes the blending/pureeing very well, too!
7 - Done with the pumpkin!
The pumpkin is now cooked and ready for the
pie recipe. Notice the bright yellow / light orange color. Not like that gray glop from a can. Get the frozen daiquiris out from step 6 and take a
Note: You may freeze the
puree or pie filling to use it later! Just use a freezer bag or
other container to exclude as much air as possible.
It should last a year or more in a deep freezer On the other
hand, you may NOT "can" it:
See this page for the
safety reasons why you shouldn't can it.)
Step 8 - Make the pie crust
Yes, I know there are ready-made pie crusts in the frozen section at
the store, but they really are bland and doughy. A flaky crust is
easy to make! Again, note that unless you use large, deep dish pie
plates, you may have enough for 2 pies.
It is also time to start preheating the oven.
Turn it on and set it to 425 F (210 C, for those in Europe)
Click here for illustrated pie crust
(it will open in a new window)
Step 9 - Mix the pie contents
All the hard work is behind you! Here's
where it gets really easy. If you start with a fresh 8" pie pumpkin, you
will get about 3 cups of cooked, mashed pumpkin. The right amount of
ingredients for this is as follows:
- 1 cup sugar (metric: 300 grams). Instead of sugar, you could use
honey (use 1.25 cups),
natural sugar (1 cup),
agave (1 cup),
brown sugar (1 cup),
Stevia (1/3 cup) or
Splenda (1.25 cups).
If you are
using artificial sweeteners (Splenda or Stevia) you'll find that
they taste prettty good, but you'll get better results when you do a
50-50 mix with sugar or honey. And diabetics, you can use Stevia or
Splenda alone, in place of sugar and get pretty decent results.
- 1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- one half teaspoon ground ginger
- one half teaspoon salt (optional, I don't
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups pumpkin glop (ok... "sieved,
- 1.5 cans (12oz each) of evaporated
milk (I use the nonfat version) (note for those in France:
evaporated milk in France is called "lait concentre'"; "lait evapore'"
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional) (metric: 20 grams)
Mix well using a hand blender or mixer.
Note: You may substitute 4 teaspoons of "pumpkin
pie spice" instead of the cinnamon, cloves, allspice and ginger.
But I think you get better results with the separate spices.
Note: The vast majority of people tell me this is the best pumpkin
pie they've ever had. It's light and fluffy - however... if you want a
heavy, more dense pie, use 3 eggs instead of 4 and 1 can of evaporated
milk instead of 1.5)
Step 10 - Pour into the pie crust
Some people like to bake the pie crust in the oven for 3 minutes before
filling it. I don't and the pies turn out great!
I like a deep, full pie, so I fill it right
up to about one quarter to one half inch from the very top.
Don't be surprised if the mixture is very runny! It may start as a soupy liquid,
but it will firm up nicely in the oven! Note: the
pie crust is brown because I used whole wheat flour! Tastes the same, but
TIP: If you
put the empty pie crust on your oven rack, with the rack slid partially
out, you can fill it there and avoid making a mess while carrying the pie
to the oven!
TIP: What do you
do if you end up with more filling than will fit in your pie crust(s)?
Easy! Of course, you can make another, smaller pie crust and fill
a small pie pan... or just grease any baking dish, of a size that the
extra filling will fill to a depth of about 2 inches (see the photo at
right), and pour the extra
filling in.. then bake it. It will be a crustless pumpkin pie that
kids especially love! You can also use it in making
pumpkin muffins or
may want to cover the exposed edges of the crust with strips of aluminum
foil to prevent them from burning! Some people make their own crust
cover by cutting the rim off of a disposable aluminum pie pan!
Step 11 - Bake the pie
Bake at 425 F (210 C ) for the first 15 minutes, then
turn the temperature down to 350 F ( 175 C ) and bake another 45 to
60 minutes, until a clean knife inserted into the center comes out
Here is the finished pie, right out of the
I use a blunt table knife to test
the pie. The one at left has already been stuck in the pie, and you
see it comes out pretty clean, when the pie is done.
Step 12 - Cool the pie
or chilled, with whipped cream , ice cream or nothing at all - it's great!
You can even freeze the pie after cooking it. I just lay
a piece of plastic wrap (cling film) tight on the pie, after it cools down, then
pop it in the freezer.
Later, I take the frozen pie out of the freezer, put it in the fridge for about 24 hours, and then either heat it in the oven
(350 F for about 15 minutes; just to warm it up) or the microwave for a few
Alternative Cooking methods for step 4
If you don't have a microwave, or prefer another method, try these:
Stovetop steaming - Place your steaming basket
or grid in the bottom of a large pot. Put enough water so it won't boil dry in
20 minutes, and yet is not so high that the pumpkin is touching the water level.
You may need to add more water during the cooking. Add the pumpkin prepared in
step 3, and get the steamer going. The cooking time is only between 8 and 12
minutes, depending on the range (gas or electric), and the pumpkin literally
falls off the skin.
Pressure cooker - Place your grid in the bottom of the pressure cooker. If your
pressure cooker came with directions, follow those for pumpkin and/or winter
squash, like butternut squash. If, like most people, you've long since lost the
directions, try this: Add enough water to just touch the bottom of the grid or
shelf that you will place the pumpkin on. Add the pumpkin prepared in step 3,
put the lid with the gasket, the weight and anything else your cooker requires
in place, and turn the heat on high. Once it starts hissing, turn it to medium
or medium high. The cooking time should only be about 10 minutes, and the
pumpkin should literally fall out of its skin.
Crockpot - Clean and slice the pumpkin and set the
temperature to either high or low (depending on how soon you are able to
get back to the kitchen). The crockpot is forgiving enough that the
pumpkin can be left in it for a time even after it is tender, at least on
the low setting. Turn off the crockpot and let the pumpkin sit in it
awhile. A lot of liquid will be released as the pumpkin cools. Once the
pumpkin is cool enough to handle, scrape out the flesh, place in a wire
strainer, and mash with a spoon to release additional liquid. Leave the
pumpkin in the strainer and place in the refrigerator for several hours to
drain off any remaining liquid.
Tips from Visitors
Making a pie with a Jack O' Lantern: Comments from a visitor on November 10, 2008:
"I have a suggestion for those who want to use a jack o lantern pumpkin. My son
was so happy when he went on his first field trip to the pumpkin patch. He made
me promise to make pumpkin pies with his big giant pumpkin. I did just as you
said baked it, put it in the frig over night. Then I put the pieces in a pot and
cooked it until it was like mush added a big cinnamon stick and and the sugar
boiled some of the water out and 4 great pies. Thank you for your recipe it
worked wonder full!!!"Excess pumpkin goop?
Comments from a visitor on November 30, 2009:
"I love your pumpkin pie
recipe! I've used it for two years now and the recipe is so dependable and
thorough. One great way to use up the leftover pie filling is using it to
make Pumpkin French Toast - it already had the eggs, milk, and spice. Just
dip the bread in the filling and throw on the skillet. The toast goes
great with a bit of melted butter, powdered sugar and some maple sugar! "
Covering the edges of the crust: Comments from a visitor on November 19, 2008:
"After having lost my old
beloved recipe, I tried this one and have to say this one is top notch!
One tip that might help to pass on (especially to new pie makers) is to
cover the edges with aluminum foil to prevent the crust from burning. It
really works and makes those yummy pie crusts as delicious as the rest
of the pie!"
Mashing the cooked pumpkin: Comments from a visitor on November 26, 2008:
"Hello, great site here. I
tried your pumpkin pie recipe and it came out great. Just wanted to add
my two cents on pumpkin pie making. After cooking the pumpkin and
scooping it out, you can use a potato ricer to mash it. When you first
put the pumpkin in ricer and squeeze the handles together you get a
decent amount of water squeezed out first. Then I put the ricer over
bowl and squeeze the pumpkin out. The ricer mashes and gets water out at
same time. Plus, another good thing is that a lot of the fiberous
strings in pumpkin gets trapped at bottom of the ricer cup and not in
the pumpkin puree. I bought my potato ricer at bed bath and beyond for
fifteen bucks, so its cheap too. Hope this helps."
Maple syrup instead of sugar: Comments from a visitor on
December 08, 2009:
"Really like your site wanted to comment on the
sugar alternatives , we use maple syrup 1 cup boiled down for thickness
adds great flavor. Thanks "
Comments from a visitor on November 19, 2008: "I learned a trick about
baking large squashes and pumpkins many years ago. I just poke a few
holes in it, put it on a baking sheet whole, and bake it at around 325
degrees until the squash/pumpkin is tender. When it's cool, it's easy to
cut in half, scoop out the seeds, and peel. It is also much less watery
this way. This has always worked well for me. You do have to start a
little earlier, though. Baking it this way and then letting it get cool
enough to handle
Comments from a visitor on November 20, 2008: "I have
made pumpkin pies from pumpkins for years and the best, most flavorful
method is to cut in half, oil and roast, face down on high heat -- it
carmelizes a bit, then I do drain it and boil down the water til it is
thick and medium caramel color and add it to the puree -- adds a lot of
flavor. yum :)"
Oven prep method: Comments from a visitor on November 26, 2008: "Another way to prep
pumpkin that seems to get a consistent non-stringy finish regardless of
pumpkin species: 1. Halve pumpkin and remove innards. 2. Place halves
face-down on a greased cookie sheet. 3. Roast at 400 long enough for
skins to visibly darken. 4. All species will come out firm, golden, and
generally already separated from the shell. 5. Puree can be accomplished
with a potato masher if desired. More watery pumpkins will drain and
cook like pie pumpkins. Though messier in your oven, I have the best
luck using a flat cookie sheet that allows the water to drain off and
burn in the oven."
Starting with a frozen pumpkin: Comments from a visitor on November 27,
2008: "Just wanted to add to your ideas about making pumpkin pies
out of fresh pumpkins. I was preparing to make my pies for Thanksgiving
and realized I had forgot to buy pumpkin. I read your site about the
different ways to make pumpkin pies from fresh pumpkin ~ and, having
pumpkins on my front porch for fall decorations, I went and grabbed one
to use only to discover it had been frozen solid! (Our temps had dropped
to 7° a few days before.) I had no choice but to give it a try. As it
started to thaw it became soft. Here's what I did: Cut out the stem, cut
the whole thing in half, scooped out the seeds, peeled the halves - I
actually cut those in half to make peeling easier - and cubed the
remaining into little bitty pieces. I put it all in a large covered
sauce pan and slowly cooked it. Once they got soft enough I took a
potato masher to it and cooked some more. Worked GREAT! I'll put it in a
blender before using, but it was easy! Just cook real slow so as not to
burn or scorch. But the frozen pumpkin started the break-down process
and made cooking them much quicker and simpler. Just thought it a good
alternative if anyone was interested. Thanks for the great site!!"
What to do with extra pumpkin goop: Comments from a visitor on November 03,
2009: "I didn't read too carefully and only bought one 9 in pie crust,
I had so much left over mixture! I quickly grabbed my muffin pans and
those cute little paper inserts- I put approx 5-6 mini marshmallows in
each one then filled 16 spots with the mixture. It was exactly the right
amount of mixture. Let them sit for just a moment to allow the mellows to
rise to the top (always add the mellows first because when pouring the
mixture on top of them it coats the mellow to make the top brown in the
oven much better) then finished filling them (the levels lower as the
mellows rise). Baked at 350 for approx 30 minutes. They were GREAT and so
easy to bring to work the following morning! as a side note - i have 2
more pumpkins and look forward to making more goodies in the coming week
or so. I LOVE this site, its easy to follow and with all your pictures I
know i'm doing things right. I DONT cook or bake on a regular basis. In
fact, this was the very first pie i EVER attempted - homemade OR canned.
Anyway, i think that the mini-pies are really great addition to those
wishing to share the desert with co-workers or family members. no cutting
or serving. also, the marshmellows add a little something! mmmmmmmm
mmmmmmmmmm good! ~J"
Comments from a visitor on June 10, 2010: "Pumpkin Pie - Another idea for left over pie filling - Turn it into
muffins. I had about 2 1/2 cups of left over filling (all ingredients
combined) and thought, what can I do with this? I then I looked at the
pumpkin bread recipe and thought, hmmm not too dissimilar. So here's what
I did - I made pumpkin muffins!!! I took about 1 1/2 cups of plain flour,
1 tsp baking powder and mixed together, then added 1/3 cup oil and the 2
1/2 cups of my left over mixture. Put it into a muffin tin and baked till
done (about 20mins cooking at the same time as the pie) turned out great!
The amount of flour used would depend on your leftover but I used same
approx ratios as the pumpkin bread recipe."
Using a "Cinderella" pumpkin - Be sure to drain the pumpkin very well before
mashing it or putting it through the food processor.
These pumpkins are very runny.
It should be similar in consistency to canned pumpkin - otherwise the pies
may not "set up" and be runny.
Pumpkins roasting over an open fire? Comments from a visitor on November
08, 2009: "I took another alternative to cooking my pumpkin... I
wrapped it in aluminum foil and put it out in a bon fire... cooked it
really well. Then let it chill in the night air, the next morning it was
so easy to work with. It was great and very energy saving."
Using Japanese Pumpkins: A visitor writes
I am in
Hokkaido, Japan, and locally grown kabocha (Japanese pumpkins) are easy to come
by. I gave your recipe a try and figured out the following things. Yes, they work very well! Kabocha are also naturally VERY sweet; you have to
reduce the sugar a bit. One kabocha looks about the same size as one pie
pumpkin, but kabocha have very thin shells. (At least, the ones in Hokkaido do.)
So out of half a kabocha I got about two cups of "glop". The texture is
naturally very smooth. It took me very little effort to get very smooth glop,
even without a hand mixer or blender. My husband loved the pie. We hadn't had a
good pumpkin pie in a long time.Coconut milk: Comments from a visitor on October 16, 2010:
"Hi! Great pumpkin pie recipe! I
however used vanilla coconut milk instead of evaporated milk. My son is
allergic to milk and soy scares me! The coconut milk is a little thicker
than regular milk and added a little more sweetness. I cut the sugar down
to 1/3 c. Thanks so much for sharing! "Vegan pumpkin
Hi, Thanks for the great pumpkin pie recipe. I just
wanted to suggest another option that you can add for vegans... instead of
the 4 eggs you can use 2 mashed bananas. This gives the pie a sweeter,
richer flavor and bananas are much easier to find than Ener-G egg
replacer. Anyway, I just wanted to suggest that for your recipe. Thanks!
you for the pie recipe and all the great tips for substitutions. I am
currently living in Japan with no access to an oven. I was afraid I would
have to celebrate Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie, but I didn't want to
go down without a fight. I decided to try making your pumpkin pie in my
rice cooker - and it worked! It doesn't have a crust, but I figure we can
dollop it onto cookies or just eat it like a pudding. I also saw a website
that said you could butter the rice cooker and press the crust dough up
the sides. Supposedly, if it is thin enough, it will cook through - I
haven't tried that yet. Here are the alterations I made for pie filling in
a 3 cup rice cooker: 1/2 a kabocha pumpkin (as recommended already) 2 eggs
1 small carton of whipping cream 1/2 cup sugar spices as you suggested I
had to run it through the rice cooker cycle twice, but it came out
perfect. You made our Thanksgiving. Thank you!"Trouble
mashing or too watery? Comments from a visitor on September 16, 2011:
your pumpkin pie page, many comments from other readers have said they've
had trouble with mashing and watery pumpkins. I've found a few ways to
deal with these issues. A watery pumpkin is a blessing as I toss it into a
powerful blender and pulverize it down (you'd burn out a powerful blender
otherwise, or you can add a little water/juice to get the thinner
consistency). Another option is to use an immersion blender, although that
does take some time if you don't have a good blender. To get excess water
out, I just toss the puree' into a crock pot and cook it down for a few
hours. It's the perfect time to spice it up, and the house smells
fantastic during the process, and leftovers (should there be any) can be
used for a quick eat pumpkin butter, muffins, breads, or cookies. The only
downside is that it makes you hungry! "Excess water? Give
it to your dog! Comments from a visitor on October 02, 2011:
"I was just
reading your pumpkin pie "glop" recipe and would like to contribute a
suggestion for what to do with the left over pumpkin water -- give it to
your dogs! My little red terror [terrier] and Irish wolfhound both loved
to drink it once it is cooled. (Unsweetened and without spices, of course)
I'm sure it must have beta-carotene in it (great cancer fighter and good
for their heart, as well as any of the water soluble vitamins -- and have
hardly any calories. I use your canning recipes often, and make great use
of your tips and shortcuts. Thanks for "being there". Carolyn "Condensed Milk: Comments from a visitor on November 08, 2011:
"I have used your recipe for many
years now and last year I forgot to buy the evaporated milk. My neighbor
gave me s cans of Nestle Table Cream and I used it with the same
measurements as evaporated milk and the pies came out fluffier and a bit
sweeter. I will be using table cream for now on."Mace and more
eggs: Comments from a visitor on November 03, 2011:
"I have been making
pumpkin pie from scratch for 30 years, and I started off by reading a few
18th century and 19th century cookbooks that had the recipe in them. The
only thing that seems to be missing from your page, is the spice "mace."
For those who don't know that spice, it is ground up outer fiber strands
from around the nutmeg nut. Some people like it, and others apparently
don't -- but I can't imagine a pumpkin pie without it. And some trivia for
those who really want to taste a truly old fashioned pie, double the
spices and use more eggs, up to 8 in a pie."Cutting the pumpkin
open: Comments from a visitor on November 07, 2011:
"Opening pumpkins, hard
squash, etc. I find that an inexpensive cleaver (not the thin Chinese
cleaver) and a short dowel -2') work very well and very quickly. On your
chopping board, lay the squash/pumpkin with the stem end facing away from
you. Cradle the squash in a couple of kitchen towels so that it won't
roll. Put the edge of the cleaver dead in the middle of the pumpkin, to
cut along the axis with the stem. Wack cleaver with dowel. Instant split
squash/pumpkin (for the timid / or the tough squash - several wacks may be
necessary). A sub $10.00 hardware store cleaver is perfect for the job."
Making a more dense pie: A visitor writes on October 21, 2013:
"I made your pumpkin pie recipe tonight for the first time. It was indeed
the fluffiest pumpkin pie I've ever had, but I discovered that I greatly
prefer a dense pumpkin pie. As I was mixing it, I saw that it looked way
too thin for my taste, so I added the rest of my foley-milled pumpkin, 6
cups instead of 3. It turned out that that helped. I couldn't remove any
of the milk or cream. For my tastes, I think 6 cups of pumpkin, 4 eggs, as
you have and 9 oz of milk or cream. Apart from this rather idiosyncratic
complaint, your recipe was everything it claimed to be. The spice blend
was quite good. I'd not guessed that ginger would be so valuable a flavor.
I'd been thinking only cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Using a fresh pumpkin,
not canned, makes the most important difference. My kids loved it. I made
a creme brulee, a vanilla cream/pudding and served that warm on top of the
pie. It was all a big hit! Perhaps you might mention that this is a
particularly fluffy pie and that for a denser pie, use half the milk.
Thank you very much! "Non-dairy for lactose intolerant: A
visitor writes on October 28, 2013:
"I used your fresh pumpkin pie
recipe to make one pie from half a pie pumpkin (reducing the recipe by
half; I put the other half of the pumpkin into a pumpkin beer recipe).
Since I am lactose intolerant, I replaced the milk with one tablespoon of
cornstarch in one cup of water, and also mixed the filling mixture extra
well with a hand blender. (When making omelettes, the more you whip the
eggs, the better they stand up, so maybe it helps the eggs in the pie mix
stand up the pie.) I had to bake the pie an extra 20 minutes (total of 80
minutes at 350 after 15 minutes at 425), but it did eventually firm up.
(In fact, this is the first non-dairy pumpkin pie I've made that has ever
firmed up. I think using fresh pumpkin helps too.) I regularly brushed
cold water on the top of the crust, around the perimeter of the pie, to
prevent the crust from burning during the long cooking time."
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I would like to make your pumpkin pie from scratch for my
family for Thanksgiving. What would be the best way to do this? Can I make a pie
now and freeze it? Can I buy the small pumpkins now and hold on to them until
the week before Thanksgiving and make the pie?
Yes, the cooked pumpkin pies freeze pretty well, but of course,
everything's a little better fresh. Pie pumpkins keep very well in a cool
basement or garage (between 40 F and 60F), and they'd certainly keep until
Thanksgiving if they are in good shape now (no bruises or soft spots).
Q. I live in Europe, so I do not have all of the U.S.
ingredients over here. I'm also not that clear on the measurement conversions
for Example: 1 Cup = how many oz or grams (better for me) dry goods-flour and
from oz to grams or liters for wet goods-cream? I was wondering if you would
also possibly know substitutes for the following items: Allspice (cinnamon?),
Evaporated milk (Lowfat Cream? But then not sweetened! Add more sugar?), Crisco
Vegetable Shortening (Help - no idea!)
No problem! I lived and worked in Europe for 7 years,
so I found a lot of good substitutions.
1 cup = 1/4 liter - about 250 ml
A visitor tells me that according to New Zealand's
most trusted cookbook, Edmonds:
1 cup of Flour = 175 g (6 oz)
1 cup of Sugar = 225 g (8 oz)
Evaporated milk is unsweetened milk that has the
volume reduced by removing some of the water - it is sort of like
concentrated milk - about 50% reduced, still quite watery. You could make
your own by adding 100 ml (by volume) of instant dried milk to each 100 ml
of regular lowfat (or skim or nonfat) milk.
Allspice is it's own spice! It is the dried,
unripened fruit of a small evergreen tree, the Pimenta Dioica (typically
grown in Jamaica). The fruit is a pea-sized berry which is sundried to a
reddish-brown color. Pimento is called Allspice because its flavor suggests
a blend of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. So you could make a blend of equal
parts of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg instead.
I use coconut oil (my grandmother used "Crisco" - but that is a
saturated, hydrogenated trans fat - terrible for heart health!) Some people
use animal lard; which doctors also say is a saturated animal fat and
therefore bad for heart health) You could use coconut oil, butter, margarine, or even
lard. If you are the UK, there is something called Trex vegetable fat in the refrigerated section of the supermarket near the
butter. I'm told it a good substitute for Crisco.
Q. My 8 year old son grew some pumpkins this
year, so I tried your pumpkin pie recipe. I following all the instructions and
the only thing I didn't do was make my own pastry I used the frozen variety.
Unfortunately the pie only partially set and was full of clear liquid at the
bottom making the pastry base soggy. I don't know what I did wrong?
Most likely it was the variety of pumpkin you grew - some are more watery. The
small (8 inches across) "pie" pumpkins like they sell in Kroger are best. Next year choose a variety to grow that says it is good for pies, such as
"Connecticut Field" or "pie pumpkin". Generally, these varieties are also more
sweet, finer grained and less watery than Jack O Lantern pumpkins.
Easy solutions, if you must use a Jack O' Lantern type pumpkin are to let the
pumpkin pulp sit in the fridge for a few hours. The water will separate and can be poured off. Another solution is to add
2 more eggs to the recipe and also cook another 20 minutes longer to get a
It's easier than you'd imagine! Just pour the
cooked pumpkin, before pureeing, into a strainer or colander with a bowl
underneath it, then set the bowl in the fridge overnight. Normally , quite a
bit of water comes out.
There are many conditions that affect the water content of a given pumpkin:
weather (rainfall, temperatures), soil conditions, the specific variety of
pumpkin all affect it!