Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

The single most requested dessert at our Thanksgiving table is pumpkin pie. (The second being apple pie.) In fact, pumpkin pie is so synonymous with the holidays that during this time you can find “pumpkin spiced” everything, from lattes to donuts.

My friend Suzanne performed an experiment with her family and me. She baked two pumpkin pies, one using the purée and recipe from a can, the other using purée she made from a ripe sugar pumpkin. Each of us received two slices, one from each pie, without knowing which was which. The winner?

Pumpkin Pie

The adults clearly preferred the pie made from scratch—it had a richer flavor (possibly due in part to added spices). One child preferred the pie made from the canned purée, the other two had no preference. Needless to say, everyone finished both of their slices, and the whipped cream too!

From the recipe archive, first posted 2005

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie Recipe

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  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs plus the yolk of a third egg
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 2 cups of pumpkin pulp purée from a sugar pumpkin* or from canned pumpkin purée (can also use puréed cooked butternut squash)
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream or 1 12 oz. can of evaporated milk
  • 1 good crust (see pâte brisée recipe or our no-fail flaky pie crust recipe)

* To make pumpkin purée from scratch, cut a medium-small sugar pumpkin in half. Scrape out the insides (reserving the pumpkins seeds to toast) and discard. Line a baking sheet with Silpat or foil. Place the pumpkin halves cut side down on the lined baking sheet and bake at 350°F until a fork can easily pierce them, about an hour to an hour and a half. Remove from oven, let cool, scoop out the pulp.

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Alternatively you can cut the pumpkin into sections and steam in a saucepan with a couple inches of water at the bottom, until soft (strain before using). If you want the purée to be extra smooth, press the pulp through a food mill or chinois.

Method

1 Preheat your oven to 425°F.

2 Beat eggs, mix in sugars, salt, spices, lemon zest: Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Mix in the brown sugar, white sugar, salt, spices—cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, ground cloves, cardamom, and lemon zest.

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3 Add pumpkin and cream: Mix in the pumpkin purée. Stir in the cream. Beat together until everything is well mixed.

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4 Pour into pie shell and bake: Pour the filling into an uncooked pie shell. Bake at a high temperature of 425°F for 15 minutes. Then after 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 350°F. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes more, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. (About half-way through the baking, you may want to put foil around the edges or use a pie protector to keep the crust from getting too browned.)

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5 Cool on a rack: Cool the pumpkin pie on a wire rack for 2 hours. Note that the pumpkin pie will come out of the oven all puffed up (from the leavening of the eggs), and will deflate as it cools.

Serve with whipped cream.

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Links:

Pumpkin Pie with Toasted Marshmallow Topping from David Lebovitz

Tangy, Creamy, Pumpkin Pie from The Traveler's Lunchbox

Pumpkin Pie

Showing 4 of 204 Comments

  • Mary Alsop

    This was an awesome recipe. I used pumpkins according to your directions for my purée! After pouring in the filling I still had some left over. So I poured it in custard dishes and baked until done at 350. It was the day before Thanksgiving and I gave my husband the choice between pie or custard. He chose custard. I topped it off with a little ice cream and some Carmel topping. It was so good! Not sure if anyone else does this but my house will be making this again.

  • Shelly

    I have followed this recipe two different times and every time it make enough for two pies intead of one. Am I doing something wrong?

  • Cherie

    First, I love this pie. But for some reason I’m challenged with this recipe. It’s my second time making the pie, and I experienced the same problem again, unfortunately. The pie takes a full 90 minutes to cook if you want a knife inserted in the middle to come out clean. During this time, the pie gets super brown and the crust burns. This last time, I even used a pie protector for the entire cooking duration. Still the burnt crust and super brown pie. The flavor of the custard itself is lovely, but I’d love to make this work without burning or over browning. Any thoughts?

  • Mary Pimentel

    Oh my goodness!! This is the first time ever trying to make pumpkin pie and i used this recipe. This is so good. And my husband loved it! He told me no other recipe. We used a graham cracker crust and it worked great. Thank you for making this easy!

  • Josie

    Could I use store bought crust ? Like the pie crust ? And I have a pumpkin but I’m not sure if it is a sugar pumpkin is that okay?

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