My First Pumpkin Pie

Last week was Thanksgiving and pumpkin pie is a traditional Thanksgiving dessert. Americans among you might find this hard to believe, but I had never eaten a single slice of pumpkin pie before in my entire life. When I was throwing a dinner party last Saturday and needed to decide on a dessert, I thought it would be nice to try and bake my own pumpkin pie. I saw a recipe for pumpkin pie on the blog of the Unorthodox Epicure, also known as Adam J. Holland, for what he claims to be the ultimate pumpkin pie. I had already decided that I would make my own pumpkin puree (also because store-bought pumkin puree is not easily available around here) and saw Richard McGary’s very handy recipe for pumpkin puree just in time to use for this. I used my own favorite pie crust and a mistake I made is that I decided to use dark brown sugar rather than light brown sugar, which made the color more like a light chocolate cake than like pumpkin. Credits go to Adam for the absolutely gorgeous texture. Thanks for the recipe, Adam!  I’ll use a bit less cinnamon next time, as it was slightly overpowering the taste of the pumpkin that was not strong to begin with. Maybe I used the wrong type of pumpkin as they are not labeled around here. (Richard, do you recognize the variety?) I might also bake the crust a bit longer, similar to the quiche recipe, to compensate for the lower oven temperature that is needed for the pumpkin custard. But in the end I was happy with my first pumpkin pie, and so were my guests!

In the picture above it is served with some homemade maple ice cream. Recipe to follow!


For the pie crust (27 cm / 11″ pie)

250 grams (1 1/2 cups) pastry flour

125 grams (1 stick) butter

(Please note that the amounts in cups and sticks is slightly less than in grams, but it will be enough and in the correct ratio of flour to butter while it is easier than measuring 8.8 Tbsp butter and 1.56 cups flour)

2 Tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg yolk

For the filling

1 pumpkin

apricot preserves or jam (4-6 Tbsp)

200 grams (light) brown sugar (3/4 cup granulated sugar or 1 1/4 cup brown sugar)

1 Tbsp corn starch

2 tsp ground cinnamon (I will use 1 tsp next time)

3/4 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

180 ml (3/4 cup) heavy cream (35% fat)

125 ml (1/2 cup) sour cream

2 eggs


Combine sieved flour with 1/2 tsp salt and 2 Tbsp sugar in the food processor with a paddle attachment (suitable for pie dough) and process until mixed.

Add 125 grams (1 stick) cold butter in cubes.

Process until there are still some ‘pea sized’ pieces of butter left.

Add 3 Tbsp cold water and the egg yolk, lightly beaten. Process until the dough just comes together.

Shape the dough into a thick disc. Dust a work surface with flour and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough.

Try to roll out the dough in a circular shape that is big enough for your pie dish including the sides. (So for a 27 cm (11″) pie dish with 2.5 cm (1″) sides, you need a circle with a diameter of 32 cm (13″).

Butter a pie shape and transfer the dough. It is easier to transfer when you gently fold it in half.

Line the pie shape with the dough.

Let the dough in the shape rest for an hour in the refrigerator. Many recipes specify to let the dough rest before rolling it out, but it is much more difficult to roll out the dough when it’s cold. Letting the dough rest helps to relax the gluten, so the crust won’t shrink and will be more flaky and crunchy.

Make the pumpkin puree while the dough is resting. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Cut the pumpkin in halves and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. (You can reserve the seeds for another use if you like.)

Put the pumpkin halves on a baking sheet with 125 ml (1/2 cup) of water. Roast for 45-60 minutes until tender (check with a toothpick or fork).

Allow to cool until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, take the pie crust out of the refrigerator and line it with parchment paper and fill up the pie with pie weights. I use ceramic beads, but you can also use beans.

Bake for 15 minutes at 190C/375F (next time I will use 30 minutes). This step is called ‘blind baking’, since the pie is baked first without the filling.

Remove the parchment paper and pie weights, and pierce a few times with a fork. Return to the oven to bake at 190C/375F for another 10 minutes until slightly golden. (Next time I will increase the baking time to 20 minutes.) Lower the oven temperature to 160C/325F.

Make the filling while baking the crust. Peel the pumpkin. This is ridiculously easy compared to peeling a raw pumpkin. This is why should always try to peel a pumpkin when it’s cooked whenever possible.

Put the pumpkin into a food processor…

…and process until smooth. Now you only need 400 grams (about 1 2/3 cups) of pumpkin. Remove the rest and reserve it for another use (such as pumpkin gnocchi or tortellini, recipes to follow).

Add brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg, and corn starch.

Process until homogeneous.

Add heavy cream and sour cream.

Process until homogeneous.

Cover the bottom of the pie with a thin layer of apricot jam (or preserves, which is jam that still has pieces of fruit in it rather than being completely smooth).

Pour in the filling.

Bake at 160C/325F until the center is almost set and the filling puffs at the edges, about 50 minutes. Allow to cool.


22 thoughts on “My First Pumpkin Pie

  1. I’m not a pumpkin pie fan usually, but this one doesn’t look half bad…. 🙂 As for the pumpkin variety, I think that yours looks perfect, nice and dry (some are watery even after roasting, in which case you can always cook it down applesauce-style to get rid of some of the moisture).


    1. I did notice that. Richard and Putney think it’s kuri, and from Richard’s description I think they’re right. Too bad its taste is so mellow it’s hard to detect in the finished pie.


      1. Usually here we make pumpkin pies from sugar pumpkins, which look like the orange jack-o-lantern pumpkins but are usually much smaller. I wouldn’t say that they have a more distinct or sweeter taste. Maybe next time you should just make a sweet potato pie. 😉


          1. Theoretically you could make a good butternut pie because it’s nice and sweet. But I think the sweet potato pie I made this year is going to be my regular from now on. 🙂


  2. Good for you for roasting your own pumpkin. Most people here buy the canned puree. I am not a big fan either but it looks like you got the consistency just right. Would definetely baked the crust longer next time. You can always cover the edges in foil so they won’t get any darker while the custard bakes. Also, I like to add more spices such as ginger and a dab of nutmeg for a bit more depth. For your next Thanksgiving!


  3. Very nice. I agree that the dark brown sugar seriously altered the color of the pie but the recipe sounds great! I use light brown sugar in mine but had never really thought about it. As for the pumpkin variety, it is difficult to tell. It could be a red Kuri as the color is lovely and appears to have a hard skin. I don’t believe it was a sugar pumpkin but I would trust Putneyfarm before me. If it is a red Kouri, it is actually a squash and a member of the Cucurbita maxima. It is a thick skinned, orange colored, winter squash that has the appearance of a small pumpkin without the ridges. It has a firm flesh with a very delicate and mellow flavor, similar to a chestnut. Regardless, it looks fabulous!


    1. Thanks, Richard. Putney also said kuri, and your description sounds just like it! It is sold here as “organic pumpkin” and is imported from Spain. I’ll have to try and find a sugar pumpkin, as that might solve my problem of ‘untastable’ pumpkin. Butternut squash is okay this time of the year though, and sold here as “butternut pumpkin” or “bottle pumpkin”. There is no Dutch word for squash.


  4. I love how you have incorporated all your blogging friends during your culinary adventure. I suspect if your used a different pumpkin, you would be happier with the flavor. I really enjoyed the post very much!


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