Classic Pumpkin Pie

The crown jewel of Thanksgiving desserts, pumpkin pie is by far my favorite kind of pie.  Since the holidays are coming up – I wanted to show you all how to make a delicious, completely from-scratch pie that will have everyone talking at your dinner table.

In my last post, I showed you how to make a wonderful single pie crust, which is perfect for this recipe.

Here’s the recipe as taken from my King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion:


  • One 9″ single pie crust
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin or squash, or 1 and 1/2 cups cooked pumpkin puree
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (5 and 2/3 ounces) brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (12 ounces) light cream, or 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk



Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together the pumpkin and the eggs until evenly combined.  Whisk in the remaining ingredients.  Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell, leaving about 1/4-inch of clearance between the top of the filling and the top of the crust.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for an additional 35 to 40 minutes, until the filling is set around the edges, but still soft in the middle.  The pie will firm up a it cools.  Remove the pie from the oven and cool it on a rack.  If desired, decorate the edges with candied nuts and serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Ok, now for the fun part – when I said from scratch, I meant it!  For this recipe, I made my own pumpkin puree, and I’ll show you how easy it is to do.  If you want to use a can of pumpkin, it’ll still taste great, but a whole lot of people out there, including myself, swear that using your own pumpkin puree makes the pie taste even better!

I went to the market and bought a two-pound “pie pumpkin” (as my grocery store labeled it).

I first removed the stem by cutting the top off (a little higher than if you were to make a jack’o’lantern – about a half inch from the top).  I then sliced the pumpkin in half.  Next, I pre-heated my oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sliced in half pumpkin.jpg

I then scooped out the “guts” and seeds, so that the halves looked like this:


I then pierced the pumpkin skin a few times with a fork:


Next, I poured cold water into the pan – just enough to cover the whole surface area of the baking pan.  I then popped the pumpkin (skin side up, but I’ve been told that either way works) on the watered pan into the oven for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, the pumpkin skin should have darkened to a golden brown and the pumpkin “meat” should be tender and easily penetrated with a fork.

The next step is to scoop out all the pumpkin meat and discard the pumpkin skin.  Place the pumpkin meat into a blender or food processor and blend until you get a nice and smooth puree.


The next step is to get out a bowl and a fine mesh strainer.  Set the strainer over the bowl and pour the puree into it.


If you look in the picture above, you’ll see some juice in the bottom of the bowl – we’re trying to get rid of the excess liquid so you have a nice, smooth and not watery puree.  Leave it in the strainer for 45 minutes to an hour.  Don’t get rid of the juice, though – it makes a great addition to smoothies (and even tastes pretty good by itself), and it’s packed with vitamins and nutrients!

While you’re waiting for the pumpkin puree to strain, it’s a perfect time to go ahead and make the crust.  If you don’t feel like scrolling up, click here for the recipe.  After you get the crust made, I recommend popping it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to pour in the filling.

Now it’s time to preheat the oven – 425 degrees Fahrenheit to begin with.

My pumpkin was just the right size, making about 16 ounces of puree.  I weighed out 15 ounces on the kitchen scale and threw the puree into my Kitchen-Aid mixing bowl along with three large eggs, and mixed them on medium for about a minute. I then added in the sugar, spices, salt, and evaporated milk (or cream, if that’s what you decided to get).  I mixed those together for another minute on medium.

I then took my pie crust out of the refrigerator and poured the filling onto it:

Filling pour.jpg

Once all the filling is poured into the pie pan, place the pie into the preheated oven.

After 15 minutes of baking, I reduced the temperature from 425 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and baked for another 35 minutes.  The goal is to have the pie set near the edges, but still wobbly in the middle.  This is because while it cools out of the oven, it still keeps cooking from the residual heat.  Let it cool for 45 minutes to an hour before serving it.

Alright, I’m just going to say it.  I’ve used this recipe probably ten times before and it’s always been nice and smooth on the top.  For whatever reason, it didn’t come out as pretty as normal.  That being said, it still tasted just as good as before!  It’s baking – there are so many variables, sometimes things just go slightly wrong, and that’s ok!  Despite it turning out like the picture below shows, it still was absolutely delicious.  Well, that being said, here’s what it looked like when it came out:

Outta oven.jpg

I have a few suspicions as to what might have gone wrong, from shaking the evaporated milk too much before adding it to the pumpkin to the eggs not having been beaten as thoroughly as they should have been, but here’s the saving grace: in addition to the taste being there, the cookbook recommends plopping on a dollop of slightly sweetened whipped cream, and that’s just what I did!  Here’s a slice after it had received a creamy dollop of the cream:

Pie Slice 2

Don’t tell me that doesn’t still look delicious!

If you tried this recipe, let me know how it went for you!  Happy baking, folks!