From Pumpkin to Pie

A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that I had never made a pumpkin pie from scratch… In fact, I’m not sure I had ever really made a pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin pie is a Thanksgiving staple, but usually either my mom or my grandmother makes the pumpkin pie. I’ve never really had a reason to make pumpkin pie. I have made some pumpkin pie bars in the past, so I suppose they count for something. But, they weren’t a real pumpkin pie. And, it just seems to me that, as someone who loves to bake, pumpkin pie is just one of those things I should have in my repertoire.

So, when I set out to bake a pumpkin pie, I decided that I would make my pie from scratch… Starting with a pumpkin! Of course there’s nothing wrong with picking up a can of pumpkin at the store. But, since I love the experience of baking, being able to take a few simple ingredients and turn them into something special, I knew that I wanted the satisfaction of being a part of the whole process… From pumpkin to pie.

To make my pie, I started with a large crookneck pumpkin that I found at a local market. A smaller sugar pumpkin would work well, too, but I was looking forward to having some extra pumpkin puree on hand. And, I love the sweet flavor of the crookneck pumpkins (and the fact that they cost about half the price per pound!).

In the end, I was pretty happy with how my first pumpkin pie turned out. It cracked a bit down the middle, but it tasted fabulous. We enjoyed digging into it with friends on a chilly fall evening, and I enjoyed knowing that I could cross pumpkin pie (from scratch!) off of my baking bucket list!

I had actually planned to share this pie with you last week, but then I heard about the 3rd Annual Love the Pie Party hosted by the lovely Cheryl of TidyMom, and I knew that I would have to save my pumpkin pie recipe for the special occasion. Be sure to stop by TidyMom today and check out all of the other great pie recipes!

Pumpkin Puree

  • Canola oil
  • 1 large crookneck pumpkin
    (or a few small sugar pumpkins)

Begin by making the pumpkin puree. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Drizzle a baking sheet with a little bit of canola oil and set aside.

Cut the crookneck pumpkin into manageable pieces, and peel the tough skin away. Scoop out the seeds, and transfer the peeled pieces of the pumpkin to the prepared sheet pan.

Bake the pumpkin in the oven for about 45 minutes, until fork tender. Let the pumpkin cool on the pan until it can be handled easily. Then, transfer the pieces of pumpkin to a food processor and puree.

To thicken up the pumpkin puree and concentrate the flavor, you can simmer it on the stove or put it in the slow cooker overnight (with the lid slightly askew to let the steam escape). Let the thickened puree cool before using it, or transfer it to an airtight container and store in the fridge.

Pumpkin Pie
(Makes one 9-inch pie)

For the crust:

  • 3 ounces whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3 ounces all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
  • Approximately 2 ounces ice water
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Cinnamon sugar

For the filling:

  • 3 cups thick pumpkin puree
    (see the recipe above)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

To make the pie crust, whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour, all purpose flour, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small chunks and use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour mixture, leaving pea-sized bits of butter.

Gradually add in the ice water, about a tablespoon at a time. Gently incorporate the water with your fingers, adding just enough water that the dough comes together. It may be a bit crumbly, but should hold together when gathered up.

Shape the dough into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

After the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Prepare the filling by whisking together all of the ingredients until smooth.

Roll out the pie crust into a large circle, large enough to fill a 9-inch pie plate.

Transfer the crust to the pie plate, trim the edges (reserving the scraps for decorations, if desired!), and use your fingers to shape the edge of the pie crust. Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Brush the crust with a small amount of heavy cream and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Tent the pie with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue to bake the pie for an additional 25 – 30 minutes, until the crust is golden a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the pie on a wire rack.

While the pie is baking, roll out any additional scraps of pie crust and cut small shapes with cookie cutters to decorate the pie. Brush each pie crust cookie with cream and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, until golden. Use to decorate the pie once it has cooled.

26 Responses to From Pumpkin to Pie

  1. Such a gorgeous looking pie! I love that you used whole wheat flour in the crust. I have a full 5 pound page sitting in my pantry that is just dying to be used :)

  2. I love the look of your pie Jen. Your crust is beautiful and your filling looks wonderful. It’s great that you made your own pumpkin puree for the filling.

  3. MMMMMMMMMM,…The pie looks fabulous!!
    Yum! :)
    Thanks for explaing how to make pumpkin puree because over here in Belgium, we can’t get pumpkin in a can. Over here they only use pumpkin in a soup. I am so going to change that! :)

  4. You should realize that you have used butternut squash,not ‘pumpkin’ I have always used this instead of pumpkin because it makes a better pie

  5. Well this pie is absolutely gorgeous! Althought I have wanted to always make one from scratch I can never find those pumpkins here in south Florida. However, this crust? Is a win! I cannot wait to make it.. With everything possible! I keep kicking myself, how did I not think of that? Thanks!

  6. made this today and found that it was not quite sweet enough, so i served it drizzled with maple syrup :)

  7. I volunteered to make the pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving this year, I thought it would be simple… :-( however, I was able to buy a whole pumpkin (it’s HUGE!) @ Wal-Mart for $1.00! Wow! My question is that I don’t have a food processor, would a blender work just as well? My mom has always had a food processor, but she lives too far away for me to borrow it. This is my first Thanksgiving away from my family. We are spending it with my husband’s family this year.