Make, Jane, make!: Pumpkin Pie From Scratch


Small Share

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pumpkin Pie From Scratch

I was abnormally excited to spy what looked like a sugar pumpkin in our farm share this week. I can't help it... I love pumpkin pie. I think it's because we only have it once, maybe twice, a year and it's so different from the other more common pies.

So despite the terribly abnormal heatwave we're having around here, I bit the bullet and turned on the oven so that we could have some pumpkin pie with our stuffed turkey thigh for Thanksgiving. (No parents or in-laws here this year - an unusual and happy coincidence, considering that it would have been suicide to prepare my usual Thanksgiving spread in this heat!)

Making pie with fresh pumpkin is so much better than with the canned. I find the texture of the filling more smooth and less pasty. I also find that the resulting taste is closer to sweet roasted squash than the cloying sweetness of canned pumpkin. Don't get me wrong, during harvest time I love all things pumpkin and will use canned pumpkin for lots of stuff since I'm not always in the mood for roasting... but there's something about things made from scratch... call me an elitist :)

So first step is to cook the pumpkin. There are many ways to do this: steaming/boiling, roasting, nuking. You can take your pick. I like roasting because I find the pumpkin is less watery and more caramelised this way. It's easy enough: just cut in half, remove the seeds and place cut side down on a baking sheet and roast until it's soft.  I like using my melon baller to scoop pits out of hard fruits and veggies, because it's the sharpest edge that you'll find on any scoop-like implement in the kitchen. I couldn't find my larger melon baller, but the small one worked just fine.

While the pumpkin is roasting away, you can prepare your pie crust. I used my standard pate brisee crust which you can find on my kielbasa quiche post. When the crust is prepped and in the pie plate, place it into the freezer until the pumpkin is done roasting.

Once you can easily pierce into the flesh with a fork, remove from the oven, scoop the flesh into a food processor and whir until smooth. You can also use a blender or mash it with a potato masher (which I used to do before I got a blender or processor, it just makes for a less smooth finished product... kinda like potatoes mashed by hand versus the processor. Although you may want to steam/boil the pumpkin instead to make sure it's nice and soft).

Let the pumpkin cool down and lower the oven temp so that you can blind bake your pie crust. You could skip this step if you wanted to, but be forewarned - you will have a soggy bottom crust. So much so that you may be spooning your pie out of the plate... it's not inedible, just really, really messy.

mmmm - bean and ceramic pie weight pie ;)
Let the crust cool down after it's pre-bake and mix together the filling ingredients. I like to have the filling premixed and room temperature before I pour it into the pie. I find that sometimes when you pour it in right after whisking, the air bubbles still present in the filling cause the pie to puff up unevenly and crack a lot.  Ditto for when the filling has cold eggs in it -  it must have something to do with some of the eggs not cooking at the same time as the rest of the pie.

Pour the filling in and wonder again, where my other pie plates have gone. I had about a cup of filling leftover which would have fit perfectly if I'd had my deep dish pie plate! Stay tuned for a later post on what I decide to do with the leftover filling :)

Carefully transfer the filled pie to the oven and bake until the filling is a little wobbly, but set.

Does anyone else use one of these silicone pie rings? So often, with these pies that require a pre-bake and then a long baking time, I'll get super brown crusts.  And unless it's a really special occasion and I want a super pretty pie, I hardly ever brush my crusts with anything (i.e. egg wash) to offset this over-brownness. This silicone ring has been the best addition to my pie-making arsenal because it protects my crusts from over-browning without the hassle of trying to tent just the crust with thin strips of foil!

Here's the finished pie! Not shown in the picture: family anxiously and impatiently waiting for it to cool down enough to eat.


Pumpkin Pie from Scratch Yield: one 9 inch deep dish pie
Adapted from: Pumpkin Pie, Martha

1 sugar pumpkin (about 2 lbs) *you can use jack-o-lanterns, but I find it's really not worth the trouble. Check out this link for more info.
1 single crust pie crust    *recipe here
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
3 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
pinch salt

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Cut pumpkin in half. Remove seeds and place cut side down onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the flesh is easily pierced by a fork.
  3. Remove from oven, scoop out flesh and process with a food processor until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  4. Lower oven temperature to 375F.
  5. Fill prepared and frozen pie crust with parchment paper and pie weights/beans and bake for for 15 minutes. Remove the weights and continue baking for another 15-20 minutes or until the crust is very lightly golden and set. Remove from oven and cool.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F. (Unless like myself you've had it on the whole time because it's Thanksgiving and since when does the oven turn off on Thanksgiving? :)
  7. Mix your pumpkin puree and the remaining ingredients together. Pour into your cooled crust.
  8. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the middle is just a little wobbly, but set.
  9. Cool completely before serving.

1 comment:

  1. Looks great - I bet it tastes amazing!! :)

    (I LOVE the pie crust covers - best. thing. ever.)

    I just roasted my pumpkin (the same way you do) and scooped out the middle and it is sitting in my fridge waiting until tomorrow night when it is a tad less warm and I can fire up the oven.

    I also always keep the seeds from the pie pumpkin to roast - so many more seeds than in a decorative pumpkin and much easier to remove!

    Love your blog, keep sharin' over on the Zephyr site!