Creamy Homemade Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Pie and Thanksgiving go together like peas and carrots, beer and pizza, or dark chocolate and red wine (pick your poison, but I’ll take the wine and chocolate). You know you’re going to have it when those leaves start turning colors, you can practically taste the pumpkin. Pumpkin pie spice has been sprinkled on EVERYTHING. It’s pie time.
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Pie Time to Find a Recipe
Despite my love of baking, eating, and pumpkin pie, I did not have a “go-to” pumpkin pie recipe, and to be honest, that’s a bit embarrassing. I make a pumpkin pie almost every year, but they don’t usually blow me away, so I try a new recipe the next year. One time, I did make a tasty pie, but I forgot which recipe I used!
Typical Colleen. Tolleen. (Excuse the random inside joke here.)
Weeks ago, I asked my Facebook fans for recipe requests. I wanted to know what y’all want to see me bake. Maybe new techniques, a new recipe, or a family favorite, comment below if you have suggestions! I was so happy with the responses I got. Gluten free, giant cookies, vegan, gingerbread cookies… Cool beans!
And then a dear reader of mine dropped a bomb. Pumpkin Pie. Oh dear me. I don’t have a pumpkin pie recipe! Heck, I haven’t had great luck with them! How in the world am I going to make one worthy of my readers? I considered going to Pinterest, but I wanted a source that I could 100% trust and that wasn’t the place.
Pumpkin Pie Gold
So I turned to my most reliable cookbook, The New Best Recipe by America’s Test Kitchen. If you don’t own this already, I cannot recommend it enough! Not every recipe has been perfect for me, but it will teach you so much and I promise you will be successful in the kitchen with this cookbook by your side.
*Flips to pumpkin pie recipe, has a heart attack*
Before I tell you about my heart palpitations, let me first say that this homemade pumpkin pie was creamy, smooth, deliciously spiced, and the BEST pumpkin pie I can remember tasting. I’m serious. In the past, my homemade pumpkin pies have curdled, been stringy, tasted like a vegetable, or been bland. Every single one of those issues is prevented in this recipe.
But it’s not easy.
It’s not necessarily hard either.
Imma Break It Down For You
The truth of the matter is that this pie requires time management and that can be a tricky issue when you’re dealing with dough chilling, crust baking, and filling making. It’s like performing choreography or reading sheet music. If you get ahead or fall behind, you run into trouble, but if you maintain a scheduled tempo, it flows together beautifully.
I loved this pie. But it stressed me out because I was worried about getting my timing figured out. In the end, my filling was going to be ready too early, so I let the pumpkin mixture simmer a bit longer before adding it to the eggs. Timing is important, but if you read the recipe multiple times and know what needs to happen, you can accommodate for any timing errors.
This pumpkin pie was a success for me on the first try, but as I make it over the years, it will get better and be an easier dance to perform. Even when a recipe looks intimidating, lots of time management and multitasking, remember that you’ve got this. Take a deep breath, read the recipe for the sixteenth time, and have confidence.
Okay. Let’s Make This Pumpkin Pie
I started off with my Great Grandmother’s Pie Crust, not the crust in the cookbook. It’s a dough I’m familiar with and I knew it would be a good fit for the pie. Check out my pie crust post for full details and instructions, but my best tip is too keep everything cold. I used the food processor to pulse the shortening and flour/ salt mixture together.
In order to save myself a bit of stress, I made the dough the night before, flattened it into a disk, wrapped it in cling wrap and popped it in the fridge. The next morning, I let the dough rest on the counter for about 20 minutes before rolling out.
The pie crust recipe is great, but I should have added another teaspoon of water (I did 4 tablespoons). Flour can behave differently every day depending on weather conditions, that’s why the recipe gives you a range of 4- 6 tablespoons. The more often you work with a dough, the easier it becomes to tell exactly how much moisture you need to add on any given day.
While I was rolling it out, I used my bench scraper to lift the dough and turn it in order to get a nice circle. For the first time, I used my new pastry mat to roll out my dough. This made such a difference! It has circles with measurements that show you how far to roll the dough out. I then used my bench scraper to lift the crust and roll it over the rolling pin so that I could transfer the dough into my pie plate. This is the hardest part of me and I didn’t get it quite centered, so I had to patch it up a bit. We’ll just say it had a “rustic” look.
Related Reading: 10 Christmas Cookies to Make with Family
Creamy, Dreamy Filling
The filling recipe was very unique! Canned pumpkin is actually not very smooth, so you need to puree it with your sugar, spice, and everything nice (or salt in this case). This is the secret to the smooth texture. My brown sugar was quite lumpy, so this was important to smooth that out too.
Another key step is to cook the pumpkin pie mixture on the stove top. Pumpkin pie filling is basically a custard and you want it to cook quickly so that the crust doesn’t get soggy. By heating the mixture before putting it in the oven, you’ve already begun the cooking process. Once the pumpkin and cream mixture is hot, do not add it to the eggs until your crust is out of the oven.
You want to add hot filling to a hot crust. If your pumpkin is ready to join the eggs in the food processor, but your crust is still cooking, drop the heat and let the mix stay warm on the stove top. Don’t let it boil or burn, keep stirring it.
Pouring Some Pie Filling
A trick I learned from one of the dozen pumpkin pie recipes I’ve tried in the past is to pour the filling into the crust while it’s on the oven rack. Did I just blow your mind?! Nah, you might have known that already. You don’t want to slosh your filling out of the pie, plus you want it to cook as soon as you add that wet filling to your crust, no soggy bottoms here, Mary! (Great British Bake Off anyone?)
The pie bakes for 22-25 minutes and it should have a slight jiggle in the center, like firm jello. You don’t want to over bake it or the pumpkin pie filling will curdle and have an unpleasant texture. The residual heat in the pie will continue to cook the filling as it cools on the rack. A curdled pie is no fun, but this recipe has some built in safety features. The fat (milk and cream) and sugar helps to block this from happening.
My pie crust was too dry and did have some crackage going on. This time around the dough had trouble staying together, but you know what? It still tasted darn good. Don’t sweat the small stuff. If the pie dough is super crumbly, it’s under worked or too dry.
This was just a lesson in dough texture and I was still super thrilled with transferring it into the pie plate. That’s always the worst part for me, and I actually got it in pretty well, even if it was slightly off center. Small wins still count!
I really think this recipe is unique in its technique and astounding in its flavor. If you have been trying out a new pumpkin pie recipe each year (like me!) without finding The One, let me help you out. This is your new Thanksgiving Day Pie. You’re welcome.
And guess what? If you’re in the market for a different pumpkin treat, I highly recommend my Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes or even Pumpkin Pie Pancakes. They are a whole lot easier to make and taste like Fall! Also, be sure to sign up for the Bakes & Blunders Resource Library and receive updates and my free baking tools.
Homemade Pumpkin Pie
- 1 recipe single crust Great Grandmother's Pie Crust
- 15 oz canned pumpkin puree
- 7 oz dark brown sugar or 1 cup packed
- 2 tsps ground ginger
- 2 tsps ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 2/3 cup milk
- 4 large eggs
Preparing the Pie Crust
- Prepare the pie dough according to my Great Grandmother's recipe. Shape the dough into a 4- 6 inch disc, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for an hour or up to 2 days.
- If the dough was chilled for more than an hour, place it on the counter top for about 20 minutes, or until it is malleable and can be handled.Roll the dough into a 12 inch circle, using your bench scraper to lift the dough and rotate as needed. Use your bench scraper again to lift the rolled out dough and gently wrap it around your rolling pin.
- Transfer the dough to your 9 inch pie plate and gently unroll. Work your way around the plate, gently lifting the dough and pressing it into the corners of the plate. Tuck excess dough under itself around the rim, trimming if necessary.
- Cover the dough lined plate with cling wrap and refrigerate for 40 minutes. Then chill the plate in the freezer for an additional 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375℉ and move the rack to the lower middle position while the pie plate is in the freezer.
- When the dough is done chilling, line it with a doubled up sheet of foil or parchment paper and fill it with 2 cups of pie beads, rice, or even pennies. This weight will prevent the crust from rising and bubbling. Wrap a pie shield or length of foil around the rim.
- Bake crust for 25- 30 minutes. Remove the pie beads and foil and continue to bake the crust for an additional 5 minutes. Remember to leave the pie shield on.
- As soon as the pie crust goes into the oven for the first time, begin preparing your filling. You will need to add hot filling to a hot pie crust.
- As soon as the pie crust is out of the oven, move the rack to the lowest position and increase the temperature to 400℉.
- In a food processor, combine pumpkin, brown sugar, spices, and salt. Run until completely smooth, about a minute, scraping the bowl as needed.
- Pour the pumpkin mixture into a medium or large saucepan over medium- high heat. Bring to a sputtering simmer and cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
- Whisk the heavy cream and milk into the pumpkin mixture, bringing it to a bare simmer. Lower the heat to prevent burning. Wait until the crust is done cooking before proceeding to the next step. Make sure to continue to stir the filling.
- Combine the eggs in the food processor until smooth, about 5 seconds. While the processor runs, add half of the pumpkin mixture to the eggs through the chute. Process for about 5 seconds before stopping the machine to add the rest of the pumpkin mixture. Process again for about 30 seconds.
- Pull out the lowest rack in the oven and place your baked pie crust on it. Quickly pour the pumpkin filling into the crust. Gently push the rack into the oven, careful not to slosh the pie.
- Bake for 22- 25 minutes. The pie should have a slight jiggle in the center, like firm jello, and the sides should be set. Cool on a wire rack for at least 1- 3 hours before transferring it to the fridge to chill for another 3 hours, or over night.
- Keep your pie shield on the crust whenever it is in the oven to prevent burning.
My Favorite Products For This Recipe
Hi there! I’m Colleen, a novice baker with a passion for learning and improving my bakes… and blunders. On Bakes and Blunders, you can find all sorts of tasty recipes that range in difficulty, but most importantly, I’ll try to explain the reason behind important steps. If you know why a recipe works, you can tweak and adapt it to suit your unique tastes, and you’ll be able to reliably produce some very delicious treats. If you love baking and want to expand and grow your skills, or if you are a casual baker and just need some pointers, my blog is right up your alley! Join me on my baking journey and we’ll learn how to make more impressive recipes together.
I would love to know how you could make this with fresh pumpkin rather than canned, as I’ve heard it can be different. 🙂 I roasted some pie pumpkins and pureed them, and am not sure how everything will turn out if I just sub canned stuff for my roasted one!
And with honey! I love the taste of honey in stuff like this!
You’re gonna love this recipe!
I’ve never used fresh roasted pumpkin in my pies, but it should work just the same. Just use the same amount of roasted pumpkin puree. A can is 15 oz I believe. If your puree seems a bit watery, line a colander with cheesecloth and add the puree. Let it sit for about 10 minutes or so, then gently squeeze to get out extra moisture. This is optional, especially if your puree seems pretty thick to begin with. Let me know how it turns out! Fresh roasted pumpkin should add so much flavor to the pie 😀
I have a major weakness for pumpkin pie. It’s easy to make Gluten-free, and who said you can’t eat pie for breakfast?
Pumpkin is a vegetable. Eating pumpkin pie for breakfast is basically like eating a salad 😉
PBJ Happy dogs
Pumpkin pie is my all time favorite. I am going to have to try this recipe this week.
Yay! It’s such a yummy, creamy pie 🙂
I’ve a confession to make… I love pumpkin soup, and pumpkin humus, and roast pumpkin etc. but I have never had pumpkin pie! I’ve saved this recipe, it looks so delicious, and I’ll try it soon.
WHAT?! You have got try this pie! I’ve had a lot of pumpkin pies in my life, but this has definitely been the best one.
This looks fantastic, I am sure my husband will love this!
Thanks! I hope he enjoys it 🙂