In my third year of university, I was lucky enough to spend a year in England on exchange. It was one of the best years of my life. When Thanksgiving came around, it was important to me to be able to celebrate so I decided to host a big dinner party for my friends who had never celebrated Thanksgiving before. I couldn’t find canned pumpkin for the pie, so I decided to be adventurous and make a homemade pumpkin pie. From scratch. IT WAS DELICIOUS. Since then, I have never made a pumpkin pie from a can. I always make it from scratch. So, since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, here are my recipes for pumpkin pie and crust.
Picking a Pumpkin
Technically, you can use any pumpkin to make a pumpkin pie, but I highly recommend using a baking pie. They are tiny pumpkins that you find in the store beside the giant jack-o-lanterns. Baking pumpkins tend to be a bit sweeter, and much less stringy. I much prefer using the baking pumpkins to jack-o-lanterns. What I have learned over the years is to buy your baking pumpkins early because everyone likes to buy the cute little pumpkins for their house. I tried to find some last year a couple days before and they were all gone.
Cooking Your Pumpkin
There are many different ways to cook a pumpkin, but the easiest way I have found is to do it in the oven. Cut the stem off the pumpkin and then cut the pumpkin in half. Scoop out the insides with a spoon or ice cream scoop. Put the halves in an oven safe pot or roaster with about a centimeter of water on the bottom. Make sure the pot you are using has a lid. I find that the easiest way to do the pumpkin is to cook it the day before or a couple hours before. Heat your oven to 400 degrees and cook the pumpkin for 40 minutes or until you can sink a knife through the pumpkin. Once the pumpkin is done, leave the pumpkin to cool. You can peel the pumpkin after it has cooled for a couple hours or wait until the next day. When the pumpkin is cool, it is much easier to peel the skin off the pumpkin.
While your pumpkin is cooling, you can now start on the crust. I prefer to make a crust with both shortening and butter. I use the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction blog. This recipe is really clear and has great explanations for the crust. The blog is really thorough, so I won’t say much about the crust, but I will just say make sure you leave little clumps of butter and shortening in the dough. Once you make the dough, give it a couple hours to set before you bake it.
This recipe makes a double crust, so you can do two pies with this recipe.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed (1/3 cup ish)
- 3/4 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
- 1/2 cup ice water
For the pie filling, I use this recipe, but alter it a little. I always forget that one pumpkin makes more than one pie, so I end up making way too much pie filling. One pumpkin probably makes about 2 or 3 pies. The filling looks really runny when you put it in the crust, but the egg always thickens the filling once it is cooked. So don’t worry.
Pumpkin Pie Filling
- a pie pumpkin, cooked and pureed
- 1 cup sugar
- 1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 1 can (12oz) of evaporated milk
Bake the Pie
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Cook the crust for 4 minutes, and then fill it with pie filling. Cook the pie for 15 minutes and then turn the oven down to 350. Cook the pie for 45 to 60 minutes until you can cleanly pull out a toothpick from the filling.
Let the pie cool for a couple minutes and then serve it up! The pie can also be served cool. You can top with whipped cream or ice cream.