I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but pumpkin ranks in my top 3 pies of all time. Top two, really. Peach and Pumpkin are my all-time fave pies, and it’s not just because of alliteration (it’s not NOT because of alliteration though).
Pumpkin pie is actually quite easy to make, but I do believe it is much better with a fresh pumpkin. There’s nothing wrong with canned pumpkin, but now that I know how good the fresh stuff is the canned just can’t quite live up to my expectations.
A few years ago, the first year that I had my CSA, I was introduced to the long pie pumpkin. It’s a pumpkin, but it doesn’t look like most pumpkins – it’s long and cylindrical, rather than round. I was told it makes the best pies, and I’ve had no complaints. This year I brought one long pie pumpkin and one regular sugar pie pumpkin home with me to Sarnia to use for my pies. Yes, I travel with pumpkins, what’s it to you?
I find the easiest way to cook the pumpkin is to steam it on the stovetop. Roasting it would be fine also, but it will take much longer. Once it is cooked through you just let it cool a bit, peel off the skin, and mash with a fork or a potato masher. It will never be as pureed as the canned stuff – but trust me, its a good thing.
My basic pumpkin pie recipe comes from The Joy of Cooking. It’s a classic, and you can’t go wrong. I never pre-bake my pie shells because I’m lazy and I find they don’t need it. But if you are a perfectionist who cares a lot about soggy bottom crusts then maybe you’d want to – to each their own.
Pumpkin Pie – adapted from The Joy of Cooking. Makes 1 pie, I doubled it and made two.
- 2 cups pumpkin or squash puree
- 1 can of evaporated milk (about 1 1/2 cups) or heavy cream.
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- the tiniest pinch of ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2-3 large eggs (2 makes a firmer pie, 3 a softer, custardy filling – since I doubled the recipe I used 5 for a happy middle)
- pastry for one single-crust pie
Roll out your pie crust and place into glass pie pan. Trim and crimp edges, chill in the fridge or freezer while you prepare the filling. Preheat your oven to 375. Whisk the eggs and add in the pumpkin and evaporated milk. Add remaining ingredients and combine. Pour into chilled pie shell. Bake 35-45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean – it may still be a big jiggly in the middle but that’s okay, it will continue to cook in the pan after you remove it from the oven. Let cool completely. If made ahead, refrigerate, but you can bring it up to room temperature before serving. Hide a piece somewhere so that you can have a second piece with your coffee the morning after Thanksgiving – you deserve it.