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Pumpkin Pie

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With Halloween just around the corner and Thanksgiving only a month away, I thought I'd share my recipe for the American tradition called pumpkin pie. Many recipes are fibrous, bland, and either too dry or too wet. Here's a recipe that produces a pumpkin pie that I think is just right.

The tradition of pumpkin pie may date back to the first Thankgiving feast in 1621 (or some say the second Thanksgiving feast). In either case, most likely milk, honey, and spices were poured inside the pumpkin itself. The first pies probably came out more like pudding than like the custard fillings that we use today.

Start by assembling ingredients: 3/4 cup heavy cream, 3/4 cup whole milk, 1 can pumpkin (15 ounces), 1 cup dark brown sugar, 3 large eggs, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Fresh pumpkin can be used, but it must be cooked first (usually by cutting the pumpkin into pieces and baking in the oven). Its becoming increasingly difficult to find good pumpkins in supermarkets since the ones sold for carving dominate the shelves (or bins) and just aren't that good for eating. Save some time and trouble, buy the canned pumpkin. We'll cook the canned pumpkin briefly with the spices, so it'll be difficult to taste or smell any difference between the canned pumpkin and the fresh for this pie.

Prepare a 9-inch pie crust or defrost a frozen pie crust. Using a fork, punch holes into the dough so it won't rise while prebaking. If using pie weights, this step is unnecessary. Prebake the pie crust according to directions or at 400°F for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk pumpkin and spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt) together over medium heat in a medium sauce pan. When the pumpkin begins to cook, whisk in the brown sugar.

Once the mixture is fully blended, scrape the sides of the saucepan down and whisk again.

Add milk and cream and continue to whisk.

Once the mixture begins to bubble and splutter, remove from heat.

Place the three eggs into a blender.

Blend the eggs to form a nice creamy consistency (about two seconds).

While blending on low speed, pour the pumpkin pie filling through the feeder hole in the blender cap. This will help break down any fibrous or tough parts of pumpkin creating a smooth filling.

Pour the pumpkin pie filling into the prebaked crust. If you used a deep dish pie crust, this should fit perfectly. I used a "normal" pie crust, so there was about a cup of filling left over, which can be made into pumpkin custards by filling ramekins. Bake at 400°F for 25 minutes or until center of pie is jiggly when pie is rotated gently.

Remove from heat and let cool on a cooling rack for at least one hour. The center will fully set without over cooking the outer edges by removing the pie early. Refrigerate and serve cold, warmed up, or at room temperature.

Pumpkin Pie (serves 8)
Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C)
15 oz. can (425 g) pumpkinwhisk over mediumwhisk over mediumwhisk over mediumblendbake 400°F (205°C) 25 min.
1 tsp. (2 g) ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. (1 g) ground ginger
1/2 tsp. (1 g) ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. (0.5 g) ground cloves
1/2 tsp. (3 g) salt
1 cup (200 g) dark brown sugar
3/4 cup (180 mL) whole milk
3/4 cup (180 mL) heavy cream
3 large eggsblend
1 pie crustbake blind
Copyright Michael Chu 2004
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Written by Michael Chu
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101 comments on Pumpkin Pie:(Post a comment)

On October 14, 2005 at 11:41 PM, an anonymous reader said...
That is almost exactly the same way my mother makes it, and that pie never failed me. Nice post :)

Also, wanted to mention that I think your blog is great, and please keep up the awesome work on it. Beyond just the dialog, I really like how you post your ingredients list at the end in sub-process format.

I look forward to reading much more of your experimentations.

-- Deightine
( Http:// )

On October 14, 2005 at 11:41 PM, jeremy (guest) said...
I had my first thanksgiving in the States last year - I spent it with an American family who was incredibly hospitable. It was a fantastic experience, one I will remember forever!

That day, I fell in love with pumpkin pie and vowed to find a recipe. Of course I never would really have done it, but now that it's come up on your site I've printed it and I think I'll make it next week in order to reminisce about my time in the States, and to share this tradition with some of my Australian friends.

Thanks so much!

On October 14, 2005 at 11:42 PM, Michael Chu said...
Another tradition is to serve the pumpkin pie slices with a large dollop of freshly whipped cream. Often, the whipped cream is spiked with a little (or a lot) of brandy.

Just whip one cup of heavy cream until frothy. Add 2 Tbs. sugar and 2 Tbs. brandy and whip until stiff peaks. Scoop out a plop ontop or next to each slice of pumpkin pie.

On October 14, 2005 at 11:42 PM, an anonymous reader said...
A few years ago I tried using fresh cooked butternut squash in place of the pumpkin for the filling. The squash seems to be naturally sweeter and less fibrous than even the canned pumpkin. Yum!

On October 14, 2005 at 11:42 PM, Brian Arnold (guest) said...
I've been reading for awhile, but I'm still a newbie when it comes to cooking - this might be my first real attempt. Awesome! Thanks for the recipe!

On October 14, 2005 at 11:42 PM, jeremy (guest) said...
I had forgotten about that bit, Michael.

The family I was with didn't use fresh whipped cream, but had two brands of frozen whipped cream. They debated over which one they liked best, so they showed me both. Trouble was that they had forgotten to take either one out of the freezer.

The result: my pumpkin pie was served with two slices of frozen whipped cream, with the onlookers anxiously waiting to see not only whether or not I would like the pie, but whose brand of frozen whipped cream I preferred!

On October 14, 2005 at 11:43 PM, phipps (guest) said...
I was wondering if you could switch out the heavy cream with condensed milk and still get the same results?

On October 14, 2005 at 11:43 PM, Michael Chu said...
re: condensed milk

Using sweetened condensed milk would probably work. But the consistency will most likely be different. Condensed milk contains a huge amount of sugar, so you'll need to adjust the sugar in the rest of the recipe. Besides the sugar, condensed milk is just evaporated milk, quite a bit different from cream.

On October 14, 2005 at 11:43 PM, Laura (guest) said...
What a great site! My husband and I love this approach to following recipes - it's so much easier! This looks like a great recipe, and I'm going to try it today. However, doesn't pre-baking the crust and then baking it with the pie cause it to burn? The instructions on the package say not to pre-bake it for these types of pies.

On October 14, 2005 at 11:44 PM, Laura (guest) said...
Sorry, Michael. Upon re-reading the directions for about the twentieth time, I realized I just need to thaw the thing out! Wish me luck with the pie today - looks like I'll need it!

On October 14, 2005 at 11:44 PM, Michael Chu said...
re: prebaking the crust

If you don't prebake it, then the pie crust might be soggy after baking a pumpkin pie in it. It's probably more up to personal choice, but I prefer my crusts to have a little crispness to them. The extra ten minutes during blind baking shouldn't burn the crust.

Good luck!

On October 14, 2005 at 11:45 PM, an anonymous reader said...
chemical engineer from new orleans...

i was exposed to butternut squash pie while living in new jersey, and i loved it!!!!

i used your recipe but instead of using pumpkin, i used fresh butternut squash.

say, "goodbye" to pumpkin pie... to me, there's no comparison; the squash is a nice alternative..

On October 14, 2005 at 11:45 PM, an anonymous reader said...
I need to know how long to bake the frest pumpkin.? I usually use canned pumpkin but my uncle gave me a pumpkin from his dad's field so I thought I would try it. Wish me luck.

On October 14, 2005 at 11:45 PM, an anonymous reader said...
The approximate (one to two significant figures) diameter of the crust is not specified. We are thus making the assumption that the crust interior radius is 4.5 inches (11.43 cm).

On October 14, 2005 at 11:45 PM, an anonymous reader said...
What is the quality difference between cream and condensed milk for making pumpkin pie? Is it a taste or consistency consideration? Which one makes a higher quality pie?

On October 14, 2005 at 11:46 PM, Michael Chu said...
re: condensed milk

Condensed milk is usually only available sweetened. This is not the product that you want. It is made by cooking sweetened milk down to a thick liquid and as such usually has a cooked dairy taste as well as an overwhelming sweetness. For this recipe, stick with cream.

On October 15, 2005 at 04:58 AM, Andrea (guest) said...
Subject: favourite cooking/science joke
Sorry, I couldn't help posting my favourite cooking/science joke. As the blog is for engineer cooks, I think they will be able to appreciate it:

Q. What do you get when you divide the circumference of a jack-o-lantern
by its diameter?

A. Pumpkin pi.

Tee hee!

Anyways, for those willing to do a bit more work, try making pumpkin pie using Hokaido pumpkin. Roast it, puree it and let it drain a considerable bit before using like normal canned pumpkin.

On October 16, 2005 at 05:31 AM, an anonymous reader said...
I was curious to try this recipe, as it was very similar to my recipe (which originated as the recipe on the back of Libby's canned pumpkin goo) but had a much different preparation.

So I just had a very tasty bakeoff, making one of my pies and one of these pies with my spice loadout.

I mayyy have overcooked this recipe's pie by a few minutes (yay for old ovens i'm not used to yet) but it was not ruined.

I was hardput to put my finger on exactly what the differences in taste and texture were, they were pretty close. So I will most likely stick to my version, as canned pumpkin isn't fibrous enough to warrant a full blender treatment, and the pre-cooking didn't seem to do much but add to the complexity. I'll have to experiment more with the whole milk/cream vs condensed milk thing a bit more, though.

Dark brown sugar goooooood. All the other recipes I've stumbled across call for plain white sugar, which makes such an inferior pie! Thumbs up on the dark brown sugar ;)


On October 16, 2005 at 02:15 PM, seabreezeblues said...
Subject: pumpkin pies
I love to make pumkin pies but I really never knew when to take them out of the oven. I realize now that I wait too long because I thought the jigglly stage was a sign it was not done. I have never warmed the ingredients on the stove, either. I can't wait to try that. Thanks for all the work you do to keep this site going. The recipe format is the best I have seen.

On October 29, 2005 at 09:06 AM, an anonymous reader said...
I have made many pumpkin pies over my many years and always use evaporated milk (1 can). I do not pre-bake the crust (made from scratch) and it is crispy. The pie is baked for 15 minutes at 425 deg., then reduced to 350 deg. for about 40 minutes. To test for doneness, insert a knife into the center and if it comes out clean, it is done.

On October 29, 2005 at 07:04 PM, ILoveBaking said...
I've made pumpkin pie with 2% milk and that worked too. When I made it with 1.5 cups of cream it was a bit too rich for my taste. So I tried a 12 oz can of evaporated milk and I liked that. I've also tried 1.5 cups of half-and-half and that worked too. This "experiment" has made it easy on me because I always have at least one of the above liquids on hand.

Btw, I like your site and the diagram you use for your recipes. Keep up the good work.


On November 03, 2005 at 04:18 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Pumpkin
I see that the canned pumpkin comes in a 15 oz size so that is 1 3/4 cup not the stated 2 cups. Do you call for 2 cups or 1 can of pumpkin.


On November 03, 2005 at 04:22 PM, Brando_T. (guest) said...
I've made three pumpkin pies this year, and developed a couple techniques.

1) Pie pumpkins ARE available in our area (SW ontario), so I used these with all three pies. I peeled & seeded the pumpkin, chopped into chunks, then steamed the pieces. I assembled the pie in a food processor. I like using the fresh pumpkin as it has a hetrogenous consistancy.

2) I didn't use any dairy - my 1 year old boy can't have any milk protein - so I made them with soy milk. Tasted pretty good.

On November 03, 2005 at 05:08 PM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: Pumpkin
Anonymous wrote:
I see that the canned pumpkin comes in a 15 oz size so that is 1 3/4 cup not the stated 2 cups. Do you call for 2 cups or 1 can of pumpkin.

Good catch! I posted this article over a year ago and didn't realize my error until you pointed it out. In the United States, canned pumpkin is usually sold in cans of 15 ounces (weight) or 29 ounces (weight). As pointed out earlier a 15 ounce can is about 1.75 cups instead of 2 cups.

I have modified the article to reflect this change.

On November 06, 2005 at 07:32 PM, Lczuba (guest) said...
Subject: Re: precooking pie crust
I have glazed the bottom of the pie crust with a beaten egg and precooked mine, 10 minutes. I followed the required cooking time, adding the "crust cover"(foil strip around edge of crust). It creates a flakey crust with perfectly cooked edges. I works great, everytime.
I "stumbled" on this site, and have found it greatly informative. You're the best! Thanks!

On November 09, 2005 at 06:59 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Graham crackers...mmmm...
I absolutely despise normal pie crust, so I was wondering if it could possibly be switched out for graham cracker crust without becoming too soggy?

On November 13, 2005 at 07:52 PM, NannieAkaMum (guest) said...
Subject: Tips from my 42 years baking Pumpkin pies...
1- No matter what kind of pie you are making, always brush the bottom crust with melted butter. 2 T should do it. You never need to pre-bake if you follow this step. For better flavor, use unsalted butter.

2-Before placing pie in the oven, cover the crimped crust with a strip of aluminum foil. For a 9" diameter pie and 12" wide foil, you will need 3 strips, each about 2" wide. Remove the foil for the last 20-25 minutes of baking time to let the crust brown, not burn.

3-Evaporated milk, not condensed, works just as well as heavy cream. 1/2 cup, evaporated milk has 8 g of fat but heavy cream has 44 g. (whole milk has 4 g).

Happy Holidays!

On November 15, 2005 at 04:11 PM, suki (guest) said...
Subject: pumpkin pie
The perfect recipe!!!

I followed this recipe to a T
In England where I come from there isn't a tradition for pumpkin pie.
Where I am currently working in Russia, people give away the most incredible orange pumkins, as no one really wants to use them.

when i followed the recipe the only thing i decided to change was the crust. i used a typical short pastry 500g flour to 225 butter and a dash of egg yolk and cold water.

I prebaked te crust to a nice golden brown and then added the filling.
Baked for 30 mins as sugessted.
My only problem with the first test was not baking the pie crust enough. it came out a little soggy and the only way round that is to bake it to a nice crisp texture.
Thanks once again for a great recipe and a great technique.

i have made THIRTY FIVE of these so far!!!

On November 17, 2005 at 09:04 PM, tabacco said...
I can't top thirty-five, but I've made about 5-6 of these pies. Best recipe ever! My only change was to increase the cooking time a bit, since the first one came out a little oozy in the middle. I think it's ended up being about 10 minutes extra.

On November 22, 2005 at 07:27 PM, strangzer (guest) said...
Subject: pumpkins
Too bad you dont use a real pumpkin like a tampa de rouge or lumina.
canned pumpkin is 90% squash.
i have a aunt who reacts to squash, but can eat my pies made with my home grown pumpkins,
and the differance in taste, most people dont beleave.

On November 22, 2005 at 08:10 PM, (guest) said...
Subject: ...adjustment?
The recipie sounds great.

The only thing I would change (and I say this because I mess up in the kitchen often) is to add a warning about adding the just off the stove filling to the eggs. If it is too hot, it will cook the eggs (think egg drop soup) and make the filling a little funny.

On November 22, 2005 at 09:16 PM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: ...adjustment? wrote:
The only thing I would change (and I say this because I mess up in the kitchen often) is to add a warning about adding the just off the stove filling to the eggs. If it is too hot, it will cook the eggs (think egg drop soup) and make the filling a little funny.

I've never had a problem with the eggs curdling in this recipe because to prevent splatter, the pumpkin cream mixture is poured into the running blender at a relatively slow rate. The eggs heat up evenly and gradually as they are blended together with the pumpkin mixture. It would be another story entirely if the hot pumpkin mixture was in the blender and the eggs were added...

On November 24, 2005 at 10:12 AM, UtahVirginia (guest) said...
Subject: Pumpkin Pie Variation
For those who like your pie a bit "nippier", try this. My mother always made her pumpkin pies by using 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup light molasses (instead of 3/4 cup sugar) and putting in a bit more spice than the traditional recipe. She used cinn, nutmeg, gr. cloves, ginger, and allspice. With everything but cinn, you need to be careful and just put in 1/4 teaspoon of each to start. Then if it seems too bland, you can add a tiny bit more. The molasses will make the pie a deeper, richer color.

On November 25, 2005 at 08:50 PM, kristen (guest) said...
I made this pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, and it turned out FANTASTIC. The texture was nice and firm, very smooth. I used a deep-dish crust and there was still a bit of filling left over, and I had to bake it longer than the recipe recommends. This is undoubtedly the best pumpkin pie recipe I've ever used!

On November 26, 2005 at 08:56 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: how long can you keep the pie
I made the pie on Wednesday and had a little left over that I'm keeping in the fridge. How long can I keep it before it goes bad? Thanks, it was a great pie!!!

On November 30, 2005 at 11:57 PM, Guest (guest) said...
Subject: my "dump pumpkin pie"
It was a very last minute call for a pumking "pie" for dessert. I put the can of pumpkin spice mix together just like it called for. Then I added graham cracker crumbs and Splenda, mixed it well, bake it and it was terrific. I served it cooled in a beautiful bowl with bourbon laced whipped cream on the side. Ok, Ok, so I'm a psychotherapist, not an engineer.
I just found this site and it's now one of my very favorites.

On December 11, 2005 at 09:22 AM, Toy Man (guest) said...
I have tried a number of pumpkin pie recipes and this one is very close to my current favorite.

Instead of all the blending, I would suggest just lightly whipping the eggs (I use 2) and then whisking the rest of the ingredients together until blended. Then pour into the pie shell. I use the 15 minutes at 425 followed by 45 minutes at 350 method for my deep dish pies.

Toy Man

On December 23, 2005 at 02:39 AM, stacjjw (guest) said...
Subject: pumpkin pie
I use a glass baking dish, and always have to cook my pie over an hour, is it the dish? My husband loves pumpkin pie, bout the only kind of desert I make he will eat. Any suggestions as to why I have to cook mine so long?

I have a glass deep dish, do the 450 for 15 min and reduce to 350. (used to do the 350 from the start but it never cooked that way.

On December 23, 2005 at 02:41 AM, stacjjw (guest) said...
Subject: OOPS
oops sorry its 425 for 15 minutes then 350. Still wondering if its my pie dish, or need to bake it on a cookie sheet or something. Could it be the oven?

On December 23, 2005 at 09:50 AM, the_bleachman said...
Y'all need to keep in mind that different ovens heat differently. Even if the temperatures were exactly equal between one oven and another, air currents, etc would affect how long your pie bakes. Therefore once you start using your oven to make particular dishes just jot a note on your recipe of the temperature setting used and total cooking time and you will eventually have a good set of data pertinent to each of those things you like to cook and can use that with new, but similar recipes to judge cooking times in your oven.

Of course, you will have your best data gathered about the time you remodel and change ovens at which point you will have to start again.

On June 27, 2006 at 07:53 PM, JB (guest) said...
Hi people, im not an i have never tried to make a pumkin pie (or even tasted it for that matter). I will try to make one tomorrow or the day after. I hope that your recipe works fine. I dunno if they sell canned pumkin here though. Thanks for your instructions!!!

On July 20, 2006 at 05:59 AM, an anonymous reader said...
I have also made many pumpkin pies some with cream and/or milk (several times a year for 30 years), but the nicest ones were made with evaporated milk. Considering you are cooking the milk on the stove and again in the oven once you've filled the pastry, I don't think you have to worry too much about a "cooked" milk taste. And all that sugar and spice is strong enough to cover almost anything anyway.
We don't get canned pumpkin here, but its pretty easy to cook. Just steam, microwave it (no water in a closed container) or bake it - otherwise it will be watery. Then mash or otherwise process until smooth. Pumpkin and hard yellow squash (eg butternut) can all be used, but some varieties are better than others.

On October 05, 2006 at 03:02 PM, jacquelinec (guest) said...
Subject: Pumpkin Pie tips from a pro (almost!)
Hey there.
I wanted to share two tips with everyone. (1) an easy homemade pie crust will make this divine; (2) pressing crushed gingersnaps and/or pecans into the bottom crust will ensure a lovely crispy bottom crust and an added layer of flavor.

I'm not a baker and I swear, if I can make a homemade piecrust, you can too. I posted my recipe at the beginning of berry season in my column. A reader wrote in to confirm she'd been thrilled with her first successful homemade piecrust.

I always do this for my "Orphans', Refugees', and Procrastinators' Thanksgiving" as one of the desserts. :D

Love this site and love Thanksgiving.

Rock on,

Jacqueline Church

On October 07, 2006 at 03:56 PM, sw (guest) said...
Subject: Substitute for cream
Milk doesn't like me, so many recipes need some substitution. Has anyone tried something like unsweetened almond milk in this recipe? it'd be creamy and not sweet. What have you tried?

On October 09, 2006 at 11:04 AM, *morningstar said...
I saw this recipe on the front page today, and it reminded me of how much I love it I made about 6 pies using it last year and they were wonderful - I didn't think pie could dissapear so quickly! I'm going to use this same recipe again this year, with the only changes being slightly more spice than specified.

I want to try it with a real pumpkin instead of canned, but I'm unsure of what to look for when buying cooking pumpkins. Help?

On October 11, 2006 at 01:29 AM, an anonymous reader said...
I like to mix pumpkin and mashed sweet potato 50/50 in any recipe that calls for either. In the case of the standard Libby's recipe for pumpkin pie, you end up with a pie filling that is perfectly soft and custardy.

I have never had a problem with the 'fibrousness of canned pumpkin'.

If you cook fresh pumpkin, be sure to buy the right speicies- for instance, jack-o-lantern pumpkins are pretty much useless for cooking (apart form the seeds).

On October 15, 2006 at 12:35 AM, ND cooking (guest) said...
Subject: milk substitute for pumpkin pie
The best milk "substitute I have ever tried in pumpkin pie was cashew milk. You simply soak the cashews in water overnight (raw, not roasted and NOT salted). Then pour the mix in the blender. You can adjust the liquid for thicker or thinner consistensies, but start with the least water possible so you are almost making a cashew butter. I like a bit of vanilla added to it. This made a very light and delicious pie using arrowroot flour in place of eggs, but it is alot thinner so this pie must be pre-coooked and then must cool for a couple of hours in the refrigerator before eating. The thickened portion of pureed coconut (from a can) makes a great whipped topping for the pie. It is a very satisfying alternatives for those with dairy or egg allergies. (Alternately, coconut milk can be added in place of milk as well, but I like the cashew with coconut topping better).

On October 16, 2006 at 02:50 PM, annulla (guest) said...
Subject: That sounds like mom's
Sounds like mom's recipe, and it sounds great. I definitely want to try it.

On October 23, 2006 at 01:06 PM, an anonymous reader said...
I used evaporated milk in my first pumpkin pie (actually my first homemade pie ever). It's basically the recipe from the Libby's can - pie was wonderful! (I made some modifications)

However, I'm really surprised the recipe above doesn't call for a homemade crust. Those frozen pie shells just don't do anythinf for me - tasteless, dry - ick! Why not include a primer on pie crusts?

Also, as far as the sogginess, I found that a layer of crushed gingersnaps and toasted pecans not only adds flavor, but keeps the crust from getting too soggy.

On October 26, 2006 at 01:18 PM, Janice (guest) said...
Subject: types of squash
Scientifically, a pumpkin and a squash are in the same family. I would suggest using Sweet Meat squash if you don't use canned. My preference is Safeway's canned pumpkin. It has more flavor than Libby's. Pie baker Jan

On October 28, 2006 at 07:47 PM, Forts (guest) said...
Subject: My pie filling appears to be too runny?
In the pictures the filling looks to have a much thicker consistency than mine. I used the exact measurements and can only suspect one of two things:

1. Pumpkin Filling looked "watery" after pureeing. I just mixed it up and didnt bother trying to strain it. Should i have? (i used a fresh pumpkin)

2. Is that 2 cups of brown sugar supposed to be "packed"? The difference between packed and unpacked brown sugar can be about 1/4 cup.

Well, we'll see how it comes out anyways but i spilled pumpkin juice everywhere when trying to carefully place the pie into the oven. I will say that the filling tastes fanTASTIC.

On October 29, 2006 at 01:33 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: My pie filling appears to be too runny?
Forts wrote:
1. Pumpkin Filling looked "watery" after pureeing. I just mixed it up and didnt bother trying to strain it. Should i have? (i used a fresh pumpkin)

Fresh pumpkin can be drier or wetter than the canned type. If it seemed too watery, then it probably needed to be at least partially drained.

Forts wrote:
2. Is that 2 cups of brown sugar supposed to be "packed"? The difference between packed and unpacked brown sugar can be about 1/4 cup.

When measuring brown sugar by volume, it should always be packed. It is not possible to consistently measure unpacked brown sugar by volume. Either use the mass measurement with a scale or use a spoon (or a measuring cup one size smaller) to pack it down tightly.

On November 12, 2006 at 05:48 PM, Wendy from Boston (guest) said...
Subject: sans Crust
The pie filling is so delicious I started resenting the crust distracting from the joy. Perhaps, I am a custard gal. In any case, I started making my pumpkin pies without the crust and it was heavenly, plus I saved some calories. The pie bake time is almost identical.

On November 19, 2006 at 11:58 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Pumpkin Pie
I had never had, nor made a pumpkin pie until this year. Upon looking for a recipe, among many on line, this is the one that looked the best. Once making it, my husband & I can't seem to get enough. Since then, we've made many pies & froze them.

This recipe is very flavorful, creamy, smooth, & just too good to resist eating the whole pie. (Believe me, we have!) My husband says it beats store bought any day.

On November 24, 2006 at 02:47 PM, Sue from WI (guest) (guest) said...
Subject: Deleriously delicious pie!
[color=indigo:a7cd384c72]I too searched online for a 'made from scratch' pumpkin pie and noted that this one seemed to be the one that looked the best. I found an online resource that told how to choose the best small cooking pumpkin and processed the pumpkin accordingly. I then followed this recipe and instructions with a few variations (I used 2 cups of the homemade pumpkin, increased the cinnamon to 2 tsp, and added white sugar--just under 1/4 c) and I'm here today to say that this is the BEST pie I've ever eaten! Even my partner, who's not 'partial' to pie of any kind, much less pumpkin, said it's the creamiest, smoothest pie she's ever had.

Thank you, Michael, for sharing this delectible dessert!

Fondly, <u>Sue</u>[/color:a7cd384c72]

On November 29, 2006 at 01:00 AM, thomas (guest) said...
Subject: Excellent recipe!
We cooked this pie for thanksgiving, it was a great hit. Note that the can of pumpkin isn't listed in the quick ingredient card at the bottom of the recipe. We also added a little allspice (about 1/2 tsp) to the recipe to fill out the spices. The step by step instructions were great!

On September 30, 2007 at 09:20 AM, Michelle (guest) said...
Subject: Pumpkin Pie - Alternative
I experiment alot in the kitchen and have found that using coconut milk milk (not cream of coconut) makes for a delicious pie. I also use all egg yolks and only brown sugar, no white and I add a dash of cardomom as well.


On October 17, 2007 at 08:42 PM, Milly Aratuz (guest) said...
Subject: This pie was so delicious!
I'm fourteen years old and i have to admit I'm not the best baker, or cook for that matter. (one time i messed up cooking pasta... PASTA! when all you need to do is put it in water and boil it.. it really is pathetic.) but this recipe was so easy and was the best thing I've ever made! It tasted so flavorful and it was WAY better than store bought by a long shot! I just took out the cloves and added an extra 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon My mom and I are the only ones who eat it in my family. I made it Sunday and it was all gone by Monday night!! My mom loved it so much that on Tuesday she bought more ingredients and made me make another one Tuesday night! It made me so happy that someone actually liked my cooking! ^_^ I highly recommend this recipe. So the best of wishes to all other pumpkin pie makers out there!

On November 09, 2007 at 04:55 AM, Oatmeal Cookie (guest) said...
Subject: Graham Cracker Crust
No one responded to the idea of making this recipe with a graham cracker crust. I really want to make this recipe, but it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a pumpkin pie with graham cracker crust. Anyone have a recipe for a crust that will hold up against this recipe?

On November 19, 2007 at 06:10 PM, Guest (guest) said...
Subject: Graham cracker crust
There are a lot of recipes for this crust on the internet. for easy to make ideas go to and search for "graham craker crust" and you'll get a few pop up. They all have reader reviews - which I find very helpful.

Good luck !

On November 20, 2007 at 01:51 PM, lazygirl (guest) said...
Subject: store bought crusts
I don't usually do "store bought" crusts. But I just tried the Trader Joe's store brand, and I may be a convert to frozen. You really couldn't tell that it wasn't homemade. Just thought I'd share for the others who can't imagine buying a crust.

On November 21, 2007 at 10:29 AM, sas (guest) said...
Subject: Pie Pumkin
I would like to add when steaming pie pumkins don't bother to peel them before you steam them. Just scrub your pumkin, seed it, cut it to fit your steamer, and if you like roast your seeds for a snack. The skin comes off very easy after it is steamed and then you can put the meat right into your blender after peeling off the skin.

On November 21, 2007 at 03:38 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Gram Cracker Crust
I am new to making pumpkin pies and since I'm newly married and my hubby hasn't had one before, I'm really trying to get this right. But, my first mistake was buying a gram cracker crust. I didn't know it took a different crust and I want to know if I'm out of luck or if I can still use the ones I bought without the crust burning or being too soggy. Thanks much!


On November 22, 2007 at 09:26 AM, clare (guest) said...
Subject: heavy cream
I'm living in Italy and have three problems:
1.Buying frozen pre-baked crust is a no-no! So it's all from scratch!!
2.Canned pumpkin is a bit too difficult to come by so I've bought one of the many types of fresh pumpkin on offer.

BUT finally 3. What is Heavy Cream? I can't find the translation seeing as I don't even know what it is :D
Help!!! I'm trying to make this as a surprise for my American friend for our late thanksgiving dinner on Saturday!!

On November 22, 2007 at 01:42 PM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: heavy cream
clare wrote:
BUT finally 3. What is Heavy Cream? I can't find the translation seeing as I don't even know what it is

In the Unites States, cream from cow's milk is sold under different names based upon it's fat percentage. Heavy cream (also marketed as heavy whipping cream) has more than 36% fat. In the UK, this would be somewhere between regular whipping cream and double cream. In Italy, I don't know - but since this recipe doesn't involve actually whipping the cream into "whipped cream" the fat percentage is less of a worry and more flexible. You should be able to just use whatever regular panna is available.

On November 23, 2007 at 04:41 AM, clare (guest) said...
Subject: double cream
grazie tanto Michael,
I hope you had a nice holiday yesterday... here it was just another working day
I'm off to buy the ingredients this afternoon for our celebrations tomorrow,
speriamo bene!!

On November 26, 2007 at 10:28 PM, mrfarias (guest) said...
Subject: pie crust
Hi there - an engineer friend of mine encouraged me to put my recipe for a whole-wheat crust on your site. Would it be OK if I "only" have a BS chemistry degree? In lots of my classes there were a bunch of chem E. students, so I must be close, no?

On February 19, 2008 at 11:12 AM, Paul (guest) said...
Subject: Maple Syrup
Try using 1/2 to 3/4 cup Grade B maple syrup (if you can find it) instead of the brown sugar--heavenly! The flavor is more intense than the brown sugar, there is also a slight concern over liquid content for the conversion. Grade B syrup is not a quality grade, it is instead a color grade as follows: Grade A light, medium, dark amber, then grade B, then grade C. Grade B has a much nicer taste, Grade C is too strong and is mostly used for commecial flavorings. If you can't find Grade B, Grade A Dark will work, but add more (watch the liquid content).


On April 14, 2008 at 07:51 PM, guest (guest) said...
Subject: Here's my two cents
For more health and better flavor, I take the canned pumpkin and adapt it this way: cut the sugar by 1/3 to 1/2 (depending on your taste) and substitute buttermilk for one of the cans of evaporated milk.

I find the stock recipe is just too sweet, that's why I reduce the sugar. And the buttermilk makes it less fat and seems to improve the taste. I've tried all buttermilk but that didn't work.

I'm not an engineer but my dad was an aeronautical engineer, so I hope this legitimizes my post.

On June 09, 2008 at 02:55 PM, guest (guest) said...
Subject: Draining the pumpkin
I live in Spain where there is no pumpkin pie tradition. I drain oven-baked pumpkin for 3 or 4 days - it's crucial to avoiding a soggy pie. When my microwave's working I find it not only shortens pumpkin baking but also evaporates much more of the water out - liquid pretty much stopped flowing out after 1 day the first time!

On June 17, 2008 at 06:14 PM, Twin (guest) said...
Subject: pumpkin pie ingredients substitutes
1) make your own brown sugar by simply adding blackstrap molasses to white sugar; blackstrap molasses (unsulphered) is what is removed from the cane sugar to make white granulated sugar - so, just put it back! Use a tablespoonful to a cup of white sugar for light brown sugar and 2 tablespoonfuls for dark brown sugar. Use a small mixing bowl and a fork. Alternatively, add the molasses to the liquid ingredients called for in the recipe, and use the same measure of white sugar as the recipe called for as brown sugar. How easy is that! (And cheap in comparison to purchasing brown sugar!) There is no difference in taste, texture, or cooking quality.
2) I started substituting whole milk for evaporated milk when I realized the cost difference (about $2.50 a gallon for whole milk versus about $16.00 in an equivalent amount of evaporated milk - you can buy a whole gallon of milk for about what two cans of evaporated milk costs!). The can said that you could substitute evaporated milk cup-for-cup in a recipe calling for whole milk. My recipe called for evaporated milk to start with, so I simply reversed it and used whole milk. It's great. No difference in texture or cooking time. There is a big difference in flavor and cost, though, and both are just fine with me!

On June 24, 2008 at 05:49 PM, twin (guest) said...
Subject: additional comment re: evaporated vs. whole milk
Actually, there is a texture difference when using all whole milk instead of evaporated. The pumpkin pie was lighter, rather than creamy. I will try to add some heavy cream (which I make by using the Bell Creamer). One other way with which I am going to experiment is to add a little bit of flour as is done when making homemade puddings and which is also used in cheesecakes. Has anyone tried the addition of flour to a pumpkin pie filling to improve its "weight". or "body"? I'll report my results soon.

On June 24, 2008 at 06:30 PM, twin (guest) said...
Subject: graham-cracker crust
Personal opinion: a graham-cracker crust belongs under a really heavy pie like a chocolate New York-style cheesecake, or a dense chocolate torte, a filling which the hard, dense, graham-flavored crust won't overpower. Even then, store bought ones are really pitiful. If you need a ready-made type of pie crust for medium to heavy fillings, try a recommendation from America's Test Kitchen: use animal crackers with a bit of unsalted butter. Grind the crackers to a meal using a blender, food processor, rolling pin, whatever... then blend in just enough semi-melted butter to sort of hold it together when a spoonful is pressed into a ball. At that stage, firmly pat it into the pie dish, then pour in or layer in the filling.

Regarding homemade pie shells: Too easy, and so very delicious, once you know what you're doing. Get someone to come over and step you through it. The trick is cutting in the first measure of shortening. Using a pastry cutter, work the first measure into the flour really, really, well. Just keep cutting. The white flour will almost take on a yellow corn meal hue and texture. When cutting in the second measure, work it until you still have some visible pieces of shortening - about the size of split peas to green peas. And lastly, add enough water to form the mass into a ball. Start with 4 tablespoons, stir it around with a fork, add a little more if needed. Always allow enough time beforehand to let the ball of dough sit in the refrigerator for an hour or two before rolling. This allows the shortening and water to fully penetrate the flour.

On October 08, 2008 at 03:22 PM, Anne (guest) said...
Subject: Carnation evaporated milk
Carnation is the condensed milk we get up here in Canada, often used in pumpkin pie.It is not sweetened, just a texture similar to cream.

Many of the older cooks may have used it for infant formula when one made their own.
I will try this recipe tho'. because I am anxious to see what warming up the pumpkin with the spice before baking does to the flavor.

I will also see if the cream versus the condensed milk makes a difference in the texture or flavor. :D

On October 25, 2008 at 12:24 PM, Grammargrammie (guest) said...
Subject: non-dairy pumpkin pie
I've made pumpkin custard for a family member who is lactose-intolerant. I used plain soy milk, and it turned out very well.

Others in our clan have to be careful of sugar, so for those I make pies using granular "Splenda" and a few drops of stevia. I used less than half the sugar equivalent when using the granular sweetener, and approximately 6-8 drops of the stevia liquid.

On November 15, 2008 at 10:01 AM, Carrie (guest) said...
Subject: A Dairy-Free Version
I found this recipe two years ago, and have used it ever since. My only change is to use coconut milk in place of the milk/cream. We don't eat any dairy, and the coconut milk brings the mouth feel and a very faint coconut hint, without the palate coating quality of dairy. Last time I made it, I started by steeping two decaf chai tea bags, in the coconut milk to add a more mellow spice flavor throughout the pie, in addition to the more intense flavor of the spices cooked into the pumpkin. Just LOVELY!

Thanks so much, this pie is perfect. My husband is a pumpkin pie fanatic (super fanatic) and this is the only one he'll eat now!



On November 24, 2008 at 10:19 PM, kellyjane (guest) said...
Subject: making two pies
If I want to make two pies--and I'm hoping I can fit filling for both in my blender--does it matter if the filling for pie #2 sits while pie number one is baking?

Also, last year I had some confusion about measuring butter for my pie crusts. The butter I have is not in neat cubes of 1/2 cup, so to save time in counting out all those tablespoons, I weighed it, thinking the butter would weigh the same as fluid ounces, but realized too late that is didn't,and had to throw it out. :( I get confused just thinking about it! Can you give me a simple way to keep the issue of fluid versus solid ounces straight in my head?


On November 25, 2008 at 04:27 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: making two pies
kellyjane wrote:
Also, last year I had some confusion about measuring butter for my pie crusts. The butter I have is not in neat cubes of 1/2 cup, so to save time in counting out all those tablespoons, I weighed it, thinking the butter would weigh the same as fluid ounces, but realized too late that is didn't,and had to throw it out. :( I get confused just thinking about it! Can you give me a simple way to keep the issue of fluid versus solid ounces straight in my head?

I'm surprised the recipes didn't work and you had to throw them out. Butter's density is almost the same as water (a little [about 9%] lighter - closer to that of ice) so you would have been pretty close. 4 oz (weight) of butter would be about 1/2 cup + 1 or 2 tablespoons.

There is no easy way to convert fluid vs. solid ounces because the densities of ingredients are all different. The only easy one is water - 8 oz fluid (a US cup) is 8 oz weight.

On October 24, 2009 at 10:00 AM, carolinaper (guest) said...
Subject: pumpkin pie
this pie is really delicious: i've been making it for the last 3 halloweens, here in Madrid, Spain, and everybody loves it! Thank you!

On November 08, 2009 at 11:36 PM, debbie (guest) said...
Subject: Pumpkin Pie
I love this pie! One question, or the filling supposed to be poured into the warm pie shell, or is the shell supposed to be cooled? Second, is the shell supposed to be brushed with anything?

On November 09, 2009 at 08:02 AM, Dilbert said...
I like to let the crust cool completely.

you can brush the unbaked crust with egg white - that can help keep the crust from getting ' soggy' - brush it on, then bake.

if the filling is too watery, it will soak into the crust no-matter-what - but typically the egg wash helps most while the pie is still 'fresh' - i.e. after some hours any free liquid will soak into the crust anyway.

On November 25, 2009 at 06:33 PM, Anthony B (guest) said...
Subject: Pumkin Pie
Should you heat up Pumkin Pie before eating?

On November 26, 2009 at 08:00 AM, Dilbert said...
room temp or slightly warmed is okay by me - you don't "have" to

On November 27, 2009 at 10:41 AM, Ronald (guest) said...
Subject: doubling the reciepe
if i wanted to make more than one or two pies at once, what method would I use?

Would I just double or triple the ingredients or is there a different measurment system?

How would I mix the eggs and the filling since the blender fits only one
pie filling?

Thanks, Ronald

On November 27, 2009 at 01:48 PM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: doubling the reciepe
Ronald wrote:
How would I mix the eggs and the filling since the blender fits only one pie filling?

Normally, you can double the filling and just divide - but since your equipment cannot accommodate this, I would say you should simply make the filling twice - the extra time spent should not be significant as you don't have to clean up between fillings.

On November 28, 2009 at 10:59 AM, Lu Lu (guest) said...
Subject: Just perfect!
I have been looking for what I consider the "perfect" pumpkin pie recipe for years. I am happy to say that I found it on your site! It has a very balanced taste, and mouthfeel is a creamy, custard like delight. Your recipe is now in my culinary repertoire.

On a side note, I too am an engineer. Your recipe lay out is very logical; love it.


On December 19, 2009 at 10:19 PM, deirdresong (guest) said...
Subject: "evaporated milk" vs. "condensed milk" q
I have noticed that it seems some posters are using the terms "evaporated milk" and "condensed milk" interchangably and or without making a distinction between the two.

Although evaporated milk could be described as condensed, and in terms of the English language be correct - the products sold on the store shelves in the USA are of significant difference when cooking.

The product labeled "evaporated milk" is the equivalent of double strength milk or milk with 1/2 its volume in water removed. A can of "evaporated milk" reconstituted with an equal amount of water would meet the legal requirements for whole milk of the same volume. It's not likely to taste the same however.

The product labeled "condensed milk" is a concentrated milk product with a large amount of sugar added into it. If this product is cooked straight from the can it makes a candy much like a soft gooey praline, just to give an idea of how high a proportion of sugar is in this product.

The two products are not used interchangably.

On November 10, 2010 at 12:15 AM, Peter (guest) said...
Subject: New Zealand Pumpkin / Japanese Kabocha
We made this recipe while living in New Zealand and decided that it was far preferable to any pumpkin pie we had growing up in the US. We attribute this to the awesome NZ cooking pumpkins. When we went to make this back in the US, we were chagrined that we wouldn't be able to find NZ pumpkin.

But then we found japanese kabocha squash at our local asian grocer. It turns out this is literally identical to the NZ pumpkin we used to buy. This squash is sweeter, denser, less fibrous and all around more awesome than even the butternut squash.

On August 20, 2011 at 07:19 PM, metropolitangardening (guest) said...
Subject: Pumpkin Pie
mmm PIE!

On October 08, 2011 at 01:56 AM, BillKx said...
With Thanksgiving a couple of days away for us here in Canada - I love pumpkin pie. Can't wait to try this recipe and enjoy the tastes of the season.

There are some pretty lame pumpkin pies out there - need to ensure there is enough bite (spice) to it.
Thanks for posting.

On October 15, 2011 at 03:46 PM, sweetsbaker said...
You will not be disappointed when you use this recipe. I followed the directions and made the pumpkin pies which had great results along with compliments. Getting ready to make another batch of pies in the next few weeks.

On November 24, 2011 at 12:02 AM, cscottrun4it (guest) said...
Subject: Still Good After All These Years
Two years ago, I found this receipt while at my sister's for Thanksgiving. I was very happy with the outcome, but lost receipt. Then, two years later, I found it again!

This receipt is like a Grandma's -- it never disappoints. I double it every time I make pies, and it is always great. I am currently baking my 8th and 9th pumpkin pies using this receipt. They smell awesome, a great way to spend the night before Thanksgiving in Colorado!

On November 24, 2011 at 06:10 PM, sweetsbaker said...
Subject: Pumpkin pie
I agree that the recipe is great. I have stocked up on canned pumpkin to last me for a few months. Will start baking pies in December. Enjoy.

On February 16, 2012 at 03:18 PM, YoungDonnaYoung said...
Subject: Best Pumpkin Pie Recipe Ever!
Year after year, I try pumpkin pie recipes hoping to find "THE ONE"... now, thanks to CFE's Pumpkin Pie recipe, I have found it!!!! It has just the perfect balance of sweetness and spice. I love the consistency too, not too dense and not watery. The one small thing I would change is that I would use LIGHT brown sugar not dark because the color of the filling is more "pumpkin-y", the dark sugar makes the filling look too brown. (Just an aesthetic tweak.) I have to say that I converted two pumpkin pie haters with this recipe! Definitely give it a try, you can't go wrong! Thanks, Michael!

On February 16, 2012 at 10:28 PM, sweetsbaker said...
Light brown sugar sound like a good idea for me to try soon. I usually have more light than dark brown sugar in the cabinet anyway. Thanks for the tip when I run out of dark brown sugar.

On March 06, 2013 at 01:09 PM, rose petal (guest) said...
Subject: pumpkin pie
reading the article or receipe on this site for the pumpkin pie. They say to do a egg wash on crust before you bake it,to prevent a soggy crust. If you just docked it wouldnt the egg wash clog the holes and not let the pie steam?

On March 06, 2013 at 03:03 PM, rose petal (guest) said...
Subject: pumpkin pie
Forgot to ask, does the docking allow filling or leakage from filling into pie crust?

On March 06, 2013 at 03:36 PM, Dilbert said...
the directions of Msg #1 call for docking / using weights and pre-bake / blind baking the crust. the original does not suggest the egg wash.

it is however not uncommon to egg wash the crust - aim is to keep it crisper.

I've done all of the above in many different combinations but have not had the issue of an egg wash 'clogging' holes and defeating the docking purpose.

in theory yes, the egg wash could do that - perhaps the steam is generated fast enough it blows the dock holes open before the egg has a chance to set?

On March 06, 2013 at 10:43 PM, rose petal (guest) said...
Subject: pumpkin pie
by any chance from the docking does the filling seep through?

On March 07, 2013 at 07:47 AM, Dilbert said...
not had it happen here - the holes are very very small - I use a run of the mill dinner fork for docking - no 'special' tools

On September 15, 2013 at 11:11 AM, liza (guest) said...
Subject: whole pumpkin
I made this pie using a whole cooking pumpkin i bought at the farmer's market. I cut the pumpkin into pieces, scooped out the seeds and strings and baked the pieces in a casserole dish covered in foil until the flesh can easily be pierced with a fork. Once it was cool I pressed it through a potato ricer. The first squeeze yields only liquid, which I separated to prevent the filling from being too wet. It turned out really well, but so much extra work, I think I'll stick with the canned pumpkin next time.

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