Pumpkin pie from scratch

This is one of those instances where I happily go to back to my American roots. I scream, you scream…oh wait, no, no, wrong edible reference. Its autumn, the leaves are turning and there is a chill in the air, you see pumpkins in the stores, at the markets and on peoples porches. Yeah, they are a cute carved decoration but even better to eat! You start to think of ways to ensure that your pumpkins don’t go to waste.  The great thing about pumpkins is that they dont taste of much, so you can flavour them any way you like.

I love pumpkin pie, I mean I LOVE it, there is just nothing else quite like it, the taste, the texture and the feel of autumn and the holidays that it brings to you. I’ve said it once and I’ll said it again, I HATE recipes that are not really recipes. ‘Whats this non recipe – recipe?’ You ask… In this instance the ‘recipe’ would call for 1 unbaked pie crust and 1 can of ready-made pumpkin pie filling.  You see this all the time on Pinterest, like cake recipes that call for 1 box cake mix… Whilst these are recipes, just very bad ones, there are no elements of anything required, I mean even the FUN is left out of this. Ok, I’ll admit it, I’m jealous of places where such ingredients are available and you aren’t forced to bake from scratch. However, I am not in a country where such ready made ingredients exist and have to bake from scratch which lead me to making my own EVERYTHING from scratch this time round. I have no problem with cheating, in the UK I could get a short pastry and do everything else from scratch, fake baking I called it but no more fake baking for me! I can now say that I made my own short crust pastry and whilst it wasn’t perfect, it was an edible imperfection.  This recipe does take time, hours, and patience but it’s totally worth it. Oh and I successfully introduced 3 people (Hungarian, Vietnamese, and Dutch) to the amazingness that is Pumpkin Pie this week, which I think makes me a Pumpkin Pie Converter 🙂

Pumpkin Pie (with pumpkin filling and short crust pastry from scratch)

Makes: 1 large 10in pie Prep time: 1 hour  Cooking time: 50-55mins Overall time: 2 hours

For the Pumpkin pie mixture:

  • 2 cups (450g) pumpkin puree
  • 1 tin (14oz or 397g) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I’ll be honest and use at least 2 and then in some extra for good luck, I LOVE cinnamon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the short crust pastry:

  • 1 1/2 cups (192g) plain flour
  • 1/2 cup (125g) unsalted butter
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly whisked
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) ice chilled water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • extra flour for dusting

First we will work on the pumpkin element of the pie, as it need to cool while we are making the crust.

For the pumpkin puree:

I cheated and used pre prepared pumpkin (I know I made a big stink about cheating at the top but this is hardly cheating). If using a pumpkin in its original round form, cut it down, remove all the seeds and strings. Before you start cutting it into chunks, get your vegetable peeler out and peel the pumpkin. Be warned that the skin is tough! Once the skin is removed, cut into chunks.

Place your diced pumpkin into a steamer and steam until tender, which shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes.

Once your pumpkin is tender, put in food processor to puree until smooth. Now get a strainer out and put over a bowl. Pour the pureed pumpkin into the strainer to allow the excess water to drain, allow to drain until no more water comes out, this will take a few minutes. This is vital to the recipe, as the excess water will RUIN this recipe, making it far to watery to set.

Once the pumpkin has drained, put it on a shallow dish for at least 20 minutes to cool. (If you use hot pumpkin to make the mixture, it will scramble and cook your eggs before it even goes in the oven, which is not nice.)20171029_120501

Now onto the pastry element

Place flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter in a food processor and process until it resembles course breadcrumbs. Add in egg yolk and water and process until dough starts to come together and form large clumps.


Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Do not overwork your dough at this stage, as it will make it tougher and cause it to shrink when baking. Pat it into a disk and cover in clingfilm. Leave it to rest for 15-30 minutes but no more than 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Once your dough has rested, time to roll it out. On a very lightly floured surface with your 3 teaspoons of water, roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it is 3mm thick. I got my pan and checked it a few times to make sure it was big enough to go up the sides too. Any excess dough that goes over the edges of the pan, trim them off, fill in any gaps you might have with this dough.

Place a sheet of baking paper over the bottom of the pastry and fill with baking weights or rice (uncooked) before baking. Remove the weights halfway through the baking time. Bake the pastry in an oven preheated to 180 degrees celsius (350F) for approximately 15 minutes. You don’t want to completely cook the crust as it has another 40 minutes to go with the filling in, yes this does mean the base is undercooked but its FINE, I mean it’s not amazing or a unicorn flying over a rainbow but it works. Its kind of a pumpkin pie thing.

Now back to the pumpkin pie filling:

Preheat the oven to 425F (220C). Place your pumpkin puree in a bowl and mix in the sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices, vanilla and salt. Mix until smooth. Pour into the crust. (Yes my eggs were double yolked and I did NOT add in 4 eggs, I have an entire box of double yoked eggs!)

Bake for 15 minutes at the high temperature and then reduce down to 350F (180C) for another 40 minutes. You want a knife inserted into the centre of the pie to come out clean. Allow to cool completely. When the pie comes out of the oven the top looks a bit puffy but as you can see it will naturally drop as it cools, this is NORMAL. Keep in refrigerator in an air tight container. This can serve with whipped cream.

If you’ve never had pumpkin pie, this will convert you. Pumpkin pie isn’t overly sweet, as you can see from the recipe hardly any actual sugar is added to it. Pumpkin doesn’t have much of a flavour and takes on the spices, leaving you a fantastic cinnamony treat. It is a lot of effort, as you can see, but TOTALLY worth it!

Notes: Why do I steam pumpkin and not boil it or roast it? Effectively I think steaming it gives the best flavour profile (for baking, which is generally what I use it for), boiling I feel boils the flavour out and with roasting, you normally have to add oil to the tray for them not to stick/burn and I find the pumpkin can adsorb the oil, which isn’t great for baking.

Remember to share with friends! 🙂


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