Pumpkins. They’re the spice of the Autumn season. For all their flavor, the meek pumpkin pie is all too often overlooked at the Thanksgiving table.
But there is power in meekness, and here are three pies that say “Ahem”, and show you how good pumpkin pie can be. A classic, adapted from America’s Test Kitchen, a fresh take from Emily Von Euw of This Rawsome Vegan Life, and an old-fashioned favorite from Betty Crocker.
And use the real sugar pumpkin for these pies—the cutesy round little globes you can find in the produce aisle, not the monsters used for jack-o-lanterns—1 sugar pumpkin yields about 2 cups of puree. Preparing it is as simple, Smitten Kitchen shows. Lop off the stem top, slice it in two horizontally, scooping out the “guts” (save the seeds!) and roast in the oven at 400 F for 45 to 60 minutes. After that, pass the pulp through a ricer or food processor, and you’re good.
And give thanks for the orange goodness that is pumpkin.
CLASSIC: Silky Smooth Pumpkin Pie
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook and Smitten Kitchen
Like all America’s Test Kitchen recipes, this comes with its own special tweaks to improve flavor while keeping things classic. Find instructions for making a classic crust here.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk (or 2 cups half and half instead of one cup each of cream and milk)
- 3 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree OR 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (DO NOT use pie “mix”)
- 1 cup drained candied yams or regular canned yams from 15-ounce can (or 1 peeled roasted sweet potato if that is on hand)
- 3/4 cup sugar (reduce slightly if a less sweeter pie is preferred)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (or 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (few grates of whole nutmeg)
- 1 teaspoon table salt
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Roll out dough on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to make 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang all around pie plate. Ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
3.Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond pie plate lip, fold overhang under itself; edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Flute edge of dough. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
4. Remove pan from refrigerator, line crust with foil and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Bake on rimmed baking sheet 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights, rotate plate. Bake 5 to 10 more minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp. Remove plate and baking sheet from oven.
1. While pie shell is baking, whisk cream, milk, eggs, yolks and vanilla together in medium bowl. Combine the pumpkin puree, yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in large saucepan; bring to sputtering simmer over medium heat, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue to simmer pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly and mashing yams against sides of pot, until thick and shiny, 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Remove pan from heat. Whisk in cream mixture slowly, until fully incorporated. Strain mixture through fine mesh strainer set over a bowl, using back of ladle, wooden spoon or back of spatural to press the mixture through. Re-whisk mixture and transfer to warm pre-baked pie shell. Return pie plate with baking sheet to oven and bake pie for 10 minutes.
3. Reduce heat to 300 degrees. Continue baking until edges are set, 20 to 35 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack and cool to room temperature, 2 to 3 hours. (The pie finishes cooking with resident heat; to ensure the filling sets, cool it at room temperature and not in the refrigerator.)
RAW: Raw Pumpkin Pie
adapted from This Rawsome Vegan Life
Maybe the healthiest pumpkin pie you’ve ever tried, For those who have nut allergies or prefer a different crust option, this pie will work with a graham cracker pie crust. If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, try the blend from this recipe.
- 1 cup cashews
- 1 cup almonds
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1 cup dates
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 sugar pumpkin (about 7 cups), peeled, gutted and cut into cubes
- 1 cup dates
- 4-5 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1-4 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger & cloves)
- 1/4 tsp salt (optional)
For the crust:
1. Process the nuts in your food processor until they are like a rough flour. Add the dates, raisins and salt, and pulse until it all sticks together in a lump. Press into the bottom of a pie dish and refrigerate.
For the pie filling:
1. In your food processor, process the pumpkin chunks until they can’t get any smaller. Add the dates, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice and optional salt, and process until it can’t get any smoother.
2. Transfer the filling to your high speed blender and blend on the highest setting to get it super smooth like the cooked version. A stick blender will work if that’s all you’ve got. Taste, and add whatever you think it needs. Spread the filling onto your pie crust. Let it set in the fridge for a few hours.
Serve cool with raw ice creem, cashew creem, or coconut milk whipped cream, recipe below.
Whipped Coconut Cream
- 1 can chilled full fat coconut milk
- 3 Tb raw powdered sugar (or regular powdered sugar)
- Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean (optional…vanilla extract will work but may tint the cream brownish)
Put a can of coconut milk in the back of the fridge. Keep there several hours. Also chill a metal bowl and the mixing beaters. Right before serving, CAREFULLY take out coconut milk from the fridge and open the can. Spoon off the thick fat from the top – you want this. Put the spooned milk into the chilled metal mixing bowl with the sugar (stand mixers work well) and beat on high speed until thick and fluffy! Spoon onto your pie and voila! Enjoy.
OLD-FASHIONED: Betty Crocker 1950s Pumpkin Pie
adapted from Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook
An old-fashioned, rich brown spicy pumpkin pie, “the essence of golden pumpkin…flavorful with spices”, speaks the 1951 Betty Crocker cookbook where this vintage recipe was found.
- Pastry shell for a one-crust pie (if using homemade, line pie pan and build up a high fluted edge)
- 1 3/4 cups pureed, cooked sugar pumpkin pulp, strained of extra liquid if necessary…use a fine mesh strainer)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 3/4 cups milk (or milk combined with heavy cream or half-and-half)
- 2 large eggs (1/2 cup) or 4 yolks
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp white sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cloves
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
1.Beat the filling ingredients together with an electric mixer on medium speed (or old-fashioned rotary beater, if you have it)
2. Pour into a pastry lined pie-pan. For crispness, have the bottom pastry a little thicker than 1/8″. Be sure the crust has high fluted edge, to keep in the filling, if using a homemade crust.
3. Bake at 425 degrees F for about 45 minutes. Bake until a butter knife inserted into the side of filling comes out clean. The center of the pie may look soft and wiggly but will set later. Serve with whip cream, slighty warm or cold.
For a special touch, just before serving, top the slightly cooled pie with mounds of stiff whipped cream, one for each serving. Make a little dint in each mound and place a spoonful of honey in each to top the piece of pie.
Note: For a milder pie, use all white sugar and omit the cloves.