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Experiment: Pumpkin Pie

Posted by Jeanne on October 25, 2009

My sister Theresa, featured here, said that she and a coworker were talking about pumpkin pie once.  Apparently he said that pumpkin pie from scratch is not as good as when you use canned pumpkin.

Being a contrary-type person, I wanted to find out.  Thus began operation Begin With A Pumpkin, End Up With Pie.


To make the pumpkin puree, I poked a bunch of holes in this smallish pumpkin (about 2.5 lbs) and roasted it in an inch of water for about an hour.


I cleaned the pumpkin of its skin and seeds, then pureed it in the food processor until smooth.


I used half of this recipe for pastry dough, and a modified version of this recipe from the queen of doing things from scratch herself, Martha.

Pumpkin Pie, from Martha Stewart Living, November 2000

Makes one 9-inch pie

  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin puree
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 egg for glaze
  • 1.25 cups half and half
  • Pie dough
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin puree, and 3 eggs. Beat well. Add half and half, and combine. Set aside.
  2. Between two pieces of plastic wrap, roll pastry dough into a 12-inch circle. Fit pastry into a 9-inch glass pie plate (or if you are like us, into an 8 inch cake pan.  I have got to get a pie plate one of these days…) trim dough evenly along edge, leaving about a 1/2-inch overhang. Pinch to form a decorative edge (or don’t). If the dough begins to soften, chill for 15 minutes.DSCN1392
  3. Make the glaze: Beat the remaining egg, and combine with heavy cream. Brush glaze very lightly on edges of pie shell (Do I even need to say i didn’t do the glaze?  I didn’t do the glaze.  Martha is both awesome and nuts.). Fill pie shell with pumpkin mixture. Transfer to a baking sheet to aid in transporting into the oven.DSCN1393
  4. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 60 minutes more. Cool on a wire rack.

The biggest change I made was not using evaporated milk, and significantly increasing the cooking time.  The two are almost certainly related.


N.B.:  Do not try and cover in plastic wrap while still warm.  The top layer will come off onto the plastic wrap and the center of your pie will look terrible.

Still tastes good, though.


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