Real Pumpkin Pie

For me pumpkin pie has always fallen to the bottom of the list of things I desire. It’s kind of mushy and bland, as though the pumpkin has gone straight from a can and into the pie crust. It’s always something I skip over at holidays because there is ultimately a showier dessert that grabs my attention. But when I saw pie pumpkins were part of our recent weekly produce delivery I didn’t swap mine out for a head of broccoli as I normally would. Instead I thought, “Maybe a real pumpkin pie will change my mind.” And it did. I suddenly came to understand how pumpkin pie became a holiday staple in the first place.

This pie is smooth and light, like a silk pie. It’s not dense or dominated by any particular flavor. The cream, the pumpkin and the spice play perfectly to make it a gourmet holiday treat.

Real Pumpkin Pie

Adapted from Simply Recipes


Make filling for one 9″ pie

  • 2 cups of pumpkin purée from a pie pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs plus one egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1.25 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Pinch of allspice


1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2 Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.

3. Beat the eggs together and then add to the dry ingredients. Stir in the pumpkin purée. Finally, stir in cream. Whisk rapidly until well incorporated.

4. Pour into pie shell (recipe below) and bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes reduce the temperature to 350°F, baking 40-50 additional minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

5. Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours.


Makes two 9″ crusts


  • 2.5 Cups of Flour
  • 1 Cup of chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/2 Cup of ice water


1. In a food processor mix flour, butter and salt until well incorporated. The mixture should be very fine crumbles.

2. After well mixed transfer flour/butter mixture to a medium mixing bowl. Add the ice water and mix together until stiff dough forms. (I use my hands.)

3. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or until ready to use







6 responses to “Real Pumpkin Pie”

  1. Amy DeMoss Avatar

    We LOVE real pumpkin pie! Thanks to Matt, for years now we have made pumpkin puree from Kent’s (in Brookston) sugar pumpkins, and then baked pumpkin pies, muffins, cheesecake, bread and even pancakes from the puree. Last evening we finally accomplished the great pumpkin project for 2o12 and have puree in the freezer and fridge. Yummy!!! Wednesday is traditionally my pie baking day in preparation for Thanksgiving. We like pumpkin, pecan and milk pies for our Thanksgiving desserts. Thanks for sharing and wetting my appetite even more than it already was:-)

    1. Claire Avatar

      Your pies sound fantastic! So does having a bunch of pumpkin puree on hand. We’ve been using it a lot in soups and pasta sauces. Can’t go wrong with pumpkin!

  2. Hilary Avatar

    According to the America’s Test Kitchen folks, here are the pro-tips for delicious pumpkin pie:
    1) process pumpkin in food processor to remove fiber traces;
    2) cook pumpkin with spices and sugar before baking to improve flavor;
    3) add warm filling to partially-baked crust to guarantee crisp crust and creamy filling.

    I have had to “make” my own pumpkin puree for years, since canned pumpkin is not available in Germany. Even the leftovers of your jack o’lantern will do!

    1. Claire Avatar

      America’s Test Kitchen is the real deal. I will have to try those suggestions next time. My friend from Ireland has the same “problem” with the absence of canned pumpkin. I think things are a little too convenient in America most of the time.

  3. Maryann Avatar

    I might just have to give this another go. Like you, I never really liked pumpkin pie (pumpkin cake and other stuff I love!), but I keep going back to it as my dessert of choice for this weekend. I’ll just have to see if I actually have two cups of puree in my freezer. Probably not. Maybe tartlets then? Unfortunately, all the fresh pumpkins disappear here at about noon on Halloween. For serious.

    1. Claire Avatar

      May your Thanksgiving feast work out wonderfully! Here’s hoping we can have a Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving feast together next year.

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