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Directions for Making Pumpkin Pie from Scratch

You probably take pumpkin pie from canned pumpkin for granted.  You're there, the can is there, there's a
pumpkin on the label... open it and mix it up with spices to make a pie, right?  Ah, but a pumpkin pie made from a
fresh pumpkin tastes so much better than the glop that was processed last year! Here's how to do it, complete
instructions in easy steps and completely illustrated. And it is much easier than you think, using my "patented"
tips and tricks!  This makes a light, fluffy pumpkin pie with a fresh, traditional pumpkin pie taste. I can assure you
that this will be the best pumpkin pie you've ever made!










Yield: It really depends on the size of the pumpkin and the size of your pie plate. If you use a 6" to 8" pie pumpkin
and a full deep dish 9" pie plate, then it should fill that pie to the brim and maybe have enough extra for either a
small (4 inch) shallow pie (or a crustless pie - see step  11).
Some people manage to make 2 full pies, especially if they use shallow pie plates and/or 8 inch pie plates.

Ingredients and Equipment
Equipment
A sharp, large serrated knife
an ice cream scoop
a large microwaveable bowl or large pot
1 large deep-dish pie plate and pie crust (Click here for illustrated pie crust instructions! they will open in a new
window) - or two small pie plates and crusts
Ingredients
a pie pumpkin (see step 1)
1 cup sugar
1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
one half teaspoon ground ginger
one half teaspoon salt (optional, I don't use any)
4 large eggs
3 cups pumpkin glop (ok... "sieved, cooked pumpkin")
1.5 cans (12oz each) of evaporated milk (I use the nonfat version)
Recipe and Directions
Yield: One 9-inch deep dish pie or two 8-inch shallow pies


Step 1 - Get your pie pumpkin
"Pie pumpkins" are smaller, sweeter, less grainy textured pumpkins than the usual jack-o-lantern types.  Grocery
stores usually carry them in late September through December in the U.S.   Note: the Libby's can of cooked
pumpkin is just there for reference - it is the small can, so that gives you an idea of the size of a typical pie
pumpkin.  They're only about 6 to 8 inches in diameter (about 20 to 24 inches in circumference).  If you're in a
pinch and can't find a pie pumpkin, here's a tip: butternut squash taste almost the same!  Commercial canned
pumpkin is from a variety of butternut, not true pumpkins! If you DO use a regular Jack O' Lantern type pumpkin,
you may need to add about 25% more sugar and run the cooked pumpkin through a blender or food processor
to help smooth it out.
Just like selecting any squash, look for one that is firm, no bruises or soft spots, and a good orange color. One
8" pie pumpkin usually makes one 9 inch pie!

Step 2 - Prepare the pumpkin for cooking
Wash the exterior of the pumpkin in cool or warm water, no soap.
Cut the pumpkin in half.  A serrated knife and a sawing motion works best - a smooth knife is more likely to slip
and hurt you! A visitor suggests using a hand saw.
 
Step 3 - Scoop out the seeds...
And scrape the insides.  You want to get out that stringy, dangly stuff that coats the inside surface.  I find a
heavy ice cream scoop works great for this.
Note: SAVE THE SEEDS:
The seeds can be used either to plant pumpkins next year, or roasted to eat this year! Place them in a bowl of
water and rub them between your hands.  then pick out the orange buts (throw that away) and drain off the
water. Spread them out on a clean towel or paper towel to dry and they're ready to save for next year's planting
or roast.  Click here for roasting instructions! (opens in a new window)


Step 4 - Cooking the pumpkin

There are several ways to cook the pumpkin;  just choose use your preferred method.  Most people have
microwaves and a stove, so I'll describe both of those methods here. But others make good arguments in favor
of using a pressure cooker or baking in the oven. At the end of this document, I’ve included alternative
instructions to replace step 4, if you’d rather use a different method.
Put it in a microwaveable bowl















Remove the stem, and put the pumpkin into a microwaveable. You may need to cut the pumpkin further to
make it fit.  The fewer the number of pieces, the easier it will to scoop out the cooked pumpkin afterwards.
Put a couple of inches of water in the bowl, cover it, and put in the microwave. 
Note: You can also cook it on the stovetop; it takes about the same length of time in a steamer (20 to 30
minutes).  I use a double pot steamer, but you could use an ordinary large pot with a steamer basket inside it!:

Or steam on the stovetop
 
 
 
 










 
Step 5 - Cook the pumpkin until soft
Either way, cook for 15 minutes on high, check to see if it is soft, then repeat in smaller increments of time until it
is soft enough to scoop the innards out.  Normally it takes 20 or 30 minutes in total.
 
 
 
 
Step 6 - Scoop out the cooked pumpkin
Whether you cook the pumpkin on the stove, microwave, or even the oven, once it is cooked until it is soft, it is
easy to scoop out the guts with a broad, smooth spoon, (such as a tablespoon).  Use the spoon to gently lift and
scoop the cooked pumpkin out of the skin.  It should separate easily an in fairly large chucks, if the pumpkin is
cooked enough.
















Many times the skin or rind will simply lift off with your fingers (see the photo at left) .  I'll bet you didn't realize
making your own pumpkin glop... err, "puree" was this easy!
Note: there are many varieties of pumpkin and some make better pies that other (due to sugar content, flavor,
texture and water content.  Drier, sweeter, fine-grained pies; the small (8" across) ones called "pie pumpkins" are
best.  If your pumpkin is much more watery than the puree in the photo at right (there should not be any free
water), you may want to let it sit for 30 minutes and then pour off any free water.  That will help prevent you pie
from being too watery! Beyond, that, I have not found that the water makes a difference - I wouldn't be TOO
concerned about it!
Tip from a visitor: "I make my own pumpkin pies from scratch all the time. To eliminate watery pumpkin I strain my
pureed pumpkin through a cloth overnight. If I use frozen pumpkin I do the same again as it thaws out. It works
great and my pies cook beautifully." 
 
Step 7 - Puree the pumpkin
To get a nice, smooth consistency, I use a Pillsbury hand blender.  By blending it, you give the pie a smooth,
satiny texture; rather than the rough graininess that is typical of cooked squashes.
A regular blender works, too (unless you made a few frozen daiquiris and drank them first..). Or a food processor
or even just a hand mixer with time and patience.
With the hand blender, it just takes 2 or 3 minutes!
Another visitor says using a food mill, like a Foley Food Mill, with a fine screen, accomplishes the
blending/pureeing very well, too!
 
Step 8 - Done with the pumpkin!
The pumpkin is now cooked and ready for the pie recipe.  Get the frozen daiquiris out from step 7 and take a
break! :) You may freeze the pie filling (not NOT can it:  See this page for the safety reasons why.)

Step 9 - Make the pie crust
Yes, I know there are ready-made pie crusts in the frozen section at the store, but they really are bland and
doughy.  A flaky crust is easy to make! Again, note that unless you use large, deep dish pie plates, you may
have enough for 2 pies.
It is also time to start preheating the oven.  Turn it on and set it to 425 F (210 C, for those in Europe)
Click here for illustrated pie crust instructions!
(it will open in a new window)

Step 10 - Mix the pie contents
All the hard work is behind you! Here's where it gets really easy. If you start with a fresh 8" pie pumpkin, you will
get about 3 cups of cooked, mashed pumpkin. The right amount of ingredients for this is as follows:
1 cup sugar
1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
one half teaspoon ground ginger
one half teaspoon salt (optional, I don't use any)
4 large eggs
3 cups pumpkin glop (ok... "sieved, cooked pumpkin")
1.5 cans (12oz each) of evaporated milk (I use the nonfat version)
Mix well using a hand blender or mixer.
Notes: The vast majority of people tell me this is the best pumpkin pie they've ever had. It's light and fluffy -
however... if you want a heavy, more dense pie, use 3 eggs instead of 4 and 1 can of evaporated milk instead of
1.5)

Step 11 - Pour into the pie crust
I like a deep, full pie, so I fill it right up to about one quarter to one half inch from the very top.
Don't be surprised if the mixture is very runny!  It may start as a soupy liquid, but it will firm up nicely in the oven!
Note: the pie crust is brown because I used whole wheat flour! Tastes the same but is healthier.
TIP: What do you do if you end up with more filling than will fit in your pie crust(s)?  Easy!  Of course, you can
make another, smaller pie crust and fill a small pie pan... or just grease any baking dish, of a size that the extra
filling will fill to a depth of about 2 inches (see the photo at right), and pour the extra filling in.. then bake it.  It will
be a crustless pumpkin pie that kids especially love!

Step 12 - Bake the pie
Bake at 425 F (210 C ) for the first 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 350 F  ( 175 C ) and bake
another 45 to 60 minutes, until a clean knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Here is the finished pie, right out of the oven:
I use a blunt table knife to test the pie.  The one at left has already been stuck in the pie, and you see it comes
out pretty clean, when the pie is done.






Step 13 - Cool the pie
And enjoy! Warm or chilled, with whipped cream , ice cream or nothing at all - it's great!
  
 

Alternative Cooking methods for step 4
If you don’t have a microwave, or prefer another method, try these:
Stovetop steaming – Place your steaming basket or grid in the bottom of a large pot.  Put enough water so it won’
t boil dry in 20 minutes, and yet is not so high that the pumpkin is touching the water level. You may need to add
more water during the cooking. Add the pumpkin prepared in step 3, and get the steamer going. The cooking
time is only between 8 and 12 minutes, depending on the range (gas or electric), and the pumpkin literally falls
off the skin.
Pressure cooker – Place your grid in the bottom of the pressure cooker.  If your pressure cooker came with
directions, follow those for pumpkin and/or winter squash, like butternut squash.  If, like most people, you’ve long
since lost the directions, try this: Add enough  water to just touch the bottom of the grid or shelf that you will
place the pumpkin on. Add the pumpkin prepared in step 3, put the lid with the gasket, the weight and anything
else your cooker requires in place, and turn the heat on  high. Once it starts hissing, turn it to medium or medium
high.   The cooking time should only be about 10 minutes,  and the pumpkin should literally fall out of its skin.
Oven – You can also bake the prepared pumpkin in the oven, just like a butternut squash.  This method takes
the longest. Just put the prepared pumpkin in an ovenproof container (with a lid), add about 3 cups of water to
help prevent it from drying out and pop it in an 350 F (200 C) oven. It normally takes about 45 minutes to an
hour; just test it periodically by sticking it with a fork to see if it is soft!

Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I would like to make your pumpkin pie from scratch for my family for Thanksgiving. What would be the best
way to do this? Can I make a pie now and freeze it? Can I buy the small pumpkins now and hold on to them until
the week before Thanksgiving and make the pie?
Yes, the cooked pumpkin pies freeze pretty well, but of course, everything's a little better fresh. Pie pumpkins
keep very well in a cool basement or garage (between 40 F and 60F), and they'd certainly keep until
Thanksgiving if they are in good shape now (no bruises or soft spots).
Q. My 8 year old son grew some pumpkins this year, so I tried your pumpkin pie recipe. I following all the
instructions and the only thing I didn't do was make my own pastry I used the frozen variety. Unfortunately the pie
only partially set and was full of clear liquid at the bottom making the pastry base soggy. I don't know what I did
wrong?
Most likely it was the variety of pumpkin you grew – some are more watery. The small (8 inches across) “pie”
pumpkins are best. Next year choose a variety to grow that says it is good for pies, such as “Connecticut Field”
or “pie pumpkin”. Generally, these varieties are also more sweet, finer grained and less watery than Jack O
Lantern pumpkins.
Easy solutions, if you must use a Jack O’ Lantern type pumpkin are to let the pumpkin pulp sit in the fridge for a
few hours. The water will separate and can be poured off. Another solution is to add 2 more eggs to the recipe
and also cook another 20 minutes longer to get a firmer set.

Feedback
A visitor writes on October 10, 2008: "Just wanted to say i've been using this recipe for about 3 years now and
everyone who tries it loves it. even the ones who claim to dislike pumpkin. Thanks.
A visitor writes on October 18, 2008: "Your pumpkin pie recipe is awesome. People who had it last year loved it,
and it was absolutely the best pumpkin pie I've ever had. I used a small Jack-O-Lantern last year, and this year I
have a pie pumpkins. I'm looking forward to making it again, this time with the recommended produce, too!
Simple stuff always tastes better. Thanks for this. It's a great site.
A visitor writes on November 01, 2008: "I'm not sure if this is the right place to leave comments about your
recipe, but here it goes. Yesterday for Halloween I tried making a pumpkin pie from a real pumpkin. I had some
trouble cooking it and it seemed like I just kept running into problems (of my own fault), but I was determined to
make this pie! When I finally got all the ingredients together I thought I had ruined it! I knew you said it would be
pretty soupy but I never thought it would be like that. Plus I had TONS of left over filling! Long story short though,
when I finally brought the pie out of the oven I knew my hours of labor had been worth it! It was absolutely the
BEST PUMPKIN PIE my family ever had. My father, who is quite health conscious by the way, finished off half of
the pie by himself! It was totally worth it and I am so excited to make more for Thanksgiving. Plus I took your
advice and with the extra pumpkin filling made pumpkin pie bars, which I'm sure will be gone in no time! Thank
you so much for this recipe and the step by step instruction made all the difference in the world! Signed, A Very
Satisfied First Timer"