Pumpkin Pie



Homemade pumpkin pie is the taste of autumn with crisp shortcrust pastry and a soft, creamy spiced pumpkin filling.

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Homemade pumpkin pie is the taste of autumn with crisp shortcrust pastry and a soft, creamy spiced pumpkin filling.

I only recently tried pumpkin pie for the first time, I’d been avoiding it on the basis that I didn’t like the idea of it (surely veg in a pie should be savoury) rather than for any “real” reason. Anyway it turns out that I was in fact being a fool as it’s actually really yummy. It has crisp sweet shortcrust pastry and a delicious, custard-y centre flavoured with autumnal spices.

Given how yummy it was, I decided that I wanted to make my own. Annoyingly this then turned out to be a bit of an epic task with a few (still edible but not quite right) pie fails before the taste, texture and appearance was just how I wanted it to be. Fortunately having messed it up a few times I can now share all of the tips I picked up to get it just right so you won’t have to go though the same pie pain as me (it’s honestly pretty simple when you know how and if you don’t fancy doing all the steps you can always use ready-made pastry).

Homemade pumpkin pie is the taste of autumn with crisp shortcrust pastry and a soft, creamy spiced pumpkin filling.

Before I get on and tell you all the things that could go wrong and how to cleverly avoid them, I really want to take a few moments to sell the idea of a pumpkin pie to anyone who hasn’t tried one and is a touch sceptical. If you like custard (this has a very custard-y texture) and autumnal spices (cinnamon, ginger, etc) then you should definitely give pumpkin pie a try, there’s absolutely no need to worry about the pumpkin flavour as is pretty subtle alongside all of the cream, sugar and spices that have been added alongside it. I suspect in a blind taste test you probably wouldn’t pick it out. It does however give you 0.3 of your 5-a-day so it’s definitely adding something (although sadly I’m not convinced that converts this into the dizzy heights of being considered a “healthy” recipe)!

Homemade pumpkin pie is the taste of autumn with crisp shortcrust pastry and a soft, creamy spiced pumpkin filling.

Anyway, if you fancy giving it a try (or you’ve made troublesome pumpkin pie in the past), here’s some tips to hopefully help you get it just right…

Pumpkin Pie Troubleshooting

My pumpkin pie has a soggy bottom

You need to blind bake (cook) the pastry before adding the filling. The pumpkin pie filling is very wet and if you add it into raw pastry it’ll soak in making the pastry too soft to cook properly. Baking the pastry first should ensure that your crust is crisp.

My pie crust is over-cooked/burnt

The problem with blind baking the pastry is that it really doesn’t need the extra 25-30 minutes of cooking time needed to cook the pie filling. Most of the pastry will be fine as it’s protected by the tin, but the top edges can burn. To stop this happening, I wrap a ring of tin foil around the edge of the tart tin, just turning it inwards a little to protect the edges.

My pastry sticks when I try and roll it out

While we’re on the subject of pastry, it can be tricky sometimes and sticks to the work surface/rolling pin when you try and roll it out. There are three ways I use to get around this…

  1. Chilling the pastry before trying to roll it out seems the make it less sticky.
  2. Lightly flouring your work surface and rolling pin should help stop it sticking.
  3. (My favourite) Place a sheet of cling film below and on top of the pastry while you roll it out, you can then easily peel off the cling film and lift it into your tart tin. You can even use the bottom sheet of clingfilm to help you lift it, great if you’re making a large tart or pie where it can be tricky to lift in one piece.

My pastry collapsed when I blind baked it

My final pastry tip is to ensure that you chill the pastry after you’ve lined your tin but before cooking, this will help it to hold it’s shape while it’s cooking.

The top of my pumpkin pie has cracked

This happens either because the pie has been overcooked in the oven (the pie filling will puff up and crack as it does so) or the pie has cooled too quickly. To stop this happening I turn the oven off relatively early (after just 25-30 minutes) but leave the pie in the oven to cool. This has two benefits…

  1. Leaving it in the warm oven helps ensure that the middle of the pie sets perfectly so it’s soft but not runny.
  2. It cools slowly, reducing the chance that it’ll crack.

My pumpkin pie filling is grainy rather than smooth

This pie filling should be smooth like custard, if it’s gone a bit grainy then that’s a sign that it’s overcooked. I avoid this by reducing my cooking time and cooling the pie in the oven (as I described above). It can be tricky to know when it’s done (set at the edges and wobbly in the middle is a bit open to interpretation isn’t it?). A sure sign that it’s time to turn the heat off is if the filling starts to puff up. If you see that happening then get the heat off! I tend to go a bit “Bake Off” after it’s been in the oven for 25 minutes, sitting on the floor, keeping a close eye through the oven door.


In all honesty, none of these problems is a reason not to serve your pie (unless of course you’ve had big problems with no. 1 and your pastry is completely raw) it’ll still taste good, so if you do have any problems then just enjoy it anyway and remember these tips for the next time.

Homemade pumpkin pie is the taste of autumn with crisp shortcrust pastry and a soft, creamy spiced pumpkin filling.

I’ve also made a quick video of this recipe as part of my ongoing work for Oven Pride…

Pumpkin Pie

Active Time: 30 minutes (you can save time by using ready-made pastry)

Total Time: 2 hours

Serves 8 (Makes a 7″ pie)

Ingredients

If you’re not a fan of making your own pastry then you could use ready-made sweet shortcrust pastry or simply buy a ready-made tart case.

For the pastry

  • 275g plain flour
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 1 egg

For the pie filling

  • 200g pumpkin purée (Take a look at my easy recipe for making your own)
  • 80g soft light brown sugar
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • ½ tbsp pumpkin spice (I use 1 tsp ground cinnamon, ½ tsp ground ginger, pinch of ground cloves and pinch of ground nutmeg)
  • Pinch of salt
  • A little milk

Equipment

  • Large bowl
  • Small sieve
  • Measuring spoons, jug & scales
  • Spoon & fork
  • Small sharp knife
  • Rolling pin
  • Pastry brush
  • Cling film, tin foil & greaseproof paper
  • Baking beads
  • 7″ tart/quiche tin (I use this one from Lakeland – apparently the little holes help the pastry to cook better)
  • Leaf cookie cutter (I used one from this set from Steamer Trading)

Homemade pumpkin pie is the taste of autumn with crisp shortcrust pastry and a soft, creamy spiced pumpkin filling.

Method

If you’re making your own pumpkin purée, then do this first before starting the other steps so it has time to cool.

Make the pastry

  1. Cut the butter (125g) into cubes. Put the flour, caster sugar and butter into a large bowl and rub together with you fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Lightly beat one of the eggs and add it to the bowl. Mix to combine and then bring the mixture together with your hands.
  3. Roll out the pastry to about the thickness of a £1 coin (c.3mm) and line your tart tin with the pastry, trim off any excess and put to one side to make the decorative leaves. Prick the bottom and sides of the pastry with a fork. Cover with clingfilm and put into the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes.

Blind bake the pastry

  1. Heat your oven to 200ºC/180ºC fan.
  2. Place a sheet of greaseproof paper inside the pastry crust and add some baking beads (or dry rice or beans if you don’t have any baking beads). Take a little care to ensure that the beans go right to the bottom edges.
  3. Bake the pastry for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and carefully lift out the greaseproof paper and beads and bake for a further 10 minutes until the crust is light brown in colour.
  4. While the pastry crust is cooking, roll out the excess pastry you saved earlier and use a cutter to cut out leaf shapes (if you don’t have a cutter then you can cut them with a sharp knife). Place them onto a baking sheet, brush in a little milk (to help give them a nice colour) and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

While the crust is cooking, make your pumpkin pie filling

  1. Put the pumpkin purée (200g), light brown sugar (80g), cornflour (1 tsp – sift this in to avoid any lumps), double cream (100ml), 1 egg, spices (1 tsp ground cinnamon, ½ tsp ground ginger, pinch of ground cloves, pinch of ground nutmeg) and a pinch of salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Get some tin foil and form it into a circle the same size as the tart tin (if you wrap this around the tin it’ll stop the top edge of the pastry over-cooking).
  3. Once the pie crust has finished blind baking, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 180ºC/160ºC fan. Pour this filling into the pie crust. Place the tin foil ring around the tart tin (carefully!) and bake for 25-30 minutes until the edges are set but the middle still wobbles. If you see the top start to puff up then take that as a sign that it’s time to turn the heat off.
  4. Once you’ve reached that stage, turn off the oven but leave the pie in and open the door a little to let out some of the heat (cooling the pie slowly this way ensures that it sets fully without overcooking).
  5. Once cooled, decorate with pastry leaves and serve.


Homemade pumpkin pie is the taste of autumn with crisp shortcrust pastry and a soft, creamy spiced pumpkin filling.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 378 kcal (19%), Fat: 20.9g (30%), Saturated Fat: 12.5g (63%), Carbohydrates: 40.9g (16%), Sugar: 16.3g (18%), Fibre: 1.6g (7%), Protein: 5.5g (11%), Salt: 0.1g (1%)

This is the estimated nutritional information per serving. Please refer to my guide to Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen nutritional information if you want to learn more about how this is calculated.

Free From/Suitable For…

  • Suitable for Vegetarians
  • Nut-Free
  • Soy-Free

The ingredients for this recipe are easily available free from all these allergens. However, please ensure you double-check allergen information for all ingredients.

Homemade pumpkin pie is the taste of autumn with crisp shortcrust pastry and a soft, creamy spiced pumpkin filling.


I’m sharing this recipe with the following blog challenges… #CookBlogShare with Sneaky Veg and #TheFoodCalendar for Halloween.

11 Comments:

  1. This looks stunning! I’ve been on the fence about trying out a pumpkin pie but I’ll definitely give this a go now! #CookBlogShare

    • If you like cinnamon & ginger and custard-y desserts then you should definitely give it a try. I was sceptical and regret waiting so long now!

  2. Charlotte this loos absolutely stunning. I love how you’ve decorated the top with the leaves. Gorgeous! Thanks for linking up with #CookBlogShare

    • Thanks Mandy. It seemed like a good way to use of the excess pastry and add a little decoration as it’s not the prettiest dessert.

  3. Ah! Love this so darn much. I mean, the pumpkin pie is obviously to die for, but those cute little leaves just take it to another level. Can’t wait to impress the family with this one! 🙂

  4. I have to admit that I’ve never tried pumpkin pie either thinking the same as you, but this year I’ve been half tempted to give one a go, and having seen how fab yours has turned out I’ll definitely definitely be giving it a go. Love how you’ve presented it with pastry ‘leaves’.
    Angela x

    • I’m feeling pressured now as you’re the second person I’ve convinced to give it a try! I hope you enjoy it 🙂

  5. This looks like a mighty good pie Charlotte! I love the leaves on the top. Where did you get the cookie cutters?
    I smiled at the reluctance to try pumpkin pie….. I was the same and thought that it must be savoury…… then I made my first one a few years ago and was sold! They are not pumkiny at all! x

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