Here are some helpful tips for making a quick pumpkin pie or an entire pumpkin pie from scratch!
Creating a Family Favorite
This pie favorite is one of the easiest desserts to make using canned pumpkin and store-bought crusts (and they’re actually way better than they used to be), but you can also easily make your own crust. Check out this video on making pie crust from our very own Tbsperin!
My Mom loves the canned pumpkin for all sorts of things beyond pie such as pumpkin muffins and even pumpkin cookies. Her trick on how to make pumpkin pie was the temperature of the oven. After mixing canned pumpkin (some call it canned puree), she added things like evaporated milk, eggs, brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon and ginger—or if those weren’t on hand, pumpkin pie spice worked just as well.
Mom’s trick was to preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and after 10 minutes of cooking she lowered the oven temp to 350 degrees. From there it was just a matter of checking the pie after 30 minutes by inserting a knife in the middle. If it came out clean, the pie is done. If the knife had orange pie puree on it, she allowed more cooking time (but never strayed too far from the oven until the pie was out).
Her pies were always good, even better topped with whipped cream. But what about those of us who want to dig in and cook a pumpkin pie from scratch?
Buy a Pumpkin, Make a Pie
I really thought you could buy any pumpkin and turn it into pumpkin puree—not true! There are pumpkins called pie pumpkins, or sugar or cheese pumpkins. These pumpkins are the ideal size and sweetness for pumpkin pie.
So, skip those big pumpkins you carve as Jack-O-Lanterns and look for smaller, sweeter ones. They are usually in season from September to the end of December (or even beyond in some areas) so your grocery store is sure to have some in stock around that time of the year.
Once you have the pumpkin home and are ready to make a pie, cut the pumpkin in half and spoon out the stringy seeds. From there you can microwave, steam on the stove top or bake your pumpkin to soften the meat before pureeing. With the microwave, you cover the chunks of pie with water and cook for about 20 minutes—this is the fastest way although some disagree and say a double pot steamer works the best and takes the same amount of time. Baking the pie chunks in a covered pot in the oven at 350 degrees is a much longer process but also works nicely.
Once the pumpkin is cooked, you can jump right on to the next stage of pureeing the pumpkin, which is easily done with a milkshake-type hand blender or food processor. This only takes a few minutes and then you can add your spices, pour the mixture into the crust and use the method of starting at a higher temp for at least 10 minutes and then turning the oven down until done. Or be adventurous and try making a pumpkin cream cheese pie.