Pumpkin pie is the cornerstone of the Thanksgiving dessert table. More than 50 million pumpkin pies are consumed during Thanksgiving each year, according to news reports, and Americans buy nearly 483,000 pounds of pumpkin for the holiday.
I love a good shortcut, so in the past I always went for the all-natural canned pumpkin puree when making pie—and it works deliciously. When developing this year’s recipe, though, I decided to challenge myself to go all out and try my hand at using a fresh, roasted baking pumpkin.
It took a little longer than using canned pumpkin, but the result was totally worth it.
Roasting the fresh pumpkin helps to bring out the natural sugars and gives the pie a more earthy flavor. Because the roasting process also takes out a little of the extra moisture, I found that adding some cream into the pumpkin mixture keeps the texture moist and creamy. And the spices, along with the addition of a little black pepper as the pumpkin roasts, elevate this traditional dessert to the next level.
Servings: Yields 1 (9-inch) pumpkin pie
1 medium or 2 small baking pumpkins (to yield 2 cups pumpkin puree)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 (9-inch) pie crust
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon pumpkin spice
¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
¾ cups heavy cream
¼ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Use a sharp serrated knife to cut the tops off the pumpkins. Remove the seeds and scrape out the strings.
- Cut the hollowed-out pumpkin in half. Rub the inside flesh with the vegetable oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and place the pumpkin pieces onto the lined baking sheet, skin side up.
- Roast in the preheated oven for an hour or until the pumpkin is fork tender. Remove and allow it to cool completely. The pumpkin can be roasted the day before and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for three to four days.
- Roll out 1 disk of your pie dough to measure 12 inches in diameter. Press the dough into a 9-inch pie dish, crimping the edges.
- Prebake the pie dough in the 350-degree oven for 6 to 7 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven. Prick the bottom to allow steam to escape. This prevents the dough from becoming soggy once it is filled and baked.
- Use a spoon to scoop the roasted pumpkin insides into a mixing bowl. Use a potato masher to mash the pumpkin until it is completely smooth.
- Add in the cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin spice and nutmeg. Stir until well combined and set it aside.
- In a separate mixing bowl, stir together the brown sugar and cornstarch until well combined. Add in the eggs, beating until well incorporated. Carefully whisk in the cream, milk and vanilla until blended. Pour this mixture into the spiced pumpkin puree and mix until all incorporated.
- Carefully pour the pumpkin filling into the prebaked pie crust. Bake the pie in a 350-degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Note that the center of the pie may wobble even though the pie is set. Allow to cool before serving.
This article was originally published in the November 2022 issue of 225 magazine.