I had originally intended to have this post ready for Canadian Thanksgiving way back in October, but I never got around to making my pumpkin pie. Until now. Coincidentally, just in time for American Thanksgiving. I had been wanting to make pumpkin pie for ages, which required numerous phone calls home to mom for the recipe since I’d never made it before. I’ve been on a bit of a pumpkin kick lately (you’ll see what I mean over the next week or so!), and I really wanted to make a pumpkin pie so I could introduce it to all my UK friends who’d never had it before. You see, pumpkin pie is a very typical fall / autumn dessert in North America, and is traditionally served at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I remember my first autumn in the UK – I wanted to make a batch of my favourite pumpkin spice cupcakes, but I couldn’t find any canned pumpkin. It just doesn’t exist here unless you can get to one of the few places in London that carry imported American foods such as Whole Foods. But don’t worry – I have a solution for that!
When you mention pumpkin to people here in the UK, they tend to think of things like pumpkin risotto or pumpkin ravioli. You know, savoury things. Definitely not sweet things like pies, cakes, muffins, brownies or breads. I think we North Americans have a real knack for turning absolutely everything imaginable into some kind of sweet dessert or cake.
And as I mentioned in my post here the other day, I’ve found that most people in the UK don’t like overly sweet things. And because pumpkin pie isn’t too sweet, I’m pretty sure that people here in the UK would really like it if they got a chance to try it. But…. I didn’t know for sure, so I decided to turn my pumpkin pie into a pumpkin tart since a tart would have less pumpkin filling in it than the regular pie version. See…..
To make my pumpkin tart I cheated and used a pre-made pastry crust. I just couldn’t be bothered to make one from scratch. Why? Well, because I’d already spent a bunch of time making my own fresh pumpkin puree to use in my pie. I was going to use a can of Libby’s pumpkin puree (as shown in my picture below), but changed my mind at the last minute and decided to go with a fresh puree. Making your own pumpkin puree definitely takes a bit of time, but it’s really easy to do – I’ll explain below. In addition to a pie crust and pumpkin puree, you’ll also need some evaporated milk, eggs, sugar and a few spices.
Oh, and make sure you don’t throw away those pumpkin seeds! They make a fantastic little snack or garnish for your pie!
The following recipe is for a full 9″ pie. I’d recommend halving the recipe if you plan on making a tart like I did. I made the full recipe, and got the large rectangular tart above, 2 smaller individual heart tartlettes, and a 4″ round that was approx 2 inches deep.
2 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (recipe to follow)
or the 5 following spices (but not both)
1 ¾ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 425ºF (230ºC). In a large bowl mix the spices, salt and sugar together. Add in the eggs, pumpkin and evaporated milk and beat until well mixed.
2. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch unbaked pie crust and at 425ºF (230ºC) for 15 minutes*, then reduce the heat to 350ºF (175ºC) and continue to bake for about 40* minutes until the edges are slightly puffed and a knife inserted into pie mixture comes out clean. Cool and serve with whipped cream.
*Because my tart wasn’t as deep as a regular pie, I baked mine for 10 minutes at 425ºF (230ºC), and then baked for a further 25-30 minutes at 350ºF (175ºC).
1 medium pumpkin – sugar pumpkins work well for this
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC). Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the “guts” and seeds (save the seeds to roast later – see recipe below). Place the pumpkin halves onto a baking sheet with the skin sides up and roast them in the oven for 40-50 minutes, or until the flesh is soft and tender.
2. Let the pumpkin cool for 10 minutes and then scoop out the pumpkin flesh into a large bowl. Using an immersion hand blender, puree the pumpkin until it’s nice and smooth.
3. Line a large strainer/colander with a clean fabric kitchen/tea towel, and place the whole thing in the since or in another bowl. Pour the pumpkin puree into the towel lined strainer and let it sit for 10 minutes to cool. Once the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, gather the corners of the towel so the pumpkin sits in a little sack. Start twisting the towel so that the water from the pumpkin begins to come out from the bottom of the towel. A LOT OF WATER WILL COME OUT. Keep on twisting the towel and squeezing the pumpkin until most of the water has been removed from the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be more of a solid pack consistency which is a bit hard to describe, but it should have the same consistency as normal canned pumpkin – see my photo below.
**The pumpkin I used was a 5lb (2.25kg) pumpkin before I removed the insides. After roasting and pureeing the flesh I managed to squeeze out exactly 3 cups (750ml) of liquid from the pumpkin, which then left me with exactly 1 ½ cups (325g) of fresh pumpkin puree – just enough for the pie!
Pumpkin Pie Spice
In North America they sell pre-mixed jars of pumpkin spice. Pumpkin spice is basically just a pre-made blend of the individual spices that are called for in a pumpkin pie. I make my own using the recipe below. I use it in a lot of different recipes, and it’s far easier than getting out a half dozen spice jars each time.
An old empty spice jar, or other small container
In a small bowl, whisk all of the spices together and transfer the blend into your old spice jar. Make sure you label your jar as “Pumpkin Spice” to avoid getting it mixed up with the other spices! That’s it. Simple! (Note: I don’t use All Spice in my Pumpkin Pie Spice, but I did use it in my pie).
Candied Pumpkin Seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1. Preheat your oven to 300ºF (155ºC). Wash the pumpkin seeds in a strainer or colander so they’re clean and free of any “pumpkin guts”. Pat them dry using a paper towel and spread them on a greased pan. Place them in the oven for about 45 mins, stirring every 10-15 mins. They should be crisp and a very light golden colour when done.
2. In a small bowl, combine 1½ Tbsp sugar together with the salt and pumpkin pie spice – set aside. In a non-stick pan, melt the butter and the remaining 1½ Tbsp sugar together over medium high heat for a minute or two until the sugar and butter are melted together – make sure the heat isn’t too high so it doesn’t burn! Dump in your pumpkin seeds, and stir so they’re all coated with the butter & sugar mixture. Once they’re all coated, sprinkle the remaining sugar & spice mixture over the pumpkin seeds, and continue to stir them in the hot pan until the sugar has melted and coated all of the seeds. This should only take a minute or two. Spread them back on your greased pan that you used for roasting them, and allow to cook before eating.
There ya go! Homemade pumpkin pie! Easy to make, and you don’t need to go out and find canned pumpkin if you don’t want to.
Oh, and if you can’t find a fresh pumpkin you can make the same pumpkin pie recipe using