Pumpkin Pie with Candied Pecan Topping
Pumpkin Pie: the BEST way to end your holiday meal! Easy to make, with a creamy spiced filling and flaky crust. Slices beautifully & can be made ahead.
*This post originally published on November 20, 2015. I thought it was due for an update! So, I’ve included new photos, added a how-to video, and given some more detailed instructions and tips for success. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this pumpkin pie recipe as much I do!*
It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a beautiful, bronzed and burnished pumpkin pie at the center of the table!
But for Thanksgiving dinner, you’ve gotta go with the classics. Rich, earthy pumpkin, sweetened with brown sugar and warmed with plenty of fall spices, all cradled in a flaky, buttery pie crust. It’s so nostalgic and familiar; everyone looks forward to it all year long!
WHAT DOES PUMPKIN PIE TASTE LIKE?
If you’ve never had pumpkin pie before, boy are you missing out! It’s a Thanksgiving tradition in America, ever since that first Thanksgiving feast when the pilgrims sat down with the Native Americans.
It’s made by mixing pureed pumpkin into a creamy custard, along with eggs and spices. The filling is then poured into a flaky pastry crust and baked until set.
The flavor is pure fall. Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove all come together and bring out the best in the earthy pumpkin.
Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream, and a sprinkling of sweet and crunchy candied pecans. It’s the best way to end your feast!
HOW TO MAKE PUMPKIN PIE FROM SCRATCH
Baking from scratch might sound intimidating, but homemade pumpkin pie is probably the best place to start because it’s so easy.
What pastry should be used for pumpkin pie?
You can use store bought pie crust if you’re looking for a quick shortcut. Or, you can make my favorite homemade pie crust. It comes out so unbelievably flaky (thanks to my special secret method!) and it’s made with no shortening, so the flavor is off the charts!
To avoid a soggy bottom on your pie crust, it’s a good idea to par-bake it before adding the filling. Just lay a piece of parchment over the unbaked crust, and fill it with pie weights or dry beans or rice. (This will help the crust to lie flat as it’s baking in the oven.)
Pumpkin pie filling
Once the crust is partially baked, mix up the filling. It’s as easy as whisking pumpkin puree, cream, eggs, and spices together until smooth. Just pour it into the crust and bake!
HOW LONG TO BAKE PUMPKIN PIE
For this recipe, the crust gets baked for about 20 minutes, then it’s filled and the whole thing is baked for another 45 to 50 minutes.
But because no two ovens are exactly the same, it’s a good idea to look for these signs that your pumpkin pie is truly done:
- The crust should look golden brown
- The filling will be set firm around the outside edges of the pie
- The filling will be just the slightest bit wobbly towards the center
If your pumpkin pie comes out runny, it’s probably because it didn’t bake long enough. If it gets a crack in it, it maybe baked a little too long.
Just bear in mind that the filling will become a lot thicker as it cools. There’s lots of residual heat in the pie for a good hour or so after it’s baked, and that heat will continue to cook the filling and help it to set. This is what’s known as “carry-over cooking.”
If you notice that the outside edge of your pie crust is starting to look too brown before the filling is done, you can pop on a pie shield, or just cover those areas loosely with foil.
Allow your pumpkin pie to cool for at least two hours before slicing it. Actually I prefer to give it an overnight chill in the fridge. This way, you know it’s fully set!
If you’d like to put your own twist on this pumpkin pie recipe, here are a few ideas for you.
What kind of pumpkin to use
This recipe calls for canned pumpkin puree, but if you want to make your own puree, you can definitely do that.
The best variety of pumpkin to use would be the Sugar Pumpkin. Just scrape out the seeds and membrane and bake until soft, then puree the flesh in the food processor or blender.
Pumpkin Pie Spice
I don’t usually keep pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice on hand, so this recipe calls for a combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. But if you’d prefer, you can substitute 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice.
Evaporated milk is another one of those things that I don’t usually have on hand. (Have a look at my list of pantry staples here: How to Stock your Pantry for Baking.)
So this recipe has no evaporated milk. I like to use heavy whipping cream instead. But if you really prefer evaporated milk in your pumpkin pie, you can swap that in for cream, in equal measure.
Gluten-Free/Dairy Free/Vegan Pumpkin Pie
This pumpkin pie filling is naturally gluten-free! But if you want a gluten-free crust as well, just substitute the all-purpose flour for a gluten-free flour blend Look for one that that subs 1:1 for regular flour. Here are a few good options:
- King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour
- Cup4Cup Multi-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
For a dairy-free and/or vegan pumpkin pie, replace the cream with any non-dairy creamer. The eggs can be replaced with ¾ cup non-dairy yogurt or silken tofu, whisked together with a scant ½ teaspoon of baking soda. For the crust, try using your favorite vegan butter substitute.
HOW TO STORE HOMEMADE PUMPKIN PIE
This pumpkin pie can be kept at room temperature for several hours. If you choose to bake it on the day you plan to serve it, it’s perfectly ok to make it in the morning and allow it to sit out until after dinner.
But one of the things I love the most about pumpkin pie is that it can be made ahead.
Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and keep it in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
Or, you can freeze it! When freezing pies, it’s a good idea to bake them in foil pans, just so that your pie dish isn’t tied up in the freezer! Wrap really well to prevent freezer burn or funky odors, and keep in the freezer for up to a month.
To thaw a frozen pumpkin pie, just place it in the refrigerator about 10 to 12 hours before you plan to serve it. If you try to thaw it at room temperature, you might end up with some condensation that could make the crust soggy.
I think you will love this easy pumpkin pie recipe! It’s a such a classic, and it will totally be the hit of your holiday meal!
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Pumpkin Pie with Candied Pecan Topping
For the Pumpkin Pie
- 1/2 batch (0.5 batch) Perfect Pie Crust from Scratch, , prepared & chilled
- 15 ounces (425.24 g) pumpkin puree
- 1 1/2 cups (357 g) heavy cream
- 3/4 cup (165 g) brown sugar, , lightly packed
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (1.5 teaspoons) ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon (0.13 teaspoon) ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon (0.13 teaspoon) nutmeg,, freshly grated (or 1/2 teaspoon pre-ground)
For the Candied Pecan Garnish (optional)
For the Pumpkin Pie
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- On a floured surface, roll out the pie dough to about 2-inches larger than the diameter of your pie plate.
- Line the pie plate with the dough, trim off excess, and crimp the edge.
- Line the pie shell with parchment, fill with pie weights (or dry beans or rice), and par bake for 20 minutes.
- Place the pumpkin puree, cream, brown sugar, eggs, spices, salt, and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk together until well incorporated.
- Transfer the filling to the reserved pie shell.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees F, then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes, or until set around the edges but still slightly soft in the center.
- Cool completely. Garnish with Candied Pecans just before serving.
For the Candied Pecan Garnish
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
- Place the pecan halves in a bowl and add the egg white. Stir to coat.
- Place the brown sugar, spices, salt, and zest in a small bowl, and stir to combine. Add the mixture to the nuts and toss, coating the nuts.
- Transfer the nuts to a parchment-lined baking sheet, in a single layer, and bake for 60 minutes. Nuts will become crisp as they cool.