Pumpkin Pie

Photos by  Zachary Cross

Photos by Zachary Cross

As we were getting ready to make a pumpkin pie for our Christmas supper I realized that there was no pumpkin pie recipe on the blog. It’s time to change that!


Mollie Katzen’s “No-Fault Pumpkin Pie” is the recipe we’ve been making for years. It’s a basic pumpkin custard pie, lightly sweetened. Although the recipe calls for white and brown sugar you can replace those with market honey and maple syrup, though I do recommend a bit of molasses or brown sugar for a bit of molasses flavor.

Homemade pumpkin purée can be a bit watery, as opposed to canned pumpkin. This leads to more of a texture issue than anything else, but can be combated in several ways. First, cook your pumpkin well and strain it. Find methods on the blog here and here. Next, don’t add too many liquids to the recipe. For instance, if you have some crystallized honey this would be a great time to use it, instead of a more liquid honey. Your milk choice is important, too. You can make your own evaporated milk, use straight cream, or use a combination of milk and cream. Other options include sour cream or yogurt - both do change the flavor, but some of our family members enjoy the tang. Finally, make sure you use enough eggs. Market eggs can be smaller (or larger) than grocery store large eggs so weigh them if you can. A standard large egg is 2-2.24 ounces. You can also add an extra egg if you like. The texture will be lighter and fluffier, and less like a traditional, dense pumpkin pie.

If you picked up some fresh ginger at the market last month, use that in your pie as well. Substitute 1 tablespoon fresh grated for 1 teaspoon of dried ground.

In addition to baking in a standard pie crust, you can bake the custard mixture in a greased dish and serve it as, well, custard. This is great for folks that are gluten-free, but we’ve always made some of ours that way. It often seems, perhaps because of odd pan sizes, that we have custard mixture left over. No need to let it go to waste!


No-Fault Pumpkin Pie

From The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen
Makes 1 9-inch pie

3 cups cooked, puréed pumpkin or squash (or 1 29-oz. Can of pumpkin puree)
3 Tbs white sugar    
3 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs molasses
½ tsp cloves or allspice
1 ½ to 2 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ to 2 tsp powdered ginger
½ tsp salt
2 beaten eggs
1 ½ cups evaporated milk

1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust

Optional Toppings:
Whipped cream with a little sugar and rum
Whipped cream with a little sugar and vanilla extract
Vanilla ice cream

  1. Preheat oven to 375°

  2. Place pumpkin or squash purée in a medium-sized bowl, and add all the other filling ingredients. Beat until smooth.

  3. Spread into the pie crust and bake at 375° for 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350°; and bake another 40 minutes, or until the pie is form in the center when shaken slightly.

  4. Cool at least to room temperature before serving. This pie tastes very good chilled, with rum- or vanilla spiked whipped cream, or some high-quality vanilla ice cream.

Heather Cross