I’ll be honest, I grew up never liking pumpkin pie. In fact, no one in my immediate family liked it either, so it wasn’t much of a staple in our house around the holidays. However, when it came to Thanksgiving and Christmas, my grandma’s pumpkin pie made its regular appearance on the dessert table as my aunts, uncles and cousins all loved it. Many years later, when I was first dating my husband, I learned that he loved pumpkin pie. So when Thanksgiving came around, I thought I’d make him a pumpkin pie using my grandma’s recipe. And that is the recipe I had followed for the last several years…until now! Her recipe was made with canned pumpkin and while that is certainly one (easier) way to make a good pumpkin pie, this year I decided I wanted to try roasting my own pie pumpkin to compare the difference. Those cute little pie pumpkins at Trader Joe’s always intrigued me and for $1.99 I figured I could put in some extra manual labor to make a scratch pumpkin pie filling. I started off following the recipe sticker on the pie pumpkin, but made a few modifications along the way. First, the recipe called for whipping cream instead of milk and after doing some quick Google research, I decided to try evaporated milk as my liquid of choice. Evaporated milk has less water than regular milk, so I think that contributed to the nice thick consistency of this pie. I haven’t tried whipping cream yet, but that is likely an acceptable substitute as well. Additionally, for the spices, I opted for a pumpkin pie spice blend instead of just the cinnamon and nutmeg that the original recipe called for. I think the inclusion of the allspice, ginger and cloves from pumpkin pie spice blends gives it a more balanced flavoring of spice. Lastly, although the original recipe called for brown sugar, I opted to use dark brown sugar. Dark brown sugar has more molasses to it, which I thought would go well in this pie recipe. But if you don’t have dark brown sugar on hand, you can certainly use light brown sugar and even add a touch of molasses if you like.
For the pie crust, I had been holding on to a Wholly Wholesome Gluten Free Pie Crust that I wanted to use since I had already spent a lot of time on the filling. I will likely try making this again with a homemade pie crust, but the great part about this recipe is you can use it whatever crust you want, pre-made or homemade!
Once the homemade pumpkin pie filling was ready, I poured it into my pie crust and actually found that I had some leftover filling. I placed the extra filling in a small baking dish and baked it separately for about 15-20 minutes. I wish I could say I re-purposed it for something else, but the filling was so good to eat just plain that it didn’t last very long! Next time I’m going to show more self restraint and try using the leftovers for a pumpkin pie buttercream frosting or cupcake filling!
Well I have to say, after making this recipe, I am now a pumpkin pie fan! I think I would attribute my love of this pie to the real roasted pumpkin used in the filling. It just tasted so fresh with a wonderful blend of warmth and spices. I already can’t wait to make it again, and again! So although this recipe has now replaced my grandma’s pumpkin pie recipe, the tradition of pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving lives on!
And of course, I love to top any pie with a touch of homemade whipping cream.
- 1 Pie Pumpkin (do not use regular carving pumpkins)
- 1 Pie Crust of choice (I used Wholly Wholesome Gluten Free Pie Crust)
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- Pinch salt
- Preheat over to 350 degrees F.
- Wash pumpkin, cut in half, and remove stem, seeds and strings.
- Place pumpkin cut side down on a foil wrapped baking sheet.
- Cover the pumpkins and sheet with foil and bake 1½ hours or until tender.
- Allow roasted pumpkin time to cool.
- Peel, mash and mix pumpkin until smooth.
- Add evaporated milk, butter vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, salt and brown sugar.
- Taste and adjust seasonings per preference.
- Whip eggs and fold in being careful not to over mix.
- Pour filling into crust and back for about an hour or until firm.
- Cool before serving.