Classic Pumpkin Pie: The Recipe You’ll Pass On to Your Grandchildren

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Classic Pumpkin Pie: The Recipe You'll Pass On to Your Grandchildren

The pumpkin pie recipe that's been handed down for generations – and that you may just pass on to your grandchildren too. It's wise to make the pie one day ahead so that it has sufficient time to cool before eating AND to allow the oven to be used for all the other dishes on the feasting day.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 5 minutes
Cooling Time2 hours
Total Time3 hours 15 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • cup evaporated cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons unsulfured molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups pumpkin purée OR (1) 540 mL can canned pumpkin
  • 1 ½ cups (354mL can) evaporated milk OR heavy cream
  • 1 homemade pie crust, chilled or frozen OR 2 pre-made pie shells

For the spice mix:

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

Instructions

  • Prepare the pie crust, if necessary. For homemade crust, make one batch of homemade pie crust (see Notes section below) and press it into a deep dish pie plate, including fluting the edges or any crust decorations you want to include. Leave uncooked and place in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Alternatively, have pre-purchased pie shells ready in the freezer.
  • Preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Arrange the oven racks so the pie can bake in the lower third of the oven.
  • Make the filling. Whisk the eggs, sugar, molassas, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the pumpkin purée. Pour in the evaporated milk and the spices and whisk again until smooth.
  • Pour into the pie crust. Pour the filling into the refrigerated crust or frozen pie shells. If you have more filling than is needed, stop pouring before you reach the rim, as the filling will puff during baking. Pour extra filling into buttered ramekins to bake as crustless pumpkin custards later.
  • Bake the pie. Bake at the preheated temperature of 425°F for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F and bake until the pie is puffed in the middle but still jiggles slightly when you gently shake the pan, 45-60 minutes more.
    If you test the center with a knife, the knife should come out relatively clean, yet also appear wet. If the knife slices the center and comes out completely clean, it has overbaked. (No worries! It's still delicious – it will just likely crack a bit while it cools. Top with whipped cream and no one will be the wiser.)
    About half-way through the baking, you may want to put foil around the edges or use a pie protector to keep the crust from getting too browned.
  • Cool the pie. Set the pie on a cooling rack and let cool at room temperature until fully cooled, 2-3 hours.
  • Serve. Dust with pumpkin pie spice, if desired, and serve with whipped cream. To store to serve later or to store leftovers, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to three days. Do not refrigerate a freshly baked pie until the pie is fully cooled.

Notes

Want a secret for delectably tasty pumpkin pie?

Use butternut squash purée instead! Pumpkin purée is delicious, but butternut takes it to the next level in so many ways.

See how to make pie crust and other homemade ingredients:

A note about eggs:

Why whole eggs AND egg yolk? Because egg whites and egg yolks play two different roles in custard-based pies, like this one. Egg yolks are primarily fats, vitamins, and minerals with some protein, and they're what make the pie silky and rich and luscious. Egg whites are mostly protein, which help create the firm structure of the pie.
So, while you can certainly adjust the amounts here, keep this in mind:
  • more egg yolks = a softer, richer pie
  • more egg whites = a firmer, slightly less custard-y tasting pie
That's why I consider the ratio of whites and yolks listed here to be the perfect ratio between the two.

To bake pumpkin pie custard ramekins if you have extra filling

  1. Butter the ramekins.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  3. Pour extra pumpkin pie filling in ramekins to fill them three-quarters of the way full.
  4. Place the ramekins in a casserole dish.
  5. Set the casserole dish in the oven and pour boiling water into the dish enough to come halfway up the outsides of the ramekins.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the centers are fully set.
  7. Cool at room temperature.
Don't bake the pumpkin custards at the same time as the pie or it may affect how the crust on the pie bakes.

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