During the holidays, I’m not usually one for pumpkin pie. When I bake, I make sweet potato cheesecake or chocolate pecan pie at Thanksgiving because I want to keep it as rich and decadent and Southern as possible.

Still, armed with as much pumpkin as I am now, I could not avoid the lure of one of the most traditionally American pies out there. So once I pureed my blue pumpkin, I felt it was time to tackle the venerable pumpkin pie.

These pies date back to the Pilgrims, who discovered pumpkins when they came to the New World. But those first pies, according to various sites like this one , were not pies as we know them today (buttery crust filled with spicy-sweet, pumpkin-y goodness). Rather, they were hollowed-out pumpkins filled with milk, pumpkin flesh, spices and syrup and baked in hot ashes for hours.

But I am not a Pilgrim. I am merely a person with a New York Times Cookbook and a lot of pumpkin on her hands. So I started off as any latter day Pilgrim might, channeling the spirit of Paula Deen to make a sweet pie pastry chock full of butter.

Sweet Pie Pastry


1 cup of flour

¼ cup of unsalted butter (use Plugra or else)

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon sugar

grated rind of ½ lemon

pinch of salt.


  1. Put flour in bowl, make a well in center and add remaining ingredients.
  2. Mix the center ingredients with the fingers of one hand until well blended. Quickly work in the flour. Add small amount of ice water if necessary to moisten the dough so it can be gathered into ball.
  3. Wrap dough in wax paper and chill 1 hour. Roll out pastry, fit into pie plate and bake on bottom shelf of preheated 450 degree oven until brown, almost 15 mins.

From there, you move on to the filling…

Pumpkin Pie


Baked pie pastry

2 large eggs

½ cup sugar

2 tablespoons molasses

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cloves or allspice

2 cups pureed cooked pumpkin

1 ½ cups milk, half and half or evaporated milk (I say go with half and half, heavy cream, what-have-you)


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Beat the eggs with sugar, molasses, salt and spices until well blended. Add the pumpkin and half and half (or whatever) and mix well. Adjust the seasonings.
  3. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and bake on the lower shelf of the oven for ten minutes. Lower the heat to 400 degrees F and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes longer.

Here’s what you get…


Of course you might want to whip some fresh cream (add a pinch of sugar and some almond extract) for topping so you get this…


More from this series…

Yesterday: Breaking down the pumpkin and roasting the flesh and seeds.

Today’s recipe: Pumpkin pie, sweet pie crust.

Tomorrow’s recipe: An out of this world (and easy) pumpkin soup.