A step-by-step guide to making a pumpkin pie fit for the Thanksgiving or Christmas table
If you’re about to swipe away from the page in annoyance, thinking this recipe might have been useful three weeks ago, remember, pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween, they’re for life. Or, at least, autumn – and, if you’re American, Thanksgiving in particular, where pumpkin pie is as much part of the celebrations as deep-fried turkey and sweet potatoes with marshmallows (I know, I know), and considerably less likely to get lost in translation.
- Prep 25 min
- Cook 90 min
- Makes 1 x 20cm pie
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- For the pastry (or use 300g ready- made shortcrust pastry)
- 170g plain flour
- 1 pinch salt
- 100g cold butter
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
For the pie filling
- 1 small culinary pumpkin or medium butternut squash (see step 1)
- 1 pinch salt
- 145g maple syrup
- 3 tbsp golden rum – optional
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cloves (or 5 cloves, ground)
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 150ml evaporated milk
1 Pick your pumpkin
Jav sex This pie depends absolutely on using the right pumpkin, so don’t be tempted to use the watery innards of your Halloween jack o’lantern, should you still have them hanging around. Instead, search out a decent cooking variety such as crown prince or red onion squash, which are available at greengrocers, farm shops and markets, or use a butternut squash.
2 Prepare the pumpkin
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Cut the pumpkin into halves or quarters, depending on its size, and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. To roast the seeds at a later date, clean them first, then boil for five minutes, drain and dry. Toss with a little oil, and bake, spread out on a tray, in a 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4 oven for about 10 minutes.
3 Cook the pumpkin
Arrange the pumpkin skin side up in a roasting tin just big enough to fit it all in one layer, then scatter over two tablespoons of cold water. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the flesh is tender all the way through, then remove and set aside to cool slightly. Turn off the oven unless you’re using ready-made pastry.
4 Puree the pumpkin
Once the pumpkin is a comfortable temperature to handle, peel off and discard the skin and scoop the flesh into the bowl of a food processor. Whizz until you have a smooth puree, then transfer to a fine sieve set over a bowl or the sink. Leave to drain while you make the pastry (or for about half an hour if you’re not).
5 Make the pastry
Sift the flour into a bowl, stir in the salt, then grate in the butter. Rub in with your fingertips, until the mix looks like coarse sand, then stir through the sugar. Mix the egg yolk with two tablespoons of iced water, and sprinkle half of this over the dough mixture. Stir until it comes together into a firm but not damp ball – add a little more of the egg yolk mix, if need be.
6 Prepare and line the tin
Grease a 20cm tart tin. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about 3mm thick, and use to line the tin. Prick all over with a fork, and chill for 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4, then line the case with greaseproof paper and baking beans or rice.
7 Blind bake the pastry
Bake the pastry case for 15 minutes, then remove the hot paper and beans, and bake for another five to 10 minutes, until the base is pale golden. While the crust is baking, put 250g of the pumpkin puree into a bowl with a pinch of salt, and discard the liquid that has drained from it.
8 Finish the filling
Stir the maple syrup, rum (if using; most dark spirits or liqueurs will work here, incidentally) and spices into the pumpkin puree. Taste for sweetness, adding a little more syrup or spice if you think it necessary, then beat in the eggs. Slowly whisk in the evaporated milk until it’s a thick, creamy consistency – you may not need it all.
9 Fill the tart and bake again
Pour the filling into the blind-baked pastry case, and bake for about 40 minutes, checking on it from half an hour onwards, until the filling is set, but still slightly wobbly in the centre. Leave to cool in the tin for at least an hour before serving, so the filling has time to set.