The special trick to transform your pumpkin pie

pumpkin pie

I’d never had pumpkin pie before moving to America but I love it. It’s not that different to a nutmeggy British egg custard tart (one of my faves) really. It is the perfect end to an Autumnal dinner so I’ve written my recipe which includes a special stage that you won’t see in many other recipes.

I’m afraid I haven’t got a good picture of the finished pie because we always eat it at the end of a big autumnal dinner when I’ve forgotten (am too greedy) to take a photo. Trust me though, it’s a corker. You can see a picture of it below (well half of it) when I made it in a cabin in Tahoe on our second Thanksgiving in America.

The extra stage that elevates things

Roasting the pumpkin and spices before making the filling makes the flavours extra toasty and removes some of the water, giving a firmer set custard.

Get ahead

The pastry can be made ahead of time and frozen or kept in the fridge, well wrapped for 3 days. Or you can line the pie dish and freeze it. If cooking from frozen, add 10 minutes to the blind baking time.

The pie is best made the in the morning or a few hours before eating. Leftovers are best with a coffee for breakfast the next day but if you must, they can be kept in the fridge for 3 days.


Pastry/pie crust
250g (2 cups) plain (all purpose) flour
50g (just over a third of a cup) icing (powdered) sugar
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
150g (10 tablespoons) cold salted butter
2 egg yolks
around 15ml (just under a tablespoon) iced water

1 can of pure pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon plain or all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
half a teaspoon ground ginger
quarter of a teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
Half a cup (125ml) pure maple syrup, Grade B if you can get it
half a teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Serve with
whipped cream mixed with maple syrup (around 2 tablespoons maple syrup per cup of double/heavy cream).

thanksgiving in the cabin

To make:

Pastry/pie crust

  1. Put the pastry ingredients into a food processor and pulse until it just comes together in a ball. Squeeze the pastry into a thick pancake shape and wrap in foil or parchment and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer. The pastry can also be frozen.
  2. Roll the chilled pastry out until it is around 5mm (about an eighth of an inch) thick. I put the chilled pastry between two pieces of flour-dusted baking parchment and roll out to stop it sticking.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C Fan) or 350°F.
  4. Peel the top layer of parchment off the pastry and lay the pastry in a glass, metal or ceramic pie dish around 9 inches (22cm) across, around 2 inches deep. Press any cracks together. Leave 2 inches of the excess pastry hanging over the sides – you can trim it off after the pie is cooked for a neat modern edge. If you are the decorative sort, cut the excess into strips, braid it and lay that around the edge. Whatever you do, prick the base of the pastry case about 8 times all over with a fork.
  5. Line the pastry case with baking parchment and fill the parchment with baking beans or dried lentils, then bake for 10 mins. Remove the beans and paper, and cook for a further 10 mins until the base is pale golden and starting to crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you prepare your filling.

Filling and finishing

  1. Mix the canned pumpkin with the spices and spread thinly onto a parchment or silicone-lined baking tray. Cook at the same oven temperature as you cooked the pastry for 15 minutes.
  2. Scrape the cooked spiced pumpkin into a bowl then add the milk to cool it slightly before adding the eggs, flour, maple syrup and salt. Whisk until smooth before pouring into the pastry. Cook for 55-60 minutes until the center is just set then leave to cool before using a sharp knife to cut the over hanging edges off the tart (cook’s treat).


You can now buy the equipment I use in this recipe through my shop. I’ve spent years testing my favourite bits of equipment so rest-assured that whatever I recommend is the best tool for the job and will give you great results without cluttering your kitchen with unused tools.

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