Welcome to the world of the Best Pumpkin Pie from Scratch: the Ultimate Fall Treat that’s perfect for cozy gatherings and holiday celebrations. This decadent dessert not only looks and tastes delectable, but also possesses a rich history and fascinating cultural roots. Immerse yourself in the making of this extraordinary pie and discover its story along the way.
To craft the perfect pumpkin pie, gather the following ingredients:
- 1 medium-sized sugar pumpkin (roughly 3 lbs) or 2 cups of pureed pumpkin
- 1 9-inch pie crust (homemade or store-bought)
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
- Whipped cream for serving (optional)
Preparing the Pumpkin Puree
Creating a pumpkin puree from scratch will give your pie a flavor that just can’t be replicated from canned alternatives.
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Cut the sugar pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and pulp, and place the halves (cut-side down) on the baking sheet.
3. Roast the pumpkin until the flesh is soft and can be easily pierced with a fork (roughly 45-60 minutes).
4. After cooling, scoop out the flesh and blend it until it achieves a smooth consistency. Measure out the desired 2 cups and reserve the rest for another use.
Feel free to use canned pumpkin as a substitute if you’re short on time or have limited access to fresh pumpkins.
Making the Pumpkin Pie
With the puree prepared, assembling your Best Pumpkin Pie is a breeze.
1. Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).
2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then add the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Mix well.
3. Gradually stir in the evaporated milk, ensuring the mixture is smooth and well combined.
4. Roll out your pie crust and press it into a greased 9-inch pie dish.
5. Pour the pumpkin filling into the crust and smooth the top with a spatula.
6. Bake your pie at 425°F (220°C) for 15 minutes. Then, reduce the temperature to 350°F (175°C) and continue baking for an additional 40-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
7. Allow the pie to cool on a wire rack for a minimum of 2 hours to achieve the perfect texture. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream if desired.
History, Tradition, and Curiosities
The pumpkin pie boasts a rich history as a symbol of American Thanksgiving celebrations and the harvest season in general. Although it originated in Europe in the 17th century, the dish truly gained prominence in the United States, where pumpkin crops were bountiful.
Earliest versions of pumpkin pie resemble a British dish known as “pompion pie,” which combined the pumpkin with apples, spices, and sugar. In this early variation, there was no pie crust, but rather a pot or container filled with the sweetened pumpkin mixture.
The marriage of pumpkin pie and Thanksgiving transpired thanks to the Plymouth Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians who celebrated the harvest together in 1621. However, pumpkin was present as a side dish but not a dessert. The actual usage of pumpkin in a pie owed much to Sarah Josepha Hale, a 19th-century American writer and editor, who made sure it is associated with Thanksgiving by featuring the recipe and serving it to her guests.
Today, pumpkin pie represents a cultural staple in American homes during the fall season, heartening the spirit of togetherness and gratitude as we gather with loved ones to celebrate the bounties of life.