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As American as Pumpkin Pie

November 22, 2016 by

As an American expat of twenty-six years, I am forced to admit every November that my most compelling umbilical tie is pumpkin pie. That’s because I have the best pumpkin pie recipe in or out of the United States. I know your Grandma, your Aunt Betty, or Rachael Ray have all told you the same. Don’t believe them.

a freshly cut pumpkin pie

My recipe comes from a reassuringly round cook (never trust a skinny one) who fed amazingly well the small, hand-picked staff at my first professional teaching post: St. Dominic’s School in Boston, Massachusetts.

I share it with you now. May it serve you and all you feed equally well.

For one 9” Pumpkin Pie

  • 1 ½ cups pumpkin (blended, pureed) Cook and stir about 10 min or until most liquid has cooked off. Set aside.
  • 2 eggs Beat on medium speed in a large mixing bowl.
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup evaporated milk Stir with sugar into eggs.
  • ¼ tsp ginger
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg Dissolve these 3 spices in 2 T boiling water. Cool slightly and add to egg mixture.
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup cream Add both with pumpkin to egg mixture. Pour into unbaked pie shell.

Bake at 425 degrees F/200 degrees C for 15 minutes, then turn oven down to 300 degrees F/150 degrees C for 25 minutes longer (shorter in a convection oven).

Bake 4-5” above bottom of the oven until custard is coagulated except for a small circle in the center.

Delightfully delicious warm, room temperature, or chilled. I prefer it room temperature or chilled. You can decorate your pie with whipped cream or serve each piece with a dollop.

A secret confession: except for the rare occasion, I don’t use evaporated milk. I always use double-strength powdered milk; it works fine. Cream is also infrequent in my house, so whole milk (also with a bit of powdered milk added depending on the wholeness of your milk) does the trick. Rest assured: this recipe will work with your normal stock of kitchen supplies.


Read Ann’s thoughts on the deeper significance of Thanksgiving and eating together.

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About the author

Ann Morrissey photograph

Ann Morrissey

Ann Morrissey lives in Beech Grove, a Bruderhof in England, with her husband, Dave. They delight in the English countryside...

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  • Thank you for sharing that recipe! I'm going to try baking a custard inside a pumpkin and I think I'll use your ratio of spices. Have a lovely Thanksgiving!

    Betsy Hawes