Pumpkin pie is a North American classic desert pie made with the flesh of pumpkins or the culinary Winter squashes with their sweeter and more tasty flesh. Canned pumpkin flesh made with sweet butternut Winter Squash, is readily available in North America. In the UK you will probably have to use a real squash and prepare and cook the flesh as described here.
The typical Halloween or “Cinderella” type pumpkin is lower in taste and sweetness than the culinary types and thus requires the addition of more spices and sweetener. It can be also very “watery” and the cooked flesh of a Halloween type of squash may need to be drained first by placing in a sieve and allowed to drip for half an hour.
A special pumpkin spice mixture is available to cooks in North America. Here in the UK, you will need to add your own mixture by using ground allspice, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and cinnamon, or use mixed spice and allspice.
A can of Evaporated milk (9% fat) is usually added to the cooked squash flesh. Low fat (4%) evaporated milk is available. Some recipes, using condensed milk instead of evaporate milk, make the pumpkin pie too sweet and fattening for most tastes. Some recipes replace the evaporated milk with low fat cream cheese for a cheesecake pumpkin pie.
Pumpkin pies are usually sweetened with sugar, but you can use maple syrup, honey or malt extract. You can also replace the sugar with a low calorie sweetener.
Beaten eggs are added to set the mixture during the cooking period. If you are using the Halloween type of squash and the flesh is particularly wet, the addition of 1 tbsp of sauce flour may be necessary to set the mixture.
The pumpkin pie plates or tins used in North America are deeper than those usually found in the UK. If you use the quantities in the typical North American pumpkin pie recipe and UK sized pie tins, you will probably find that you have some mixture left over, which is rather annoying! The typical depth of a UK 20 cm (8 in) or 23 cm plate is only 3 cm (1.25 in), while the North American recipes use a plate with a 5 cm (2 in) depth.
This recipe makes about 1 litre of liquid pie filling. Allow about 350 ml for the volume of the pastry, thus to be safe, you require a pie tin with a total volume of about 1.5 litres.
Before you start cooking, check the volume of the pie tin you are going to use. Fill the pie tin with water and empty the water into a measuring jug to ensure that the volume is at least 1.5 litres. Alternatively, be prepared to use a second pie plate.
The deeper 5 cm (2 in) pie plates are available in the UK, but you may have to hunt them down. Alternatively, you could perhaps use 2 shallower pie tins. Non-stick pie plates with sloping sides, will make life easier when you are cooking and eating the pie.
For a low fat pastry, use my recipe here, or use your own or bought pastry.
LIST OF INGREDIENTS for TRADITIONAL PUMPKIN PIE.
2 cups (500 grams) of prepared and cooked pumpkin flesh.
1 can (410 g) of evaporated milk.
6 tbsp sugar, or to taste, or sweetener
Spices. 3 tsp mixed spice and 1 tsp of allspice.
METHOD for TRADITIONAL PUMPKIN PIE.
Cook and prepare the pumpkin flesh as detailed here and set aside.
Next, make my low fat pastry or make your own short crust pastry or buy short crust pastry.
Roll out the pastry on a well floured surface until the diameter is big enough to cover the base and sides of your pumpkin pie tin. Lightly oil the inner surfaces of the tin with a pastry brush, to ensure easy release of the pie. Roll the pastry onto your rolling pin and place the pastry into the pie tin, ensuring that it reaches to the top of the sides all round. Beat one of the eggs in a container with a volume of at least 1 litre, and use some of it to brush a thin layer all over the pastry. Place in the oven at 170 C for about 2 min, to seal the surface of the pastry and prevent it becoming soggy when the pumpkin mixture is added . Remove the tin from the oven.
Add the rest of the eggs to the litre container. Now add the pumpkin flesh, evaporated milk, sugar and spices. Blitz all the ingredients with a stick liquidizer for a minute, until the contents of the container are smooth. Pour the mixture into the pie tin and bake in an oven at 170 C for 45 min or until the centre of the pie is just firm. The pumpkin mixture rises during the cooking process, but falls back when the tin is removed at the end of the cooking period.
You could also blitz the ingredients using a processor or liquidizer, or even whip it with a fork or hand whisk.
You can replace the pastry with crushed ginger nut biscuits to line the pie tin. They will go soggy but do give an added zing to the taste of the pie. A ginger nut biscuit pie lining is particularly suitable for cheesecake pumpkin pie.