Autumn is for piles of colourful leaves, slick wet sidewalks, unpacking jumpers and carving pumpkins. It’s also for delicious comfort food, and one of my favourite November treats is spicy pumpkin pie with a big swirl of whipped cream.
Pumpkin pie is an American Thanksgiving tradition – a holiday I haven’t been home for in at least the last eight years – but while I don’t always cook a full meal for a crowd that day, I do almost always find some time to fill the house with the warming scent of a baking pie.
And so last weekend, on a rainy, blustery Saturday, I kicked off wet shoes after taking photos in the park and took over the kitchen. This is a recipe my mom has always made while my brother and I were growing up. As you’ll see from the recipe picture she sent me below for the actual pumpkin filling, it came from a woman called Clarine Schultz in our old school recipe book and has been well-loved!
As for the crust, this is an easy recipe, but any crust recipe you like will do – or just buy one, unbaked, if you’re feeling lazy.
Lacking waxed paper, I didn’t fully follow the written instructions when it came to pastry rolling and the cats (the only cookie cutters I had) on top sunk in a bit and look slightly wonky…but it all tastes like November to me!
Pre-heat the oven to 425F or 218C and dig out an 8- or 9-inch pie plate.
- 2 cups of plain flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup rapeseed oil
- 5 tablespoons cold water
Sift flour and salt into a bowl.
Measure the oil and water into a mug without mixing and pour into the flour bowl.
Grab a fork and chop your way around the bowl without too much stirring until you have one ball of pastry dough. Split this in half. It’s meant to make two pies, but I ended up just making one and used the second ball to pad out the top of the crust and add little cut-out shapes. You could also use it to make a top crust or set cut strips, fill with jam, twist and bake if you want to get creative. Or just make a second pie.
Choose a lump, flour your surface (or use waxed paper as instructed in the image of the original recipe at the top of the post) and, using a rolling pin, flatten until it’s a few inches better than your 8- or 9-inch pie dish.
Set into place.
Design your edges however you like. This was where I added some of the second pastry ball since I didn’t roll the first one out quite thin enough – oops!
Now make the filling.
- 4 eggs, beaten slightly
- 1 can of pumpkin (if you’re in the UK, try Waitrose or Partridges)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 level teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup whole milk
Easiest instructions ever: just combine everything above, in that order, mixing as you go!
Pour it all into your pie crust.
If you want to make it a bit more interesting, pull out some cookie cutters and put that extra pastry to use. My mom usually decorates hers with festive Autumn leaves in different shapes and sizes. Like I said, the only shape I had was a cat, so cats it was!
Serves warm or cold, topped with whipped cream, and dig in.
Store it in the fridge!