Pumpkin Pie (From Scratch!)

20 Oct

Consider this my warning to all of you: I will be posting a nauseating amount of pumpkin-related recipes in the coming weeks.  Why?

Because I decided to make pumpkin pie from scratch.

How scratch is scratch?

I went out and bought a pumpkin, gutted it, roasted it, and blended it to make purée.  Yes.  Very scratch.

(Here’s how to make purée from scratch)

And so, it will basically be a pumpkin fest for a while.  I don’t know about you guys, but I am totally okay with having my diet getting taken over by a squash.  More than okay, even.

So here goes.  This recipe is, as usual, from The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook


I made my own crust using a recipe adapted from Good Life Eats, but you can buy a crust instead.  If you do, don’t buy one that’s been baked already.

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 stick butter, cold
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3-5 tbsp cold water

For the filling:

  • 2 cups minus 2 tbsp pumpkin purée (or one 15 oz can)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups evaporated milk

To make the crust:

Mix together the dry ingredients.  Cut the butter into a cubes and add to the flour mixture.


I realized I could make a butter pyramid.  Disgusting, but awesome.

You can do this with a food processor, pulsing until the mixture becomes crumbly.   You can also do it by hand, massaging the butter into a flour until only pea-sized bits remain.

Dump all of that onto a lightly floured surface.


With liberal quantities of flour, knead the dough until it doesn’t stick to everything in sight.  Then, roll it out into a circle, about 6 inches in diameter.


Wrap that in plastic wrap and either freeze for thirty minutes or refrigerate for an hour.

In the meantime, prepare the filling.

In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin and eggs.


Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well-combined.


If she looks like she’s having difficulty with that evaporated milk… it’s because she is.  We, being terribly bright young people, didn’t have a can opener.  So we had to stab holes in the can.  And for some reason, evaporated milk is a lot more viscous than we had anticipated, so we had a hell of a time getting it out of the can.

We have a can opener now.  And a salt shaker.  We only had a pepper shaker before, acquired by highly dubious means.

In any case.

Go resurrect your dough and roll it out until it’s 12 inches in diameter.


Also, you want to talk about our pathetic kitchen situation?  I use a poster tube for a rolling pin.  Yesterday I made pasta from scratch as well, and we used jars to roll the dough out.

Your tears of pity are appreciated, but unnecessary.  Dry your eyes and press on.

Speaking of pressing on, take your pie crust and press it into a tin.  Crimp the edges roundabout the pan.

Fabulous.  This is my first pie crust, so.  I was quite pleased.

Now, pour the filling into the crust.


Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.  Additionally, if the middle is very jiggly, it is likely not done yet.

Allow to cool for 2 hours.

And then enjoy!


Now, I am going to recommend a film director this time.  Bear with me.  Wong Kar-Wai is a Chinese filmmaker based in Hong Kong.  His movies… one critic described In the Mood for Love as a film you could drown in.  It is very true.  My roommate recommended that movie, and I’ve been working my way through his filmography ever since.

He has a highly stylized approach, which is all the more amazing and appealing because it isn’t consciously stylized.  Wong Kar-Wai films have a distinct atmosphere, even though they are all quite different from each other.  But Wong never went to film school, never had formal training.  In fact, he often doesn’t get permits to film in Hong Kong, so he and his crew race around with hand-helds.  And somehow the effect is gorgeous.  It looks so perfectly poised, but it’s often fairly improvisatory.  I’ve also heard Wong’s work compared to jazz.  This is also accurate.

In the Mood for Love in particular is amazing.  It’s about a man and a woman (Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Maggie Cheung) who find out their spouses are having an affair and start a platonic affair of their own.  It’s so quiet and so secretive, like we’re spying on them as we watch the movie.  Wong also describes it as a personal portrait of Hong Kong in the 60s, which was a very unique moment in Hong Kong’s history because a lot of mainland Chinese fled there to escape the Cultural Revolution.  So you had these Mandarin-speakers with their own culture living side by side with the Cantonese, and as a result there were films, and music, and literature just exploding across the city.  The movie is also a beautiful, sad love story that’s so unconventional because it’s about a platonic affair.  I mean, what?  What does that mean?

You’ll have to watch it and figure that out.  It’s also on Instant Netflix, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t.



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