The Best Pumpkin Pie Recipe – rich, creamy, and velvety smooth, here’s the winner of the Pumpkin Pie Challenge. Discover the secret to the creamiest, smoothest Pumpkin Pie with the deepest, richest pumpkin flavor.
In my canned pumpkin vs. fresh pumpkin puree Pumpkin Pie Challenge, canned pumpkin and fresh pumpkin puree faced off in a blind taste test. I made four pumpkin pies using canned pumpkin, sugar (pie) pumpkin, kabocha squash (Japanese pumpkin), and butternut squash. Which was the winner?
The taste testers unanimously preferred the kabocha squash and butternut squash pies for their deep, sweet, pumpkin flavor and their incredible, silky smoothness.
The kabocha squash and butternut squash made velvety smooth pies with a richer, pumpkin flavor – just how the perfect Pumpkin Pie should taste.
I made the pie on the back of the Libby’s can for years. I started making Homemade Pumpkin Puree when I moved to Dubai and couldn’t find Libby’s pumpkin and often times, no canned pumpkin at all. Dubai did, however, have all sorts of cool looking pumpkins and squash imported from around the world. Turns out that the pies made from fresh puree were full of flavor and ultra smooth. Check out my post Pumpkin Puree vs Canned Pumpkin – The Pumpkin Pie Challenge where I compared canned pumpkin and three types of pumpkin/squash.
Why do I say pumpkin/squash? Since squash is the general term for the fruits that belong to the genus Cucurbita, and since pumpkin is from the genus Cucurbita, you can say that a pumpkin is just a kind of squash.
Kabocha Squash (Japanese Pumpkin)
It turns out that Libby’s canned pumpkin is actually a variety of squash called Dickinson that resembles butternut squash in appearance, flavor, and texture. Kabocha and butternut squash, as well as other varieties such as red kuri, have a sweeter, deeper flavor and less moisture than the common sugar (pie) pumpkin. They also have a better flavor and much better texture for pie than canned pumpkin.
Kabocha squash or butternut squash puree is made by roasting and pureeing the squash. Check out my post on Homemade Pumpkin Puree for a step by step photo tutorial. Any pumpkin/squash can be roasted and pureed in this way.
The pumpkin/squash is cut in half and the seeds are scraped out. It is lightly salted and roasted cut side down for almost an hour. Roasting helps dry out some of the moisture and deepens the flavor. After the squash cools, it is pureed in a food processor.
The pie crust is prebaked to keep it flaky and prevent it from getting soggy. Check out my step by step photo tutorial on How to Make a Flaky Pie Crust.
While the crust is prebaking, the filling is mixed together, then poured into the still warm crust. I put a ring of aluminum foil around the crimped edge of the crust so it doesn’t continue to brown while baking. The pie is done when the middle is nearly set but still wobbly. The filling will continue to set after it is taken out of the oven. Overbaking can cause cracks in the pie and a dry filling.
Serve with whipped cream and Enjoy!
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- Prebaked 9 inch pie crust
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (99g)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (107g)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (8g)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 15oz pumpkin puree, about 2 cups (or one 15oz can) (425g)
- 1 cup heavy cream (227g)
- 1/4 cup milk (57g)
- The oven temperature should be heated to 375 degrees F. If you are making my Flaky Pie Crust, you will reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F after removing the crust from the oven and let it reach 375 degrees before baking the pie..
While the crust is prebaking, prepare the filling:
- In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with a whisk.
- Add the sugars, cornstarch, salt, and spices and whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Whisk in the pumpkin puree then the cream and milk until thoroughly combined.
- Pour into warm, prebaked pie crust.
- Cover the crimped edges of the pie crust with a ring of foil so it doesn’t continue to brown while baking. Be careful not to let it touch the filling.
- Bake on a baking sheet in a 375 degree F oven until the center is almost set but still wobbly, about 50-60 minutes. Don’t over bake.
- Remove pie from oven and remove foil ring.
- Let cool on a baking rack for several hours.
- Serve with whipped cream.
2 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice can be used in place of the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
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