pumpkin pies, two pumpkin pies

How to Make Pumpkin Pie from Scratch

Pumpkin pie is a holiday treat associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas. One of our family traditions is to make pumpkin pie from scratch; meaning, we make it with our own pumpkin and eggs, mix and spread our own pie crust and measure our own spices. There are several advantages to making your own pumpkin pie. One is that pumpkins can be dirt cheap or free in the fall and winter. Another advantage is that the one who makes their own filling can adjust spices and sweetening to their own taste. Our family typically goes a lot lighter on cloves, sugar and cinnamon than do those who make the pies for the grocery store. We like to be able to actually taste the pumpkin and find commercial pies way too sweet.

A lot of squash will make as good or better pie than the Jack O’Lantern Pumpkin.

It’s true. In fact, “pumpkin” is really a very nebulous term. If you want to make a “pumpkin pie” from scratch, but you have to purchase a “pumpkin,” a butternut squash might make the better pie. Butternut and its relatives, all from the c. moschata family, are some of the best. Hubbard and Delicious are c. maxima species squash which also have outstanding flesh quality, and… they make fantastic pumpkin pie.

Squash or Pumpkin… and a little on history

First, you need to prepare your squash.

Wash and rinse it, to eliminate possible contamination when cutting it. Then, cut the pumpkin in half.

cutting a pumpkin , knife in a partially cut pumpkin
When cutting, be careful not to cut yourself.

Once halved, seeds should be removed. My favorite tool for this task is a gravy ladle.

pumpkin halve with seeds, ladle used to remove seeds
The ladle has the perfect angle for both scraping and scooping.

You can save the seeds, removing them from the attached pulp, salt and roast them for an additional treat. When you make pumpkin pie from scratch This is one of the perks!

Place the halves on a cookie tray, face down and bake at 350 F. till very soft.

baked pumpkin halves, baked pumpkin still in skin

Be sure the cookie tray has edges all the way around, as most squash will leak a lot of liquid when baked. When done, let the pumpkin halves cool and then scoop out the flesh. Extra pumpkin can be bagged and frozen for future use. See Four Reasons Large Squash are Better. You’ll want 3 cups or slightly more to make two pumpkin pies.

Pie isn’t the only way to use cooked pumpkin. Try pumpkin soup!

Scoop out 3 cups cooked pumpkin and place in a blender. Also keep the oven at 350 F.

Additionally, you’ll want to have on hand:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 can of condensed milk (regular milk will also work)
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons powdered cinnamon
  • sugar, either brown or white, between 1/2 and 1 cup, depending on your preference
  • Two 8″ pie crusts (in another blog we’ll talk about making your own pie crusts)

pumpkin pie from scratch, pumpkin pie ingredients in blender

Blend this all up and pour into the pie crusts and plates. Then place the uncooked pumpkin pies into the oven. At this point they should look like pumpkin pies but be really soupy.

pumpkin pies cooking, pumpkin pies in oven
The pumpkin mix will rise up only very slightly as it bakes.

Now, you need to cook your pies.

Bake them until they’re done. It’ really hard to predict how long this will take. Count on an hour, but don’t be surprised if it takes a little longer. First, they’ll smell done. After another half hour they should actually be finished.

Using clean knife to test pie's readiness, knife test for pumpkin pie
If you stick a clean knife into a pumpkin pie, and it comes up with filling stuck to it, you need to bake it longer. The knife needs to come out clean.

When the pies are fully baked, set them out to cool. You’re done!

Finished Pumpkin Pies, pumpkin pies ready to eat
When fully cooked the crust will also likely show some browning.

Once you’ve starting making your pumpkin pie you can experiment with the spices and sweetening, to find your own favorite mix. Remember, pumpkin pie doesn’t have to desert, consider having it as a breakfast food too!

4 thoughts on “How to Make Pumpkin Pie from Scratch”

  1. fourteenmilecreek

    Here’s the single crust Pumpkin Pie Recipe I use at home:
    2 cups of mashed, cooked pumpkin
    12 ounce can of evaporated milk
    2 eggs beaten
    3/4 cup of packed brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    Bake pie at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, the pie is done, when a knife inserted 1″ inch from the crust comes out clean.

    Also, I usually use 1 cup baked sweet potato and one cup baked pumpkin, to get a better texture, than just using pumpkin alone. I put all my ingredients into the blender to make sure all the fiber is well disbursed. Using the blender on high speed, incorporates tiny air bubbles into the filling to give it a lighter, loftier, consistency.

  2. Thanks Ron! You are the first person I’ve heard of, who has done a “hybrid pie” between pumpkin and sweet potato. It sounds like a winning combination!

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