The pumpkin is an autumn squash and an icon of both Thanksgiving and Halloween. But that’s not the only reason why pumpkin pie is the season’s go-to dessert. It’s also delicious.
History of pumpkin pie
In the 1700s, sugar was rare and expensive in the US (the complete opposite of today). Pumpkin pie became synonymous with Thanksgiving partly because of the season, but also because the vegetable imparts a natural sweetness when cooked. Of course, modern variants use a lot of sugar, but the history of pumpkin pie saw it become a popular dessert precisely because very little sugar (if any) was needed.
What is pumpkin pie spice?
Pumpkin pie spice (or just pumpkin spice) is a mixture of spices that enhance the flavour of pumpkin. Generally, this means cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and either cloves or allspice. You can, of course, make your own pumpkin pie spice, as well as buy it pre-made.
Pumpkin pie tip: you don't need to blind bake the crust
Blind baking the crust is an essential step for making most types of pie but an unnecessary step too many for pumpkin pie. That’s because the filling is quite thick. So long as you freeze (or at least thoroughly chill) the crust first, you can simply pour the pie filling straight in and place it directly into a preheated oven. Both the crust and filling will cook at the same rate.
Classic pumpkin pie recipe
If you want to keep things traditional, you can’t go wrong with this classic pumpkin pie with cranberry garnish. Note that this recipe skips the ground ginger as part of the pumpkin spice, but don’t be afraid to add a pinch if you’re a real ginger fanatic.
Clear pumpkin pie recipe
A few years ago, Simon Davies from Chicago’s Alinea restaurant, set foodie internet alight by posting a photo of his stunning clear pumpkin pie on Instagram. Yes, it looks like jelly, but the texture is still resoundingly that of the classic pumpkin pie.
Bon Appetit’s Claire Saffitz is a self-proclaimed dessert person, so it’s no surprise that she’s come up with her own spin on the humble pumpkin pie. This caramelised honey pumpkin pie recipe is taken from her cookbook, Dessert Person.
Interestingly, Claire says she never makes her own pumpkin pie puree as she doesn’t think it’s worth the effort. Now, we’re big proponents of making as much from scratch as possible, but who are we to argue with Bon Appetit’s very own dessert queen? Just be aware that, if you do decide to use canned pumpkin puree for this or either of the recipes above, make sure it’s unsweetened. Otherwise, if pre-sweetened pumpkin puree is all that’s available to you, be sure to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe accordingly.
Other great pumpkin recipes
Sick of pumpkin pie already? Then why not try making pumpkin cookies instead? We love these pumpkin cookies with brown butter icing, but if you’re looking for something less challenging, you can’t beat these pumpkin cookies with raisins.
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