I've never made or even eaten pumpkin pie before but it's something I've always wanted to do, and since it's that time of year I told myself I'd do it and bought a massive pumpkin! I decided not to use canned pumpkin, because if I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna do it properly, and I've heard that it tastes nicer with fresh pumpkin. I've never tried pumpkin pie with canned pumpkin so I can't comment, but this pie turned out very good considering it's my first attempt. It's such a unique flavour and perfect for this time of year so I'd really recommend it if you have a sweet tooth.
Half a large pumpkin
350 grams sweet shortcrust pastry
150 grams sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
25 grams butter, melted
175 ml milk
Flour for dusting
Icing sugar (optional)
Phase 1: Preparing the pumpkin
This is quite an important phase which most recipes leave out, even though it's hard to know what to do if you've never done it before. This is the strategy I used and it worked quite well:
First cut the pumpkin in half (I bought my half ready cut so I didn't need to worry about this). Now scoop out the seeds using your hands, a large spoon or ice cream scoop. You can save the seeds for roasting or just throw them away.
Now you need to scoop out the stringy parts of the pumpkin which takes up quite a lot of the middle part. This stuff can go straight in the trash.
This is how the pumpkin should look when you've removed everything:
Next slice the pumpkin. You can see in the picture below that I sliced it into quite small chunks. I would recommend making the slices at least twice as big this, as it makes things a lot easier later on.
Now throw the slices into a large saucepan and cover them with water. Bring to the boil and then cover and simmer for around 15 minutes, or until the slices are soft and ready to mash. While doing this you can start on the pastry (see below).
Drain out the water and leave the slices to cool for around 20-30 minutes. After cooking the skin should be soft enough to remove fairly easily with a spoon or just with your hands, as the pumpkin will come off very easily. Just make sure they're properly cooled or you'll burn yourself. Having larger slices makes this a lot easier. Once all the skin has been removed, mash the pumpkin with a fork or blender and then sieve it properly to remove any remaining water (leave it in the sieve for around 5 minutes to make sure all the water is removed). Now the first part is done! The pumpkin is ready!
Phase 2: Blind bake the pastry
Now to do the pastry. You can work on this while the pumpkin is boiling and cooling. Set the oven to 180C First get your pie tin and dust it with some flour. Spread out the pastry over the tin and press it into the edges. Now mark it all over with a fork. Cover it with baking paper and add baking beans or some kind of weight to keep the paper down. I didn't have any baking beans so I used a smaller cake tin to weigh down the paper. Put it in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the weight and paper and hopefully the pastry should be golden brown. When I did it I put the pastry in for an extra 10 minutes afterwards without any paper or weights, but it ended up getting too cooked and the sides started to get a little burned when the pie cooked with the filling. Only put it in for extra time if it really needs it!
Phase 3: The Filling!
The best part of the pie! First combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Then add in the eggs, melted butter and milk. If you want you can substitute double cream for the milk and butter, I just did it this way as I had no cream at the time. The milk and butter way might be a bit healthier. Add this mixture to the pumpkin puree and mix well. Pour the filling into the pie dish and smooth it out.
Phase 4: Baking
Bake the pie for 10 minutes at 220C then turn the heat down to 180C and cook the pie for another 30-40 minutes, or until the filling has just set. This will depend on how thick your filling was. Mine was quite thin and was ready 35 minutes after the temperature change. Leave it to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. It tastes better chilled but I didn't want to wait so I had some as soon as possible! Serve with whipped cream or ice cream on the side if you want. You can also top with icing sugar or more cinnamon depending on your taste.
Hope you enjoyed this recipe and hopefully it has convinced you to try out making pumpkin pie. If I can do it from scratch with a fresh pumpkin and without any experience, I'm sure anyone can. I was pleasantly surprised with how it tasted. Since I've never had pumpkin pie before, I don't know if it tasted how it was meant to, but I thought it was delicious! Let me know how it goes!