Pumpkin OG - Pumpkin Pie 

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By: Megan Talbot


In recent years, there has been a huge surge in popularity of “Pumpkin Spice” flavored everything. I’m here to tell you, I loved pumpkin everything before it was trendy. For as long as I can remember, my Mom was in the kitchen, every Fall, cooking whole pumpkins to mill down into puree to make everything from pie, to muffins, bread, cookies, you name it, we made it. Being German and growing up in upstate NY apple country, we also did the same with Apples, but there was something so special about pumpkin. For me, it’s never been about being trendy. It was the nostalgic feeling that came with it. My all time favorite recipe, hands down, is my Mom’s Pumpkin Pie recipe, which I’m going to dissect here for you today!


The single most important thing to know about making pumpkin anything, is that you ALWAYS want to use fresh pumpkin, never canned. Sure, being able to plop already pureed “pumpkin” right into your recipe is certainly easier. However, you will be lacking in the flavor and texture department. You can use any kind of pumpkin, but keep in mind, the larger the pumpkin, the stringier the pulp and the less flavorful the flesh will be. I always use Sugar Pumpkins (commonly referred to as baking pumpkins). They are slightly sweeter and create a beautiful silky texture. All you have to do is cut your pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds (I also have a great recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds), place the halves face down in a baking dish with about ½ an inch of water in the bottom. Place in a 375 degree oven and bake until soft. There is no specific time allotment for this as every pumpkin is different and will cook at different rates. It usually takes about an hour, though. Once baked, let sit for at least 30 mins to cool down. For this recipe, you can swap out Butternut Squash (pumpkins are just a squash anyway) or Sweet Potatoes and still have a delightful treat!


What’s next? Well, there is much debate amongst pumpkin enthusiasts whether or not milling the pumpkin or just tossing it in the food processor makes a difference. I am here to tell you, it does. I have tried both methods (again, you can take the easy way out, but you won’t be as satisfied with the end result) and using the food processor leaves the puree too stringy and watery. If you don’t know what a food mill is, google it. Or you can see below a picture of my loving husband aiding in the labor of love that is milling pumpkin. 1 pumpkin usually yields about 3 cups of puree. I will usually do 2 pumpkins at a time and then portion it out (2 cup portions for this recipe) and freeze it for later use. If you are using your frozen stock, you want to make sure you let it thaw completely before using it and spoon off the excess water that will pool on top while it’s thawing. 

Now, this next bit may make you scratch your head. After putting all the love into preparing fresh pumpkin, you would think the next step would involve making the crust. NOT THIS GIRL! I know, I know. All of my baking friends (especially Elena, a southern cookbook author and dear friend of mine) are shaking their heads at me. I am, indeed, not a baker. I’m not terribly skilled in being so precise when I cook. I have tried to make pie crust, but it’s always terrible. So I just stick with Pillsbury pre-made pie crusts. So for all of the time you spent on the star of the pie, the pumpkin, you get to save time by not making a pie crust. You’re welcome. 


I’m not going to go into elaborate detail about the spice part of pumpkin spice. All I can tell you is do not make a pumpkin pie with molasses. It’s gross. I said what I said. The last, and most important part of finalizing your pie filling is going to be mixing it. Growing up, my Mom always just hand whisked it (we were a family of 6 on a single income so we didn’t have fancy kitchen gadgets), which was still delicious, but when I started making my own pies, I found that using an electric hand mixer enhances the texture exponentially. By incorporating more air into the mixture and agitating the eggs and cream, it makes for a delightfully smooth, custardy texture. If you have made it this far, you deserve a cookie! Or at least the full recipe for the pie you’re now drooling for. So thanks for coming to my Ted Talk! May your pies be delicious and plentiful. 


  • 1 box Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 12oz can Evaporated Milk
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Combine Pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, brown sugar, white sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove & eggs in a large mixing bowl. 
  3. Use an electric hand mixer on medium for 2 minutes. The longer you mix it, the fluffier it will be. If you mix it for too long it will separate while baking.
  4. Roll out 1 of your Pillsbury pie crusts and place in your favorite Pie pan. (you can use a 9-11 inch pie pan. Deeper ones work best as the pie filling is a liquid when you place it in the oven). 
  5. Pour your pie filling mixture into the crusted pie pan. 
  6. Use a fork to crimp the edges of the pie crust
  7. Very carefully place the pie into your oven on the middle rack and bake for 1hr or until a butter knife comes out clean. 
  8. Remove, cover with a towel, and let cool. 
  9. Enjoy!