Musings and photos of my attempts to create edible food.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Pumpkin Pie

I have been salivating over the idea of pumpkin pie all week. My work colleagues have been discussing Halloween and all the trimmings, and for some reason my mind visualised pumpkin pie. By happy co-incidence my mother-in-law asked us if we would like her to bring a pumpkin when she came to visit. Oh the hardship! Being British I have a definite lack of a family recipe for pumpkin pie so some research was needed. A quick bit of tastespotting later several useful websites had inspired me to head for the cookbooks!
Well I lie, first I baked the pumpkin off (halved and gutted) wrapped in tinfoil parcels until soft and fork-able. Make sure you use a good eating pumpkin, not one of the big bland flavourless monstrosities designed for carving. You can just about carve an eater but really don't bother eating a carver!
Pie in my mind normally calls for shortcrust pastry and sweet pie calls for sweet shortcrust! The recipe below is fairly standard and for that I can thank dear ol' Delia  - scaled up slightly and adjusted for my love of bunging it all in the Kenwood!

Confession number one:

I like power tools in the kitchen. I find that I can get a very good pastry out of the Kenwood Chef just by bunging it all in the bowl and turning it on. If I can do this with a recipe I will. I have tried (probably not to Royal Medical Society standards) blind taste-testing recipes that call for rubbing-in gently by hand with the same recipe done in the Kenwood and not noticed a discernable difference. This is not true of all recipes but where it's possible to use a Kenwood, I will!

The Kenwood tends to abuse a pastry so much that you can bring it together with next to no water so I always try and add water fairly early into the mixing process. For this pie I used the following recipe:

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry:

  • 225g plain flour 
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 110g butter 
  • Water to bind (I used 30ml - 2 tbsp)

All thrown in the Kenwood and mixed it until it looked rather like bread-crumbs. At this point you should be able to coax a lump of it into a ball in your hand. A very swift knead later and the pastry is nicely balled and ready for chucking in a bag and into the fridge for 30+ minutes. This pastry is normally a nightmare to work but delightfully crisp and crumbly once baked.

While the pastry rested I made the filling. The recipes for pumpkin pie all seem to come from the States and are subsequently in cups. I have done my best to convert between units but I should warn you (and I expect this to not be the last time) that I can be a little cavalier about converting between units! I have a measuring jug with cups on it so that was my cup measure (not one of the wife's one-pint tea mugs). I noticed that the pumpkin (once scooped out of the skins) was rather wet - it was in fact sat in a puddle of its own juice so I squeezed it out as best I could and tipped the extra liquid away before measuring it.


  • 2 cups prepared pumpkin (bless the Americans - thats near enough 1lb or 500g in real money) 
  • 3/4 cup soft brown sugar (about 4oz / 100g) 
  • 1 cup milk (250ml / just under 1/2 pt) 
  • 1/2 cup double cream (125 ml) 
  • 2 large eggs + 1 extra yolk 
  • 2 tsp total of mixed spice and allspice (I grind my own just for the fun of it but shop bought will work too!)

To Finish:

  • 1/2 cup double cream
  • Walnuts
For those who want to play with grinding their own spices I used a slither of mace, a grating of nutmeg, 3 cloves, a pinch of coriander seed, a shake of ginger and a slightly larger shake of cinnamon. For this recipe I also threw in 3 allspice berries. And grind.
To make the filling load up your blender and let it rip! 
Once the pastry has rested I rolled it out and baked it blind for 20 mins at 180 C (350F). Here I made rookie mistake number one. I forgot to seal my base. This filling is very wet - its a modified egg custard! Brush your base with egg and bake for an extra couple of minutes uncovered to seal it (or you will get a soggy bottom).  I left my pastry overhanging the flan tin for the blind bake and trimmed it before filling.
Load up your mixture into the base and slide it back into the oven for 30-40 minutes. Once it is cooked it will not be runny in the middle but should still wobble a little. At this point you can enjoy the pastry off cuts from the blind bake. Flour, butter and sugar baked until golden brown? Little wonder it tastes like shortbread and goes very well with a cup of tea.

To finish I let it cool enough to be able to pile whipped cream on top without cooking that as well, and then garnished with walnuts. The mother in law said she actually liked this pumpkin pie (soggy bottom and all)! I don't think this will last long even without extra mouths to eat it.

Changes for next time:
  • seal the pastry case
  • a little more ginger needed


  1. It must be in the genes. Your Mother and Grandmother also use/d the Kenwood for pastry making.
    Dad X

  2. Looks and sounds beautiful Joe. I'm quite tempted to give it a go myself.

    The one time I made pastry in a food mixer it did come out so beautifully even I was very impressed. But somehow it feels like cheating to me. (I won't say that when I'm running a whole household of kids in 10 years time!)

    I did a flan the other day where I forgot to seal the pastry and decided I didn't have time to bake blind. The result was pastry so soggy that when I served it, it turned out more like pastry and vegetable stew! Thank goodness we didn't have guests!

  3. You can never have too much ginger!

  4. oh no, not a soggy bottom! what would Mary Berry say!