Canned puréed pumpkin is commonly used for this recipe in the US, where Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin is almost as synonymous with Thanksgiving as the pie itself.
For those in the US who opt to use fresh pumpkin, the preferred variety is ‘pie pumpkin’. As canned pumpkin and pie pumpkins are not readily available in Australia, we tend to use Queensland Blue or Kent pumpkins. These varieties are drier than others, giving the pie a firmer texture.
Steam the pumpkin with the skin left on, to keep the flesh as dry as possible. To achieve the same dry, firm texture of a pie made with canned pumpkin, strain the cooked pumpkin in a muslin-lined sieve overnight. Most pumpkin pie fillings also contain the standard ingredients: eggs, brown sugar, maple syrup, evaporated milk and spices.
‘Pumpkin pie spice’ is commonly sold in the US for this recipe. It’s a spice blend that usually comprises cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves; it may also include allspice and, occasionally, mace. We made our own pumpkin pie spice mix of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger.
When it comes to the topping, the pumpkin pie purists opt for none at all. Others, however, favour a topping inspired by those on sweet potato and pecan pies. We decided on the latter, combining a mixture of pecans, brown sugar and butter, which we scattered on top of the pie during the last 10 minutes of baking to achieve a crunchy pecan crust.
Many American pumpkin pie recipes call for a pre-made pie shell. If you make your own pastry, blind-baked shortcrust pastry is recommended. Biscuit pastry may also be used. We made a standard sweet shortcrust pastry with flour, caster sugar, butter and egg yolk, adding lemon juice to make it softer and less crumbly.
Photography by Janyon.
As seen in Feast magazine, November 2011, Issue 3. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.