I’m a bit biased but this is the Best Homemade Pumpkin Pie Recipe from scratch and the ultimate Thanksgiving dessert in my opinion. I prefer pumpkin pie with a little booze enhanced flavor, served cold, and always with a homemade crust.
This pumpkin pie recipe is made with fresh pumpkin, that has been roasted in the oven. Although the option of using can pumpkin still works, I just love the flavor of roasted squash. The texture of the pie is created with a mixture of heavy cream, sour cream, and mascarpone. I’ve made many pies over the years using just heavy cream and I found this to be my favorite combination.
To enhance the flavor of the pumpkin I’ve added bourbon, vanilla, and fall spices. The alcohol in the bourbon cooks away leaving a nice balance taste. If you prefer to use something else, swap the bourbon for maple syrup.
Now, there are a few important steps to achieve this fabulous Holiday Pie. First, you must make a pie crust from scratch using my Homemade Pie Crust Recipe. This recipe makes enough for two 9 inch pie crusts. You can use one half for the bottom pie crust and chill the other for later.
It will only take you about 10 minutes or less to form the pie crust dough. Wrap that sucker in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge until you’r ready to make pie. Trust me you will get major baking props on Thanksgiving.
Fresh Pumpkin Filling or Canned Pumpkin Filling
For this pie recipe you can use either fresh pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin puree. Just be sure to evenly measure out 2 cups of pumpkin puree for your pie filling.
- Can pumpkin that weighs 16 ounces is roughly 2 cups of puree. All you need to do is measure and mix it in.
- Fresh pumpkin requires a few extra steps and is a great way to use any leftover pumpkin decor. You will need to roast and puree the pumpkin flesh when using fresh pumpkin puree. There is also a lot of excess water when making fresh puree.
- Drain fresh pumpkin puree before using. Simply scrape the pumpkin flesh from the baked pumpkins, puree in a food processor, then let it sit on a sieve or colander for a few seconds for excess water to drain. Do not squeeze or press the water out, which will result in very dry pumpkin puree.
Fresh Pumpkin Pie Filling
Next, take those extra pumpkins you aren’t using for decoration and make fresh pumpkin puree. Another key factor in the amazing taste of this pumpkin pie. Simply slice your pumpkins in half, scrape out all the seeds, and bake them for about 45 minutes. Scoop the soft baked flesh from the skins and puree. Whoa!! Yep, you have channeled your inner Martha Stewart.
Which Pumpkins Do I Choose?
When looking for the best baking pumpkins, choose those labeled labeled “sugar pumpkins” or “pie pumpkins” in the store. Pumpkins are basically a winter squash, so substituting between them can be tricky. Here are a few of my favorite pumpkins to use for baking a pie.
- Baby Bear are smaller about 2 pounds that are classically shaped and soft orange.
- Cinderella resemble the flatter carriage shaped pumpkin with bright colors. Ranging between 10-25 pounds with minimal strings inside and lovely sweet flesh for pie.
- Jarrahdale are the pale blue-greenish grey pumpkins and my favorite for decorating. They weight 6-10 pounds each, have basically no strings, and a fruity delicious golden flesh.
- Dickinson resembles the soft pale color and flavor of butternut squash. It is mainly used for canned pumpkin pie filling you find in the stores.
How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree
It’s quite easy to make homemade pumpkin purée from scratch. To cook pumpkin for pie, take two small or one medium sized sugar pumpkin and first remove the stems and cut the pumpkins into halves. Using a big metal spoon scrape out the pumpkin seeds and stringy pulp. Line a rimmed baking pan with two layers of parchment paper. Lightly salt the flesh of the pumpkins and place the halves flesh side down on the pan.
Bake the pumpkins at 400 F (204 C) for about 35-40 minutes until they can easily be pierced with a fork. Remove pan from the oven, let the pumpkins cool for about 15 minutes, then scoop out the pulp. Use an immersion blender or a food processor to puree the pulp into a smooth consistency.
If you notice a pool of water forming in the container of puree, simply drain the excess water. Do not remove all moisture or you will have very dry pumpkin puree.
Best Pie Dish for Pumpkin Pie
My two favorite pie dishes are aluminized steel and ceramic.
- I love the USA pan bakeware 9 inch pie dish and have about 4 of them in my kitchen.
- My next favorite are the made in France, Emile Henry ceramic fluted pie dishes.
Do You Need to Blind Bake the Crust?
The option to partially baking the pie crust before adding the filling is always a personal one. With must custard pies or quiches I definitely recommend this step. However, I have baked this pie several times using the below directions with great success.
Pumpkin Pie without pre baking the crust.
This is my preferred method when baking this recipe. Roll out the pie crust dough, fit to the pan and add your crimping. Prick the sides and bottom of the crust with a fork. Place the lined pie dish in the freezer for 15 minutes while you prepare the filling.
Preheat the oven to 425 F (220 C). Pre cook the filling per directions in the recipe. Place the frozen pie crust on a parchment paper lined tray. Pour the warm filling into frozen pie crust. Bake pie on middle rack of the oven for 15 minutes. Then, lower the oven temperature to 350 F (180 C) and continue to cook the pie for a further 30-40 minutes until the very center of the pie has just a slight jiggle. Remove from heat and place the pie on a wire rack to completely cool.
If you choose to partially bake your crust.
Don’t stress its much easier than you think. Simply roll out the pie crust dough, fit to the pan and add your crimping. Prick the sides and bottom of the crust with a fork. Chill the dough for about 30 minutes in the fridge. Line the dough with a couple sheets of parchment paper and fill to the top with pie weights or dried beans. The weight will prevent the pie from puffing and shrinking in the oven.
Bake the pie crust for about 15 minutes on the middle rack at 425 F (220 C). Place the pie on a metal rack. Then, remove the pie weights by lifting up on the parchment paper and setting them in a large bowl. Place the pie crust back in the oven for another 4-5 minutes.
Remove partially baked crust from the oven, place on a wire rack and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before adding the filling and baking the pie. The pie will then need to be baked at 375 F (190 C) for 40-50 minutes until the center has a slight jiggle.
Tips for the Best Pumpkin Pie
I have been eating and making pumpkin pie for years. I always mixed my ingredients poured them in a partially baked pie crust and hoped the pie wouldn’t crack when it cooled. I’ve had underdone and overdone pies, too soft and too firm.
Well, after a lot of research of expert bakers with a little trial and error, I’ve found the method that works best for me. ‘The Kitchn’ published an article ‘Mistakes to make when baking pumpkin pie’ and I was happy to try out pre-cooking my filling for the first time. This was a game changer for me and I will be preparing my squash pies this way from now on.
Although I go back and forth between pre-baking the pie crust and skipping the step completely I will say I’m happy with both outcomes. When I’m making a decorative pie crust I prefer to bake everything at once to maintain the design. Either way its always a delicious homemade flaky crust and pumpkin pie filling.
If you prefer a sweeter pie, add a few more tablespoons of sugar. Or if you’re a big fan of spice add a ¼ -½ teaspoon extra of your favorite spices. Swap the bourbon for cognac or rum. You can even use maple syrup in place of the bourbon if you like!
How to make Pumpkin Pie from Scratch
- Homemade All Butter Pie Crust and fresh puree are the secret to the structure and flavors of this pie!
- When making fresh puree, blend the soft pumpkin flesh with an immersion blender or food processor to make it smooth.
- If you choose to use canned pumpkin puree, scoop and measure 2 cups (488 grams).
- Use the Homemade Pie Crust Recipe for your dough. Line the pie dish with half of the dough. Roll out the second half, cut into strips or shapes and use to line the edge of the pie dish. Adhere the two crust together with a light coating of cold water using a pastry brush.
- Chill your pie crust for about 30 minutes after lining your pie dish. Do this before adding your pumpkin pie filling.
- Pre cook your filling on the stove top for about 5 minutes to melt sugar, bring out the pumpkin flavor and enhance the bourbon. Stir in the mascarpone, cream cheese, heavy cream, and eggs until smooth.
- Bake your pie on the middle oven rack.
- Cover crust with aluminum foil halfway through baking if beginning to darken too much.
- Remove your pie when the center is has a slight jiggle and the sides are puffed.
- Let the pumpkin pie cool completely at room temperature before refrigerating. Cover the cooled pie and place in the fridge for 2 hours before serving.
More Fall Inspired Pie Recipes to Try:
Homemade Pumpkin Pie from Fresh Pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
Pumpkin Pie Filling
- ½ cup (110 grams) light brown sugar packed
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons yellow or white cornmeal
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 cups (15 ounces, 288 grams) fresh pumpkin puree, or canned pumpkin *see steps for fresh pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons cognac or bourbon *optional
- ½ cup (120 grams) heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup (56 grams) mascarpone cheese room temperature
- ¼ cup (56 grams) sour cream room temperature
- 3 large eggs lightly beaten
Homemade Pie Crust
- Make the homemade pie crust and divide into two discs. Use one for bottom crust and store the other in the fridge or freezer for another pie. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes to an hour before rolling out for pie.
Use Fresh or Can Pumpkin Puree
Canned Pumpkin Puree
- Use 15 ounces which is 2 cups canned pumpkin puree. Do not use pumpkin pie filling. Skip the steps for making fresh pumpkin puree and proceed directly to pre cooking the filling.
Fresh Pumpkin Puree
- Preheat oven to 400 F (204 C) and line a small rimmed baking sheet with two layers of parchment paper.
- Remove the stems from two small sugar baking pumpkins or one large pumpkin. Using a large sharp knife, carefully cut the pumpkins into halves.
- Scrape out the seeds and stringy pulp. Discard the pulp and save the seeds for roasting separately if desired.
- Season the insides of the pumpkins with a little salt and place the halves flesh side down on the lined baking tray.
- Place tray on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. Flesh should easily be scooped from skin with a spoon. Remove tray from the oven.
- Scoop the warm pumpkin flesh away from the skin and transfer to a large bowl to cool.
- Blend pumpkin flesh with an immersion blender or puree in a food processor until smooth. Drain excess water from puree, but do not mash or squeeze out the moisture from the pumpkin. Just tip container for excess water to drain out.
- (Puree can be made the day before and stored in an air tight container in the fridge.)
- Prepare the pie crust by rolling the dough out to 12-14 inches in diameter.
- Carefully lift the dough and set onto a 9-inch pie plate (make sure it's at least 1 and ½ inches deep).
- Using your fingers, gently press the dough into the pie plate.
- Tuck the overhanging dough back underneath itself for a thicker pie crust around the edge or lip of the pie. Crimp the edges of the pie to preferred design.
- Take a fork and poke a few holes across bottom and side of the crust.
- Beat egg and water together in a bowl with a fork. Take a pastry brush and lightly coat the crimped edges of the pie.
- Place in fridge to firm for 30 minutes or in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- If you would like to pre-bake your crust please see directions in above post. Otherwise continue with directions.
Make your filling and bake pie:
- Preheat oven to 425°F (220 C) and position the rack in the middle of the oven.
- In a large sauce pan on medium heat whisk together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, spices, salt, and cornmeal. Add in the pumpkin puree, bourbon, and vanilla whisking until smooth. Cook filling for 4-5 minutes slowly whisking until it begins to smoke, bubble softly and become fragrant.
- Remove from heat. Whisk in the heavy cream, mascarpone, sour cream, and eggs until evenly distributed and smooth.
- Pour the warm filling into the cold pie crust. Place the pie on a parchment paper lined baking tray.
- Place pie on middle rack of the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Immediately lower the temperature to 350 F (180 C) and cook an additional 30-35 minutes until the most of the pie is set and the center has just a slight jiggle. Check your pie at the 20, 25, and 30 minute mark.
- Place pie dish on cooling rack for 2-3 hours to completely cool and set.
- Refrigerate for 2 hrs before serving. Store in an air tight container or covered with aluminum foil in the fridge for up to 5 days.