Pumpkin custard pie is such the perfect Thanksgiving dessert to have any time of year!
The first pumpkin pies are thought to have been made inside of pumpkins with milk, honey and added spices.
These pumpkins were then put on the fire and cooked, creating a custard inside, which became the origins of pumpkin pie.
The first pie crust taking the place of the pumpkin itself came later from a famous French chef.
Francois Pierre la Varenne put the custard in a pie shell, and the ‘tourte of pumpkin’ was born.
In 1796 the first cookbook featuring a pumpkin pie recipe was initially published in America.
What is Pumpkin Custard Pie?
Simply put, it is a variety of pumpkin pie, the differences are really mostly in the name.
The pumpkin pie, distinctly spiced, is made as a celebration of harvest time in the United States.
This variety of pie is essentially a pumpkin spiced custard baked in a pie crust.
Pumpkin pie versus pumpkin custard pie is the slight variation of recipe, more, or fewer eggs, more, or less cream etc.
I like to think that this recipe is a creamier custardy pumpkin pie with a buttery crust.
How to Make Pumpkin Custard Pie
Making a good crust is a very important step in any pie making process.
I like to think that the pie crust is the delivery vehicle for this custard dessert.
Making the Crust
It needs to be flavorful, flaky and buttery to the point where it adds to the overall experience.
It needs to be just right so it doesn’t take away from the experience like a dry flat crust would.
One of the main things to remember when making any crust is that you do not want to overwork the dough.
As you work the fat into the flour make sure that the ingredients are just incorporated.
Then add just enough liquid to hold the pastry together, not too wet, and not too dry.
I like to make my crust using a food processor, which makes the procedure easier.
Using a food processor can be done if you pulse the ingredients ever so gently.
Cut cold butter up into small chunks and combine with the flour and salt in the bowl of the processor.
Once the butter, flour and salt are mixed, add ice cold water in little bits bringing the dough together.
As soon as the dough develops remove it and refrigerate for five minutes.
Following your recipe, place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out the crust.
Place the crust in a 9-inch deep dish pie plate and prepare to bake the crust.
Poke the bottom of the pie crust with a fork in several places.
This will release hot air when baking which will help keep your crust flat.
Pie weights will also help keep the crust flat while it cooks, for anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes.
Bake the empty crust in a preheated oven; a process known as blind baking.
Remove the crust from the oven once done and cool on a wire rack, until the filling is ready.
Making the Filling
In a bowl combine the spices and salt and mix well, then add to the pumpkin mix.
Add the milk or evaporated milk and cream to the pie mixture and incorporate until even.
Preheat the oven to 350º (175ºC).
Place the pie plate onto a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to 50 minutes.
You will know that the pie is done when a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
In a large bowl beat ½ cup whipped cream, add a little sugar if you like, as a garnish for the pie.
Tips for Making
- It is always a good idea to have your pie filling ingredients at room temperature before you begin.
- No worries at all if your pie needs a little more time to cook, just check frequently after the 50 minute mark.
- Don’t over bake your crust, monitor it as best you can.
- If the crust is browning too much while the pie is baking, cover with aluminum foil.
Pumpkin Custard Pie Recipe
- Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC).
- Place pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, white sugar, spices and salt in the large bowl of a food processor.
- Mix well, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary (you may need to do this once or twice).
- Add the vanilla, milk and cream, process until all ingredients are well incorporated.
- Fill the pie crust, and place on a baking tray.
- Place in the preheated oven, and bake for 45-50 minutes, until a knife inserted in the comes out clean.