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Great Pumpkin Pie

Nov 9, 2005 | From the kitchen of Rose

Two years ago, i was a guest on the PBS show "Seasonings with Dede Wilson. " Whenever this show airs, usually pre Thanksgiving time, we get tons of requests for these two recipes. Here they are now!

Oven Temperature: 375°F.
Baking Time: 50 to 60 minutes

Serves: 8

In this recipe, I cook the pumpkin and spices before baking, which makes for a more mellow and pleasing flavor. Puréeing the pumpkin in a food processor produces a unusually silky texture.

The crunchy bottom crust is a result of creating a layer of gingersnaps and ground pecans to absorbs any excess liquid from the filling, and also baking the pie directly on the floor of the oven.







flaky pie crust for a 9-inch pie (see blog recipe)

12 ounces

340 grams

4, 2-inch gingersnaps

1 ounce

29 grams


1/4 cup

1 scant ounce

25 grams

1 can unsweetened pumpkin

1 3/4 cups

15 ounces

425 grams

light brown sugar,(*) firmly packed (preferably raw)

3/4 cup

5.75 ounces

163 grams

ground ginger

2 teaspoons



ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons




1/2 teaspoon




2/3 liquid cup

5.6 ounces

160 grams

heavy cream

2/3 liquid cup

5.5 ounces

153 grams

3 large eggs

scant 2/3 liquid cup

5.25 ounces

150 grams

pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon



(*) dark brown sugar adds a delicious butterscotch flavor but masks some of the pumpkin flavor.

Special Equipment: A 9 inch pie plate, preferably Pyrex, a maple leaf cutter

On a floured pastry cloth or between 2 sheets of lightly floured plastic wrap, roll the pastry 1/8-inch thick and large enough to cut an even 13-inch circle. Use an expandable flan ring or a cardboard template as a guide to cut out the circle. Transfer it to the pie pan and tuck the overhanging pastry under itself. If desired, reroll scraps, chill and cut out decorative designs such as leaves. (Bake them separately at 400°F. for 6 to 10 minutes or until golden brown, brushed with milk and sprinkled with sugar in the raw. Remove to a rack to cool.)

Cut the border into a checker board design or use a form or spoon to make a flat but decorative border (see page 00). Do not make a raised border or extend it over the sides of the pan as it will not hold up so close to the heat source. After pouring pumpkin filling into the crust, push every other checkerboard border well over toward the filling or it tends to flip over against the pie pan. Refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, for one up to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. at least 15 minutes before baking time.

***Bake directly on floor of oven or have the oven shelf at the lowest level and place an oven stone or cookie sheet on it before preheating.

Process the gingersnaps and pecans until finely ground. Sprinkle them over the bottom of the pie crust and using your fingers and the back of a spoon, press them into the dough to coat the entire bottom, going about 1/2-inch up the sides.
In a small, heavy saucepan, stir together the pumpkin, sugar, spices and salt. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a sputtering simmer, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes, until thick and shiny.

Scrape the mixture into a food processor, fitted with the metal blade, and process for 1 minute. With the motor on, add the cream and milk, processing until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the work bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, processing just to incorporate, for about 5 seconds after each addition. Add the vanilla along with the last egg.

Pour the mixture into the pie shell and set it directly on the floor of the oven. Bake the pie for 50 to 60 minutes or just until a knife inserted between sides and center will come out almost clean. The filling will have puffed and the surface dulled except for the center (The filling shakes like jelly when moved. This will happen before it has finished baking so it cannot be used as a firm indication of doneness; conversely, if it does not have this consistency you can be sure that it is not baked adequately.) If the crust appears to be darkening too much on the bottom, raise the pie to the next rack. After 30 minutes, protect the edges with a foil ring.

Place the baked pie on a rack to cool. When cool, the surface will be flat. If you have made decorative designs, place them on now.

Store: 3 days,room temperature.

I prefer using canned pumpkin purée to homemade from fresh pumpkin as the canned is more consistent in quality of flavor and texture.
The crust border should not be too raised, nor extend past the pie plate because baking so close to the heat source, and at the lower temperature required for the custard filling, the border would not set quickly enough and would droop over the edge and break off. Since it does not extend past the edge, it is not necessary to shield the edges until 30 minutes instead of the usual 15 for a one crust pie.
Characteristic star-burst cracking is the result of overbaking. If desired, cover any crack(s), should they develop, with baked pastry cut-outs.

Adapted from The Pie and Pastry Bible, Scribner, 1998


thank you kathleen for this beautiful and inspiring note. happy holidays!


kathleen Dobek
kathleen Dobek
12/ 3/2013 05:45 PM

Dear Rose,
I love this recipe, and recently made it for Thanksgiving. We live in Mexico, and I gave one fourth of the pie to our Mexican friends who have a ranch in the mountains. The wife, Cuka, who is a great cook of traditional Mexican fare, asked me for the recipe. So I am typing it out for her in my best Spanish.
We don't have brown sugar here, so I use azucar mascabado, an unrefined brown sugar with a slight molasses flavor. I know my friend will use cream from her own cow, eggs from her free-range chickens, and a calabaza (large, locally grown orange-colored squash)for the pumpkin puree. Your pie has been translated to Spanish in more ways than one!
Thank you for sharing this recipe with the world.


Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Jaye
01/13/2013 08:17 PM

Hi Jaye,
Heavy cream has a percentage fat ranging 30 to 40 percent, which in many cases is used for making whip cream. We do not recommend using a light cream.

Rose always recommends, you should always make the recipe with exactly the same ingredients, equipment, and techniques as called for by the author's recipe to establish your control. From there you can experiment by substituting one ingredient or adjusting one technique at a time to obtain results that match the control or to your preferences. You may also want to experiment past what you think is the best results to fail the recipe so that you know the recipe's limits , and contact the author for her/his advise.
Rose & Woody


Pumpkin pie recipe calls for 3/4 cup HEAVY cream. What percentage fat? Is that 'whipping cream' or will 18% suffice?


Yes, I made it for my boyfriends job and everybody ate it all up. My boyfriend who is not a pumpkin pie eater and does not really care for cinnomon loved it. Its not overly spicey for those like don't like too much cinnomon, yet it still has that flavor of fall spices and the taste of the pumpkin (or whatever other squash is used). I think Libby's actually uses butternut squash, which is creamier and sweeter even then the sugar pie pumpkins commonly used in soups and pies, but a lot of people don't know pumpkin is a type of squash.
I also made recently made your apple crump pie after I went apple picking for hte first time since I was a child. The pie also was not to spicey and my boyfriend actually liked that as well, even with the cinnomon as he said it just had a hint of it. But that recipe is great even with the apples I buy in bulk at costcos in the winter!


that's great krissy! i was just writing the fall blog greeting about how october is pumpkin month but you got a head start! i adore that pumpkin pie and am so pleased to get good feedback.


I finally tried this recipe. I actually used fresh butternut squash since I had some in my garden and it came out very good. Also the crust came out nice with the ginger snaps, I used homemade ginger snaps this time but I could see it comming out nice even with store bought.


Thanks, actually Woody I was refering to the pecan topping, which does in fact look good but was not sure if I wanted to use it, in case not everybody I cook it for is used to it. I am glad I could use the fresh though, cause I have so much purea from the garden, to give it the smoother texture that mimics canned, I put it through a vegetable mill after blending it. I would like to try her pretty border, Martha STewqards pie book has so many decorations that I only sometimes attempt, but for certain occasipons its nice. I might someday purchase Rose's book, I have Martha's which is also a great book but I have heard others say Rose's is even better than Martha's.


Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Kristin
11/10/2011 09:49 AM

Hi Kirstin,
You can use your own homemade purée if you prefer its taste and consistency. Rose just prefers canned for being more consistent. The border and topping of maple leafs is optional. Rose is just showing a creative way to decorate this classic American tradition.


Could this be used with fresh pumpkin, assuming the pumpkin is strained and thick? I cooked and puread my sugar pumpkins from my gareden after halloween, and it worked nicely with a recipe I got from martha Steward's pie book, but I wanted to try this one this time, cause it looked good. Also, could it be okay without the topping? The topping does look good but my Dad does not like anthing that looks too different.


Just wanted to share the idea of my 2008 Pumpkin Chiffon Pie, as I've just wrote it for my brothers. To my surprise, but not to my expectations, I also need to provide the pie this year!

1- Toast chopped walnuts and toss with small cubes of carrot cake; add melted UNSALTED butter; spread on your pie plate; refrigerate till firm. The carrot cake cubes are optional.

2- Cook 1 can of UNSWEETENED pumpkin puree, with a bit of fresh ginger and cinnamon; add sugar to taste; refrigerate till cold.

3- Make whipping cream, and fold with #2 above; fill your pie; refrigerate till firm.

4- With flaky pie dough, bake 2 or 3 hundred assorted tree leaves. Cool and scatter on the pie.

BTW, adapted from Rose's Celebrations, here is a photo of my turkey 2007, roasted, and similarly my turkey 2008 as of yesterday. I've been discussing the much helpful need of using a surgeon's needle and surgical thread, to quickly stitch the breast skin. My French trussing needle and twine are too slow for skin stitching which I completed by 2 am last night! In addition, I am in favor that a heavy duty pair of poultry sheers is the best tool for the breast/chest removal rather than a knife and cleaver.



Lucky ME! I only made the pies, the steamed rice, and managed the oven for Luca's Mother wonderful lasagna... she is really the queen of lasagna. The meat bolognese, the parmessan cheese, and the bechamella, together with the freshly rolled pasta, is so heavenly, a recipe I am working hard and hope to publish in a book!


Lucky family and guests to have shared in this spread!!!


I've posted this last year, be sure to use a flat bottomed pie plate, like a pyrex or Rose's Perfect Pie Plate, for the best bottom heat contact possible and most flaky crust.

My beautiful pumpkin shaped pie plate have tiny pegs on the outside bottom, so crust turned soggy!

Also pictured, Perfect Pecan Pie, and savory potluck from my family's Thanksgiving Saturday 2008.



not really. the custard gets though it. caramel might help but it will soften and mix in with the custard during baking.


If you painted an egg wash on the base and blind-baked it for a few minutes, or coated the base with hot caramel, wouldn't that improve that crispness of the base?


My sister and I made your pumpkin pie:


It was awesome! Thank you very much.
We of course didn't start with canned puree...we tried to make our own which meant we had waaaaaaaaaay more filling than I made crust...but we managed.

Thanks :-)


Cindy, yes, use 'any-kind' of brown sugar. Agreed with Rose in all counts. The darker sugar helps the taste of pumpkin.

The canned pumpkin I use is the one sold everywhere in supermarkets in the U.S. Can't remember which.

Don't worry much about the color on the book, color prints do vary at time of printing and when stored in your bookshelf! It is the TASTE of this pumpkin pie who blew me away! Also, it would be near impossible to replicate one pie's color, it would depend on your oven, sugars, thus the amount of caramelization going on.

Oh, one last thing, the cream cheese flaky pie crust is so flaky and wonderful, that you must make rather large decorative leaves because if you make small ones like how I did, they look like teeth rather than leaves!


Rose, the picture of thepumpkin pie in the PPB looks orange in colour, defintely not brown. Is it due to photographing or else?


gorgeous pie hector. i happen to love the color and thankful i do since the flavor is so much more delicious and complex with a darker sugar than the plain white refined variety.


Thanks Hector, your advice always come so assuring . I cannot get turbinado sugar here but something called demarare sugar seems to be lighter in colour than brown sugar. As for canned pumpkin ,does it depend on the brand? Which brand did you used for your thanks giving pie?


Hi Cindy,

mine's came out brown, too, but I think it is the correct color. Even more, I used turbinado raw sugar, which is not as dark as brown sugar.

Pic here, including all the potluck foods. This was my Thanksgiving Saturday.

Rose, and it is well documented everywhere, claim that canned pumpkin puree tastes better than home made. I used canned.

In all, this pumpkin pie filling was the BEST I've ever tasted! It didn't taste so pumpkin, so eggy, so cinnamon, it was a good balance.



I have made this pie witht he pumpkin left from Halloween. It tasted good but Ifound that the colour of the pie was rather on the brown side with the brown sugar. I saw the bright orange pie on TPP bible. I think it looks better to be orange. The ecipe calls for Raw/brown sugar. Any suggestion?


Thanks uncle Ed, agreed. I've googled and there is quite a lot of info re: freezing custard pumpkin pies. I will just roll the crust, freeze unbaked, then refrigerator thaw it and continue/assemble the pie on the same day of baking/eating.

Thanks. /H


No, you cannot assemble the pie unbaked as the filling is in a liquid state. You could possibly bake the pie and then freeze it, but I'm not a big fan of doing that.
Rose states above you can prepare the crust and freeze it and states that you cannot freeze custard pie fillings.

I could go for a piece of this pie right now!!!


I a bit puzzled. Can you freeze the assembled pie, unbaked? If so, how do you bake it, do you thaw it first?


This pie is fantastic. I made it today. I actually used fresh pumpkin. I did make one goof though, I forgot the frozen 3 tbsp. of butter in the freezer!!! They never made it into the crust. The crust was not bad, a little crumbly, but not bad.
I also made a pumpkin pie eater out of my mom who really did not like the pumpkin pies she had tried previously.
I definitely will be making this again!!


The 3 3/4 cups references the completed filing from the recipe (which you make using the 1 3/4 cups of pumpkin).


dear rose:
in reference to your recipe for "great pumpkin pie" you list 3 3/4 cup pumpkin filling and ALSO 1 3/4 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin. when you ask for the "pumpkin filling" is this the pre-spiced pumpkin pie filling in a can. if not, how do you define this?
thank you in advance,


Well, I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one that has it turn out that way!

I guess I misunderstood the use of 'crunchy' (in "The crunchy bottom crust is a result of creating a layer of gingersnaps and ground pecans") and expected something a little, um, crunchier. As it is, I get a wonderfully flaky crust with nice flavor, but nothing I'd describe as crunchy.

Either way, the pie is always a huge hit, and I end up making 3 or 4 any time I make one, just because so many people want their own!




exactly--it's to keep it from becoming soggy. it's about as nice a crust bottom as you're gonna get with a custard filling!


I make this recipe too, but I never expected the cookie layer to be crunchy. I think it is there to keep the bottom crust from absorbing liquid.


I wanted to follow up to Laura's question about pre-baking the crust. I make the pumpkin pie recipe at least 3-4 times/year, but I can't seem to get the nut/cookie layer to get crispy, or even moderately hard. It's tasty, to be sure, but not crispy or crunchy by any means. I've usually used a baking stone or a cookie sheet on the bottom level, but even when baking directly on the floor of the oven I didn't have any luck. I'm using ceramic (Longaberger) pie plates if that makes any difference...

Any suggestions?

(BTW - I met Alton Brown at a book signing where he welcomed any questions about such things, amd he suggested docking the crust and pre-baking the crust. Of course, his other comment was "it's her recipe, ask her!" but at the time, I didn't know how to do that...)


Thanks Rose for the help...I'm just wondering though...why is it that custard pies like pumpkin pies can't be frozen? It's because I'm curious that I'm asking...I don't mean to be a pest. Thanks so much for being so fast with your answers!


measure the volume of a 10 inch pan--i think i may have listed it in the book--the 9 inchease it. as for baking, start testing for doneness after 5 minutes more time than in the 9 inch.


Hi Rose
Hi Rose,
I have your Pie and Pastry Bible Cookbook and use it all the time. I made your Pate Sucree crust this week put it in a 10" pyrex dish and froze it. My question: How much should I increase the filling from your "Great Pumpkin Pie" recipe and how long should I bake it since it is in a 10" pie dish. Thanks you for your help.


you can freeze apple pie filling and other fruit fillings but not custard pies like pumpkin.


Hello, It's been years since I've done any baking with my mother and now I'm wanting to do it on my own so I need a little help. I would like to get my pie fillings ready and freeze them, is that possible or will it ruin them? I want to make pumpkin and apple pies from the real thing and not the can, but I want to make the fillings right now while I have my vacation. Then when the time comes I could take them out of the freezer, defrost them, put the fillings in their crusts and bake. Does this sound right? I don't want to bring my first pies to my in-laws and have them taste awful. Thanks for any help!


yes--you should press in the ginger crumbs before freezing and yes---NO prebaking.


Hi Rose,

I wanted to make sure the crust is NOT prebaked for the Great Pumpkin Pie? I worry that I'm reading the directions wrong, b/c it seems like most other single crusts are partially baked. Does it not need to be prebaked b/c of the gingersnap crust?

Also, I am planning to make my crusts ahead and freeze them. Could I press the pecan/gingersnap mix into the pie before I feeze? It seems it would be difficult to do once I remove it from the freezer.

Thanks for clarifying. I'm still new to this, and like to make sure I understand everything before I get going!


the problem is not how long to bake it because the cake bakes until it tests done.the problem is that cake mixes are designed for smaller pans. When I make a cake from scratch in a larger size, I decrease the amount of baking powder or baking soda per cup of flour to give it more structure. but you can't make this adjustment in the cake mix because the baking powder is already in it.


Hi, Rose. I have looked all over the net, I need to know how long to cook a cake when you mix two cake mixes to gether to make one large cake. I have one big pan, and if you put one cake mix in it, the cake turns out flat.
Thank you.


Eileen Gannon
Eileen Gannon
11/22/2005 10:17 AM

Hi Rose -- I want you to know that I am a huge fan and I own the Cake, Pie and Bread Bibles that you have written. I am a championship baker and have over 135 ribbons from the Iowa State Fair, which has over 12,000 entries each year. I have won the Overall Cake Championship 5 times, plus many other prizes for pies and a wide variety of other items. I find great inspiration in your books and have given them as gifts dozens of times. Thank you so very much for your excellent work. Since you write "bibles" then I consider you a cooking "goddess." Thanks again.



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