Classic Pumpkin Pie

This Classic Pumpkin Pie features an extra silky pumpkin filling and a flaky pie crust.  It makes for one tasty sweet Autumn treat!

This Classic Pumpkin Pie features an extra silky pumpkin filling and a flaky pie crust.  It makes for one tasty sweet Autumn treat!In the past, I’ve wondered what folks do with those gigantic pumpkins that they grow for ‘largest pumpkin’ contests.  I mean, 2,500 pounds of pumpkin is a lot of pumpkin!  What do you do with that after Halloween is over?  Well I think I found the answer.  Give ’em to the elephants!  Animals love pumpkin, so it only stands to reason that large animals love large pumpkins.  I first heard about Squishin’ of the Squash last year as an event at the Oregon Zoo.  Turns out several zoos around the country host squash-squishin’ events.  Oregon is a bit of a drive for us here in upstate New York, but the Syracuse zoo hosts a similar version.  I’m thinking Robbie would love to see elephants devour gigantic pumpkins.  Heck, I want to see that!

Classic Pumpkin Pie

As Thanksgiving season is sneaking up on us quickly, I thought it would be fun to include a tried and true Turkey Day recipe: classic pumpkin pie.  To be fair, pumpkin pie as a classic Thanksgiving dessert isn’t exactly historically accurate.  The Pilgrims and Indians at Plymouth Rock would likely have eaten pumpkin in some form, but it most certainly was not in the pumpkin pie form that is so ubiquitous this time of the year.  That’s ok, though.  Historically accurate or not, a good classic pumpkin pie is hard to beat!

This Classic Pumpkin Pie features an extra silky pumpkin filling and a flaky pie crust.  It makes for one tasty sweet Autumn treat!We always make 2 pies for Thanksgiving.  1 is this Brown Sugar Pecan Pie.  Some day I’ll get around to re-taking these photos, but that day is not today.  Just know that I pull up that recipe every Thanksgiving.  The 2nd pie?  Well that one is on rotation.  We’ve done chocolate pies, buttermilk pies, sweet potato pies.  Basically whatever sounds like a fun addition to the Thanksgiving menu!  This year the classic Pumpkin Pie will be slotted into the 2nd pie position.

This Classic Pumpkin Pie features an extra silky pumpkin filling and a flaky pie crust.  It makes for one tasty sweet Autumn treat!I’ve made a number of pumpkin pies in the past, but I tried a couple of new tricks this time.  First, I strained the filling for this classic pumpkin pie through a fine-mesh sieve.  That led to an extremely silky texture to the filling.  No more grainy pumpkin pie!  Laura actually caught this as she noted the silky texture after just one bite.  I’ve gotta say that I’ll be straining (sieving?) my pumpkin pie filling from now on!

The other trick?  Vodka.  With the holidays approaching, we’ve always got plenty of liquor in the cabinet.  (How else are you supposed to get through holidays with the in-laws!?  Just kidding!)  I stumbled across the concept of using vodka in pie dough from a NY Times article.  This isn’t just a sneaky way to incorporate alcohol in your dessert.  Nope, there’s actually a scientific reason here.

This Classic Pumpkin Pie features an extra silky pumpkin filling and a flaky pie crust.  It makes for one tasty sweet Autumn treat!When water is mixed with flour, gluten forms.  We like gluten when it comes to things like pizza crusts, bagels and breads.  We don’t like gluten in things like pie crusts.  Here’s the trick: alcohol doesn’t contribute to the formation of gluten.  Vodka is often used in pie crusts simply because it’s the most flavor-neutral of alcohols.  The result is a flakier crust, and I’ve got to say that this will be my go-to pie dough recipe from now on!  Actually, I kinda want to try this with bourbon now.  I know it’s not flavor-neutral, but I think the combination of bourbon with pumpkin and cinnamon would be quite tasty.  Or perhaps an apple pie with a bourbon crust?  Oh yeah, that needs to happen now!  (Oh, and it’s worth noting that the alcohol bakes off in the oven, so this is still safe to serve to the kiddos.)

This Classic Pumpkin Pie features an extra silky pumpkin filling and a flaky pie crust.  It makes for one tasty sweet Autumn treat!If you’ve looking for a mighty tasty pie for Thanksgiving this year, then put this Classic Pumpkin Pie on the menu!  The silky texture combined with the flaky crust (thanks, vodka!) make for one delicious Turkey Day dessert.  Happy baking, my friends!

Did you make this Classic Pumpkin Pie at home?  Leave a comment.  Or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog)!

Looking for other tasty pie recipes?  Check out these other favorites:

Chocolate Chess Pie
Chocolate Cream Pie
No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie
Cherry Crumb Pie
Atlantic Beach Pie

This Classic Pumpkin Pie features an extra silky pumpkin filling and a flaky pie crust.  It makes for one tasty sweet Autumn treat!

Classic Pumpkin Pie

This Classic Pumpkin Pie features an extra silky pumpkin filling and a flaky pie crust.  It makes for one tasty sweet Autumn treat!
5 from 14 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8 slices
Calories: 429kcal

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter cold
  • 2 Tbsp vodka see note
  • 2-4 Tbsp cold water

For the Filling

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 additional egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp ground ginger
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • {optional} fresh whipped cream for serving

Instructions

For the Dough

  • Using a food processor, add flour, brown sugar and salt; pulse until well combined.
  • Cut butter into small cubes and add to the food processor; pulse until a crumbly mixture forms.
  • Add vodka and 2 Tbsp of water; pulse until well combined. Continue adding water 1 Tbsp at a time (and pulsing) until dough comes together in a ball.
  • Shape dough into a disc and wrap with plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (Note: Dough can be made the day before and refrigerated overnight.)
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Working on a well-floured surface, roll pie dough into a 12” circle.
  • Transfer pie dough into pan and gently press dough into pan; Leave ~1” of overhang on all sides
  • Fold excess dough under itself and use 2 fingers to crimp the edges. Refrigerate dough for at least 15 minutes.
  • Place foil on top of dough and fill with pie weights or coins.
  • Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Remove foil (and weights) and continue baking for 5 more minutes.

For the Filling

  • While the crust is baking, whisk together heavy cream, milk, eggs, egg yolk and vanilla in a medium bowl; set bowl aside.
  • Using a medium saucepan, add pumpkin, brown sugar, maple syrup, salt, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring often, for 5-6 minutes.
  • Remove pan from heat and stir in heavy cream mixture until well combined.
  • Pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean container. (Note: Use a spatula to help push the filling mixture through the strainer.)
  • Pour mixture into prebaked pie crust.
  • Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 300°F; continue baking for 28 -32 more minutes, or until pie is mostly set. (Note: The center of the pie should register 175°F on an instant-read thermometer. If you don’t have a thermometer, the center 2” of the pie should look set but still slightly loose. The pie will finish cooking after it is removed from the oven.)
  • Let pie cool for 2-3 hours at room temperature before slicing and serving.
  • {Optional} Garnish with fresh whipped cream before serving.

Notes

The alcohol in the crust will evaporate while baking. Substituting vodka (or another 80-proof alcohol) for ½ of the liquid in pie dough will lead to a flakier crust once baked. Try it out!

This Classic Pumpkin Pie features an extra silky pumpkin filling and a flaky pie crust.  It makes for one tasty sweet Autumn treat!

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34 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    How have I never seen an elephant eat a pumpkin? That’s pretty much the cutest thing I’ve ever heard! And I’ve been to both the Oregon zoo and the ‘Cuse zoo! I’m adding this to my to-do list :). Also on that list is straining my pie filling come Thanksgiving–that’s brilliant! I absolutely love pumpkin pie and I can’t wait to see how much more I love it with an extra silky filling!

    1. Yup, you need to put elephants eating pumpkins on your to-do list, Kelsie! I mean I’ve only ever seen it on the video, and it looks pretty amazing. Wouldn’t it be cool if people wanted to pay to watch you eat? Haha!

  2. 5 stars
    A perfect solution for those large pumpkins! We put our old carved pumpkins out and the deer – and our chickens eat them. I love homemade pumpkin pie – there’s just nothing better. It’s a perfect finish to a turkey dinner. Love that you’ve added maple syrup! Sounds delicious.

    1. Yup, we do the same with our carved pumpkins. The wildlife around here seems to enjoy ’em. Too bad we don’t have any elephants in our backyard, though. I think that would be far more fun to watch! 🙂 Thanks so much, Kathy!

  3. Pumpkin pie is seriously my most favorite food on planet Earth. I can’t get enough of it. I love, love, love it. So for me Thanksgiving is nothing without a pumpkin pie. And it’s got to be classic. It can’t be some fancy or strange or weird or twisted version. It’s got to be straight-up, classic, delicious pumpkin pie with Cool Whip on top. For some reason. Not whipped cream. Cool Whip. That’s just how I roll with my pumpkin pie. Now, making it extra silky … that sounds fantastic, so I would definitely give that a try.

    1. Cool whip, eh? That’s definitely interesting. I suspect that’s how your mom made it growing up? Either way, the straining of the filling is a great little trick. Try it out this year and lemme know what you think!

  4. Polar bears love pumpkins, too! Interesting. Anyway, I have never ever heard about vodka in pie crust! That’s fascinating. I love your filling recipe. A little more than using evaporated milk, although I do love the flavor of evaporated milk. the maple syrup is perfect.

    1. Interesting! I’m not surprised that polar bears love pumpkins. Now I have to go find a video of polar bears eating pumpkins. Haha! So the vodka in the dough is a fun little tip. Give it a shot next time you make dough! And the maple syrup is SO good in this recipe, Mimi. This is a classic holiday pie for sure. Thanks so much, my friend!

  5. 5 stars
    What a brilliant idea to strain! This definitely looks creamy dreamy! Kinda looks super smooth, like a cheesecake. My Monday definitely needs a huge piece of this with extra whipped cream! Pinned :)Also, who would have thought that elephants enjoy pumpkin that much?!

    1. So straining the pumpkin pie filling changed everything for me! It’s funny how a simple little step like that can make such a big difference. Give it a shot next time you make pumpkin pie and lemme know what you think. Also, every Monday needs a huge slice of pie. I agree with you 100%, Dawn!

  6. 5 stars
    I loved that video of the elephants and the giant pumpkins. So adorable.

    Looks like you make one mean pumpkin pie, David. Your filling looks so creamy and just the right texture to still be able to make the perfect slice. Nicely done!

    1. Hey, even the elephants get to enjoy pumpkins…just not in the same way that you and I do! (Although, to be honest, jumping on a huge pumpkin does sound kinda fun. Haha!)

      So this pumpkin pie is seriously one of the best I’ve had in a long time. I credit the straining of the filling…keep that tip in mind next time you make a pumpkin pie! 🙂 Thanks, Marissa!

  7. 5 stars
    Man those elephants really went for the pumpkin. I’ll have to try that on Chloe dog as one of those big guys could last her for months. All kidding aside, Chloe loves pureed pumpkin, but we limit her consumption.
    Great pumpkin pie recipe and one I’ll be passing on to Eva as she’s in charge of pies this year.
    I’ve tried the bourbon crust but was disappointed as I couldn’t tell the difference between a bourbon crust and a vodka crust. Maybe more bourbon next time.

    1. Our dogs love pureed pumpkin, too! Our older dog has passed on, but the vet actually recommended that we add pumpkin to his food every night as it, uh, solidified things. 🙂 He loved it, so we always kept a container in the fridge for him!

      Hmmm…interesting note about the bourbon. There’s only so much you can add since it is a liquid. I wonder if it’s possible to reduce the bourbon by simmering it a bit first. Is that a thing? Or do you just boil off the actual bourbon? I clearly need to do some more research on this front.

      1. I once made bourbon salt and reduced a half-gallon of bourbon down to about a cup. It tasted very bitter to me but had a distinct bourbon taste. As for the bourbon salt, a waste of time in the end.

  8. 5 stars
    Our dog, Oso, loves pumpkin so much! But it’s often used as natural medicinal for dogs with digestive problems. So under normal circumstance, best not to give too much. But for humans – pumpkin is great! I love how smooth and silky these look, David, nice idea to strain it! Can’t wait for Thanksgiving myself!

    1. Yes! Our older dog has passed on now, but the vet recommended that we feed him pureed pumpkin with his food. He loved it, and it certainly seemed to help on the digestive front, too. I prefer my pumpkin in pie form, though, and the straining the filling is an excellent little trick. Definitely keep that in mind next time you make a pumpkin pie! Thanks, Laura!

  9. 5 stars
    I bet it is very therapeutic for the elephants! I love a good pumpkin pie, sadly I’m the only one my family who does. More for me! Also, is the whipped cream on top really optional? I would argue not!

    1. I’m thinking jumping onto huge pumpkins would be pretty therapeutic for adults, too. I say let’s give it a try! 🙂

      So why is it sad that you’re the only one who loves pumpkin pie? That just means more for you, right?? Haha!

  10. 5 stars
    David, this pumpkin pie is silky smooth perfection! Love the maple syrup you’ve added to it! My mom buys seeds to grow the humongous pumpkins. We just recycle it back into the garden for next year’s nutrients. It’s a whole lot more fun watching elephants have a go at them!

    1. I’ve always wanted to try growing those monster pumpkins. Maybe next year I’ll actually plant some seeds and see what happens. Then I just need to find some local elephants. 🙂

  11. 5 stars
    A good thing about being a food blogger living in Canada is that you can celebrate Thanksgiving twice. Well, technically we don’t celebrate it in November; however, feel free to ship me some turkey and pie leftovers if you wish – I will happily join you 🙂 This classic pumpkin pie looks perfect!

    1. I always love seeing Canadian Thanksgiving posts pop up as it helps get me in the mood for the US version. I love this time of the year! If we have leftovers, you know I’ll send ’em your way. Key word is “if.” 🙂 Thanks, Ben!

  12. hi david
    i like your idea with the vodka in the pastry. clever! and the cook can take a swig as she goes.:-) mmm pumpkin pie is not really a thing here. we tend to think of it as a savoury item – i.e. roasted with your chicken or beef dinner, or maybe pureed as part of a vego lasagne. i love how silky your filling looks tho. great idea to sieve it! cheers sherry

    1. Hey Sherry! Hey, if the cook happens to take a swig while in the kitchen, then no one needs to be the wiser, right? 🙂 I’ve heard that before about pumpkin being a savory ingredient down there in Australia. So interesting! Here in the States, it can appear in both savory and sweet…but more often it’s sweet with the addition of brown sugar. Yum!

  13. 5 stars
    Oh my gosh, the elephants! You have to take Robbie to see that. My boys would’ve loved it at that age. As teenagers, now probably not as much. 😉 It doesn’t get much better than a perfect, classic pumpkin pie. 🙂 Love it. ~Valentina

    1. You’re right! Robbie would absolutely love to see those elephants…heck, I would, too! 🙂 And I’m with ya. A good pumpkin pie is hard to beat – especially this time of the year. Thanks, Valentina!

  14. 5 stars
    Laughed when I read the part about keeping liquor in the cabinet just so you can get through the holidays with the in-laws!! YES! I usually hide in the kitchen with my class of wine cooking away all day whilst leaving Lynne to deal with that situation. Ha ha! Anyway lovely pumpkin pie and that’s a great idea to strain the pie filling!

    1. Haha! The wine is an absolute must for the holidays. We can say it’s for toasting and celebrating…but it’s really for making it through the visit with the in-laws. 🙂

      I had to steal away a little of the vodka for this pie dough. It’s a really cool baking technique! Thanks so much, Neil. Hope you and Lynne had a great weekend!

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