Holiday Pumpkin Pie

Giant pumpkin on the vine

Giant pumpkin on the vine

by Cat, Sept 2007 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

This very rich recipe for holiday occasions serves 10, and is much more flavorful than the Libby’s canned pumpkin recipe (3). I make this in my quiche pan, but you could use a deep dish pie pan. There’s usually some of the filling left over which you can pour into a custard cup (without the crust), set the cup in a pan water, and bake as you would custard.

I make this with a part whole-grain pre-baked crust in my 10″ ceramic quiche pan. I prefer to use spelt, as it has a nuttier flavor than wheat, but either works well.

Holiday Pumpkin Pie

This pie requires that the crust be pre-baked and cooled before filling and baking the pie. I have not yet moved my pie crust recipes, so I include my traditional crust recipe sized for my quiche pan, here (see below the filling recipe). (2015 note: I have since moved all my pie crust recipes; see Pie & Tart Crusts/Pastries)

This pie filling is very rich and flavorful; consider: it contains molasses and Myer’s dark rum! as well as the more usual ingredients.

Notes on Ingredients

The original recipe uses some ingredients for which I prefer to make substitutions:

Sweetener: The original uses a combination of brown and white sugar, plus molasses to sweeten and flavor the pie. If you use these, be sure to use cane sugar, rather than “white sugar” which is made from GMO sugar beets. And instead of brown sugar, I recommend Rapadura sugar (Organic dehydrated sugar cane juice), which is lightly brown.

If you need to avoid sugar, I recommend xylitol (a sugar alcohol) instead of white sugar, which has a very low glycemic index and 40% fewer calories than sugar. My preferred option is to use Stevia extract powder for all or part of the brown and white sugar, but I would keep the molasses because of the flavor it adds.  However, because I serve this only on holidays, I figure it’s OK to indulge in real sugar for the occasion – as long as I don’t eat the entire pie by myself!

Molasses: If you really want to use the most healthful version, choose blackstrap molasses. But for best flavor dark, un-sulfered molasses is preferred.

Spices: This recipe uses its own mix of individual spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves); alternately, you can use your own homemade pumpkin pie spice mix.

Milk: The original uses canned evaporated milk, which is thicker and sweeter than fresh milk; but I prefer to use ‘light cream’ which is richer than half-and-half but not as rich as heavy or whipping cream. NOTE: if using raw cream, use ½ cup cream and ¼ cup milk as a ‘light cream’ equivalent.

Pumpkin Pie Filling

This pumpkin custard filling is adapted from The Vegetarian Epicure Book 2, by Anna Thomas (2)

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • pastry for quiche pan (see above)
  • 1 15-oz can puréed pumpkin (or 1 ¾ cup cooked and puréed pumpkin; see Baked Winter Squash for cooking instructions, but skip the sweetener and spices in favor of those in this recipe; when ready, scoop out the pumpkin meat and puree in blender)
  • ½ cup brown or Rapadura sugar (or ¼ tsp stevia extract powder)
  • 4 Tbsp white cane sugar or xylitol (or ¼ tsp stevia extract powder)
  • 1 Tbsp unsulfured molasses (add extra 1 tsp if using stevia instead of brown or Rapadura sugar)
  • ¼ tsp unrefined sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp powdered ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup light cream, or ½ cup raw cream plus ¼ raw milk  (or 12-oz can undiluted canned milk)
  • 2 Tbsp Myers rum (or other dark rum)
  • Equipment
  • medium and large bowls
  • egg whip
  • 10″ quiche pan (or 10″ deep dish pie pan)

Shape and Pre-Bake Pastry

  1. See pie crust recipe, below, or use your own, but follow the pre-bake instructions in my crust recipe.
  2. After second 10-minute baking, remove pan to a rack to cool before adding filling.

Prepare Pumpkin Filling and Finish the Pie

  1. In large bowl, combine sugars, molasses, salt, spices and puréed pumpkin.
  2. In smaller bowl, whip eggs with cream (or canned milk) and rum.  Pour into pumpkin mixture, and mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour pumpkin filling into prepared and pre-baked pastry (See pie crust main page).
  4. Bake at 400°F for 35 – 40 minutes, until a butter knife inserted into the center comes out clean, and the pie no longer shakes in the center.
  5. Cool in pan on a rack.

Assembly or Serving Suggestions

  • If desired, remove baked and cooled pie from the pan. Cut into 10 wedges for serving after cooling.
  • Serve with a dollop of slightly sweetened real Whipped Cream.
  • Garnish the Holiday pie with bits of chopped crystalized ginger.
Ceramic 10" Quiche Pan

Ceramic 10″ Quiche Pan

Whole Wheat or Spelt Pie Crust

This is a standard pie crust, using part unbleached white and part whole grain pastry flour (soft wheat or spelt), which gives it a slightly sweet, nutty flavor (and more nutrients).  Note that spelt will require less water than wheat. This recipe has been a standard in my kitchen for years (1); I’ve adapted the ingredient amounts for a 10″ quiche pan (photo, left, from Amazon (6) or 9″ deep dish pie pan).

Alternately, you could use my Yogurt Pie Crust recipe (sized for 10″ quiche pan), that presoaks overnight before rolling. I’ve not yet moved this recipe, so you can find it on my old site at Spelt Pie Crusts (4) or Wheat pie crusts (5) and scroll down to the ‘Yogurt dough’ version. The benefit of using a presoaked flour recipe such as these, is to make the minerals in the grain available for absorption, and deactivating some of the anti-nutrients in the grain. See Grains: Soaking & sprouting for more on this.

To make ice-cold water, put some cold filtered water in a cup or bowl and add a couple ice cubes.  Let rest for a couple minutes before adding to the dough.  Many people swear by adding a dash of cider vinegar or lemon juice, for maximum flakiness.

If you prefer, you can use all butter instead of the butter/lard combination. I do not recommend using margarine or other spreads for pie crust, nor Crisco or other shortening brands.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • ⅔ cup unbleached white flour (wheat or spelt), plus more for rolling the pastry
  • ⅔ cup whole wheat pastry flour or whole spelt flour
  • ½ tsp unrefined sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp Rapadura sugar or white cane sugar (optional)
  • ½ cup butter (or ⅓ cup butter plus 2 ½ Tbsp home-rendered lard
  • 4 – 6 Tbsp ice cold water with dash vinegar
  • 10″ ceramic quiche pan
  • bowl
  • rolling pin


  1. Measure flours, sugar (if using) and salt into a sifter, then sift into a medium bowl.
  2. Add butter and lard by Tbsp and cut into flour with a pastry cutter, pastry fork, or 2 knives, to particles the size of small peas.  Let sit a few moments while you prepare the water.
  3. Put 1-2 ice cubes into a cup; add filtered water and dash of vinegar.  Let sit a few moments for the temperature to equilibrate, then sprinkle the lesser amount of water onto the flour-butter mixture.  Blend with pastry cutter and test to see if it will hold together into a ball.  If not, sprinkle on some more water (no more than 1 Tbsp at a time) and blend in.
  4. Gather dough into a ball, cover bowl with a cloth, and set in a cool place (or refrigerator) for about 5-10 minutes.
  5. Lightly flour rolling surface and rolling pin with  white flour.  I prefer to use a pastry cloth, and to cover my rolling pin with a pastry sock.
  6. Lay round of dough on floured surface and flatten slightly with palm of your hand.  Turn over the dough and flatten slightly again (this gets flour on both sides of the dough, for ease in rolling).  Then roll out with floured rolling pin to a circle 2″ larger than the size of the pan (12 inch diameter for a 10″ pan).
  7. Carefully transfer crust to the pie pan.  I like to lay the rolling pin across the middle of the crust, and then roll one side of the round over the pin, then transfer to pan as the dough hangs over the pin.  Another way is to fold dough gently in half and transfer it with your hands. Unfold crust and ease it into the pan, pressing firmly against the bottom.
  8. Trim to 1″ overhang all around. Dampen the overhang with your finger dipped in water, fold the overhang in half and press together, then crimp so that it stands up, for a deeper pie.
  9. Chill about 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 400°F.  When shell is chilled and firm, line with parchment paper and fill with dried beans (or other pie crust weights).
  10. Pre-bake 10 minutes; remove from oven;  remove beans and parchment paper. [I like to dump the used beans into a jar to save for a later pie; I label the jar to indicate “for pie weight only,” because the beans are not fit for cooking after being heated.]
  11. Prick bottom of crust in several places with the tines of a fork, then return to oven and finish the pre-bake for another 10 minutes.
  12. Follow pie filling instructions, above for final baking.


  1. Cat’s recipe collection
  2. The Vegetarian Epicure Book 2, by Anna Thomas
  3. Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe:
  4. Spelt pie crusts:
  5. Wheat pie crusts: 
  6. 10″ quiche pan photo:

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