Recipes - Desserts

The ‘Ultimate Pumpkin Pie’ recipe – for my first Thanksgiving

Being an English-Aussie until now I didn’t know too much about Thanksgiving, other than it being an American tradition in November. Don’t hold this against me……Because this year two of my American-Aussie neighbours, Kate and Laura, have invited me to spend Thanksgiving with them and over 20 others. I’ve been told that we’ll be feasting our way from afternoon to evening.

When I quizzed Kate on the Thanksgiving feast she told me that pumpkin pie is a very traditional dish, that’s been a part of the Thanksgiving table since 1623.

The ultimate pumpkin pie, recipe, bon appetitI was surprised to discover then that pumpkin pie is sweet rather than savoury. “What’s your favourite pumpkin pie recipe?” I asked Kate.  She spilled the beans and here I’m sharing it with you.

Pumpkin pie recipe for thanksgivingKate, like me, is a food magazine hoarder. Her recipe for “The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie” comes from the November 1993 special holiday edition of Bon Appétit magazine – and Kate still has a copy. She laughed when I told her I would’ve been 12 years old when she bought the magazine. Anyway moving on to the recipe.

Pumpkin pie recipe for thanksgivingThe Ultimate Pumpkin Pie – thanks Bon Appétit magazine

Set aside a couple of hours from start to finish to prepare and cook this pie. And note that you can make your pie one day in advance. I don’t photos of the pie itself yet – because Kate isn’t preparing it for a few more days.

Ingredients (makes eight servings)

The crust

  • 1 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 tbsp whipping cream

The filling

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • 450g of solid pack pumpkin – see note below
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves / apricot jam


The crust

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F (175C) and blend the flour, sugar and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles a course meal. Add the cream and continue to process until moist clumps form.
  2. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten to make a disc, wrap in plastic film and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  3. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to make a 14 inch (35 cm) round. Then transfer the dough to a 9 inch (23cm) pie dish. Trim the overhang to 1 inch (2.5cm)  and fold the overhang over.
  4. Make a cut in the edge of the crust at 1/2 inch intervals. Bend alternate edge pieces inwards and then freeze for 15 minutes.
  5. Line the crust with foil, pressing firmly, and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes until the sides have set. Then remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Once removed reduced the oven temperature to 325F (160C).

The filling

  1. Using a whisk mix the sugar, brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger and salt until no lumps remain.
  2. Blend in the pumpkin, whipping cream, sour cream and eggs.
  3. Spread the apricot preserves / jam over the crust and pour in the filling. Bake in the oven for around 55 minutes. You know it’s ready when the filling on the pie will be set at the edges (it puffs at the edges) and is ‘almost’ set in the middle.  It is not unusual to have the filling crack in the middle when it cooks.
  4. Cool on a rack and then cover and chill until cold.

Pumpkin pie is at its best served with some whipped cream or even ice cream.

The ultimate pumpkin pie, recipe, bon appetitNote – solid pack pumpkin

  • What is it? Pumpkin in a tin with nothing added. You may see it referred to as pumpkin puree or 100% pure pumpkin. It doesn’t contain sugar or spices and in my mind I liken it to using a can of chopped tomatoes versus fresh tomatoes. Using canned pumpkin saves you the time and effort involved in chopping, seeding, cooking and blending real pumpkin.

Pumpkin pie recipe for thanksgiving

  • Where in Australia sells it? Kate tells me that you can buy the pure canned pumpkin in Australia from David Jones and Thomas Dux.It’s only available here in large cans of over 800g (almost 2lb) so you can either make two pies with it or use the rest of the can to make pumpkin soup or pumpkin bread.  Or freeze it for later use.
  • Can I use real pumpkin instead of the canned variety? Yes but choose a Queensland Blue pumpkin – it has a lower water content compared to other varieties, and this makes it the best option for pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin pie recipe, thanksgivingAny tips on pumpkin pie or recipes that would challenge this ultimate pumpkin pie? Then do comment here.

By Feast Wisely

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4 thoughts on “The ‘Ultimate Pumpkin Pie’ recipe – for my first Thanksgiving

  1. Hi there! Thank you for stopping in to my blog and following. I’m so glad you did because now I found your lovely blog. This is a very interesting pumpkin pie recipe. I think I’ll give it a try. I have made countless pumpkin pies but never made one with whipping cream, sour cream and apricot preserves. Sounds wonderful. Nice to meet you. 🙂

    • Thanks Seana – let me know how it goes if you make it as I’m still a pumpkin pie native and am trusting my friend Kate will whip up a delicious pie for Thanksgiving. Oh and great to e-meet you too!

  2. Pumpkin in a can? Since when? haha that is incredibly handy for situations like pumpkin pie making! and I’m sure plenty of other recipes! great post 🙂

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