Any way to make pumpkin pie from fresh pumpkins?

For this Thanksgiving, my mother wants to make pumpkin pie... with fresh pumpkins. I've found a lot of great pie recipes made with canned pumpkin, but most of the recipes for fresh pumpkin come from the web and we won't have time to test a recipe before Thanksgiving to see if it turns out nicely. Has anybody here made pumpkin pie out of fresh pumpkin or knows a way to substitute fresh roasted pumpkin for canned? Apparently the fresh pumpkin has more water and can turn your pie into a gooey mess if you don't compensate for the added moisture.

  • Posted by: nka2
  • November 20, 2011


SKK November 21, 2011
I am in the middle of making 12 pumpkin pies for gifts, using 50% butternut squash and 50% pumpkin. The most important thing, in my view, is after following all the wonderful tips from Anita, MaineCook61, Sarah K, Greenstuff, Franscesca is to put your puree - straight from the food processor - into a sieve lined with cheesecloth and let the puree drain its liquid. You will be surprised how much water drains out! This is fun to do and you can season your puree for your pie with anything - we use maple syrup and vanilla along with the spices.
Anitalectric November 21, 2011
Yes! Once you use fresh pumpkin, you will not be able to stomach the canned stuff ever again. My secret is that I use kabocha squash. It has much less moisture than traditional sugar pumpkins. You can use sugar pumpkins if you'd like, but get the smallest ones you can. The bigger the pumpkin, the higher the water content and the more inferior the flavor. Those have way too much moisture and will make a soggy filling.

What I do is peel and seed kubocha squashes (kuri squashes, the bright orange version, are great too and yield a gorgeous, bright-orange-colored pie, dice them and cook down with half a can of coconut milk and a vanilla pod (scrape out the beans and add them along with the pod). This will cook in no time at all. Once the pieces are tender, you can use a whisk to puree the lazy way, or press through a food mill or ricer. This will yield a thicker and more flavorful puree than pumpkins. If you have extra you can freeze it. It helps to make a big batch at once and have it handy for later use.

Chauncey November 20, 2011
What about the seeds? I remember my mother making roasted pumpkin seeds from a Halloween Jack O'lantern in the '50s/'60s. As I remember, long ago :-), we washed the goop off, dried them, and dry? roasted them.
Temperature? Time? Oil? Can this be done with any squash seeds? If some pumpkins are better for pies than others, are some squash seed better for roasting than others?
Ophelia November 20, 2011
If you are worried about the fresh (recently baked and mashed) pumpkin being too wet you can cook out some of the moisture before you mix everything up (don't strain out excess moisture, there's a lot of flavor in the liquid).
Actually a lot of the time I'll cook all the ingredients except the milk and eggs on the stove top for 10 minutes or so, until is starts to get a little stiff, remove from the heat, add the cool milk and then add the eggs (the milk generally cools the mixture to the point where it doesn't cook the eggs, but use your best judgement there, my recipe calls for a lot of milk), pour it into the crust and bake. This may reduce the baking time a bit, maybe start checking on it about 15 minutes before you usually do.
Greenstuff November 20, 2011
While I do believe that canned pumpkin is a great product, it's just more fun to use a real one. Lizthechef knows her stuff, but for me, it's definitely not a pain in the neck--it's easy to roast a pumpkin and scoop out the flesh. For pumpkin pies, we usually use a sugar pumpkin, roasting it like Francesca suggests, as it just says "pumpkin! Halloween! Thanksgiving! pie!" to us. But yes, I agree that kabocha squash is, like linzarella said, "dense and creamy and consistently delicious." I've used them in both sweet and savory dishes, and I'm a huge fan. And buttercups are nice and dense and creamy as well.
Lizthechef November 20, 2011
It is a HUGE pain in the neck and the flesh can be awfully fibrous. I buy organic canned pumpkin at Trader Joe's.
mainecook61 November 20, 2011
I would use: sugar pumpkins (small, intended for food not Halloween), buttercup squash (nice dry flesh) ,or kabocha squash (same). Then proceed per the instructions of Sarah K. Since I raise buttercups (not to be confused with butternuts), that is what I use. It works just fine.
linzarella November 20, 2011
When I worked on a farm and grew a zillion varieties of winter squash, it was systematically and unequivocally determined that kabocha squash was the best, sweetest, squash to use for pumpkin pie - or anything else for that matter. It's dense and creamy and consistently delicious. Comes in green or orange.
SKK November 21, 2011
Thanks for this piece of info, linzarella. Have been using butternut squash now will try kabocha.
sarah K. November 20, 2011
Please please please know that you must get the right type of pumpkin! Those giant ones used for jack-o-lanterns are NOT for cooking! The are stringy, watery, and flavorless, since they've been bred to grow enormous in just a couple of months. You can absolutely make a delicious pumpkin pie from a raw pumpkin. Buy a "sugar pumpkin", also called "sugar pie". Alternatively, you could use butternut squash.

Take your small pumpkin (they're no bigger than a lunch box) and bake it for an hour at 350 degrees. You may first pop off the stem, slice in half from the top to the bottom, scoop out the goo, place foil over the open sides, put on a baking sheet, round part down, and bake like that. You may also just roast the entire pumpkin on a baking sheet, and after it has cooled, cut in half and gently scoop the goo, discard said goo, and scoop the rest of the soft flesh away from the skin. Then puree in a blender, food processor, or with a hand blender. No need to add any liquid.
ATG117 November 20, 2011
fresh pumpkin will definitely , but I have heard many a chef say that, when it comes to pumpkin, they prefer the canned stuff because it has a more reliable flavor, as opposed to fresh pumpkins, which can vary in sweetness.
francesca G. November 20, 2011
You can treat a pumpkin just like any large squash, roast it and scoop out the flesh. Once you have the roasted pumpkin flesh ready to go, puree it and there you have -- better than canned. Here's a video of A&M roasting squash -- should help! Let us know:
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