Meta Given's Pumpkin Pie

November 21, 2011

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

Caramelizing the pumpkin puree means that this is a pie with guts, one that won't just sit there phoning in the pumpkin flavor, burying it under lots of spice. But its genius is much more than that. You don't have to blind bake the crust. You use real milk and cream instead of evaporated milk, with predictably better results. And because you blast it at 400 degrees the whole time, it bakes in 25 minutes -- less than half the time of your average back-of-the-can recipe. From Meta Given's Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking, an underrated gem of a cookbook.

Genius Recipes

Serves: 6


  • 1 3/4 cups canned or fresh cooked pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Unbaked, unpricked, chilled 9-inch pie shell (we like lapadia's simple Himalayan Blackberry Pie crust, also on FOOD52)
In This Recipe


  1. Turn pumpkin into saucepan and stir over direct heat for 10 minutes until somewhat dry and slightly caramelized, stirring frequently. Remove from heat but keep hot.
  2. Mix thoroughly together the sugar, salt, and spices, and stir into hot pumpkin.
  3. Beat eggs, add cream and milk, and beat into pumpkin mixture until smooth.
  4. Pour immediately into unpricked pastry-lined pie pan and bake in a moderately hot oven (400° F) for 25 to 30 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and only an inch circle in the center of the filling remains liquid. Cool thoroughly on cake rack before cutting.
  5. Note: Perfectly baked pumpkin pie has no cracks on its surface. Baking hot filling in a chilled crust at 400° F for 25 to 30 minutes produces a smooth, shiny good textured custard and a well-baked crust free from soaking. But if your pie dish is thicker glass or ceramic instead of metal, or you loathe underdone bottom crust, you might still want to blind bake it a little. Here's what we'd recommend: Blind bake at 350 F lined with parchment and filled with baking beans/weights until sides are dry and firm, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove weights, then bake until completely dry and firm (including bottom crust) and starting to turn golden, 5 to 10 minutes more. Cool thoroughly. Then watch the pie closely as it bakes -- it might be done early, since the cold raw crust isn't there to protect it. And if the edges are starting to look wrinkled while the middle is very jiggly, turn the heat down to 350.

More Great Recipes:
Pie|Pumpkin Pie|American|Milk/Cream|Vegetable|Make Ahead|Serves a Crowd|Thanksgiving|Fall|Vegetarian|Dessert

Reviews (180) Questions (17)

180 Reviews

Rachel V. December 16, 2018
Game changing pumpkin pie filling. Did a standard Pate Brisee crust.
Austin B. November 22, 2018
The Pie was amazing, the whole table agreed it was the best they'd ever had. The referenced pie dough was awful, though. Way too liquidy. Ended up tossing it and throwing together the All Buttah Pie Dough.
Serena D. October 2, 2018
Love the cooking method<br />I have never read a recipe that cooked down or caramelized the pumpkin! <br />Consistency spot on<br />Next time I will use less sugar <br />-I used glass pie plates and did not blind bake the crusts. They were perfect.
Элла Э. November 27, 2017
Not that it's a comment on the original recipe, but I cheated and used Paul Virant's pumpkin butter instead of caramelized pumpkin puree+spices+cream. The pumpkin butter already contains spices, sugar and butter, plus it's well caramelized. Almost what the recipe calls for. I only needed eggs, a cup of plain milk and almost two cups of pumpkin butter. And it was so, so perfect!<br />Using the Genius Recipes feed feels like having a capsule wardrobe, only that it's a capsule recipe collection where you can mix and match and feel good. You inspire me. Thank you.
Anna November 26, 2017
I made this pie this Thanksgiving, and it was so delicious! A crowd pleaser for sure. Even my mother, who really doesn't like pumpkin pie, loved it. I was a little worried because I had never made a pumpkin pie before, but the instructions were pretty easy to follow. As for the baking time, I baked it for about 20 minutes at 400F. Then I reduced the temperature to 350F, covered the top loosely with foil, and baked it for another half an hour approximately. Turned out perfectly.
Bascula November 24, 2017
This was very good!
JoanB November 24, 2017
I made this pie yesterday for the third time. Followed the recipe for the crust. Baked the pie in my convection oven at recommended temp in a metal pan. Placed the pie on a baking sheet that I put in the oven 10 minutes early. Pie took about 38 minutes and was perfect. Crust fully cooked but not overdone. I probably could have removed it from the oven 3 minutes earlier. It was delicious and got many compliments.
cbelako November 23, 2017
Just served this for Thanksgiving, and received tons of compliments. I typically dislike pumpkin pie, but found this to be really velvety and flavorful. <br />I did blind bake my crust, and am glad that I did. I baked it for the suggested tiand temperature, but added another 20 minutes on 350 degrees. Thanks for the awesome recipe,
Shannon November 23, 2017
Thank you for helping me change up my Thanksgiving. Your recipe came out perfect. I doubled recipe and both pies were beautiful. We ate most of one last night.Important to know your oven and its true temperature, also wait 10 minutes after preheat to put in pies.Thanks again for making my Thanksgiving taste so good.
Elizabeth November 22, 2017
Any thoughts on storage? I made earlier this morning to eat tomorrow, and it's been sitting refrigerated, but the top is starting to look a little watery - is refrigerating a better choice?
Anna November 26, 2017
My reply is probably late now, but I made this pie for Thanksgiving too. My pie produced a little bit of water/oil on top too, but I just gently dabbed it away with a paper towel before serving it. Pretty sure the water/oil is all just a natural process -- nothing to worry about. As for storage, refrigerating pumpkin pies is a good idea, I'd say. Store bought pumpkin pies usually can stand at room temperature because they have added preservatives, but homemade should be refrigerated.
Psneyers November 22, 2017
Can this recipe be doubled?
Kristen M. November 22, 2017
Hi there, it can definitely be doubled into two 9-inch pie crusts—is that what you had in mind? Or were you thinking of a larger pie?
Psneyers November 22, 2017
Can it be doubled?
Heidi November 21, 2017
I want to adapt this to make a galette, which requires the filling to be less liquidy. Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks :)
Kristen M. November 22, 2017
Hi Heidi, I'm not sure about this—while a slab pie might work, a luscious custard pie like this one really needs a rim so it can slosh around till its set. You might try one of these much less liquidy ones, and you can even add Meta's step of caramelizing the pumpkin! Just cool again before adding to the crust.
marlena.mac November 18, 2017
Has anyone tried baking this on a baking stone to avoid the undercooked crust issue (thanks Erin McDowell for the tip!)? If so, did it work and how long did it take to bake?
Kristen M. November 22, 2017
I haven't but it's a great idea! I may try on a preheated baking sheet this year myself (no baking stone in our rental).
Leslie November 15, 2017
I keep kosher. Any suggestions for substitutions for the heavy cream? thanks!
Leslie November 15, 2017
I should clarify - the issue with heavy cream is that it is dairy, which we can't serve at Thanksgiving because we're eating turkey :-)
Mulzee November 15, 2017
You could try with coconut milk maybe. It’d probably change the flavor a bit but worth a try perhaps
Leslie November 15, 2017
good idea!
Elizabeth November 22, 2017
I just made this with coconut cream & milk in lieu of the dairy, and it turned out well! I had to cook for about double the time - not sure if that was b/c of the substitution, or just my oven.
Val October 20, 2018
Have you tried Ripple? Made from pea protein and much thicker than other milk subs.
Sue P. October 14, 2017
I made this in a glass pyrex pie dish and while the pumpkin was set after 40 minutes, the crust was raw. The pumpkin had a delicious mouse like texture.
Julie B. December 6, 2016
This is the nostalgic pumpkin pie of my childhood, and my 86 year young mom just made two of them for Thanksgiving dinner this year. She has always made Meta Given's caramelized pumpkin pie and has always had rave reviews from any gathering to which she has contributed the pies. She did have to bake it a little longer at my son's house, and they were delicious!
jeanne_marie November 27, 2016
This pie is def genius. Was a huge hit at the thanksgiving potluck. Used freshly baked pumpkin and the taste was very unique and much more interesting than usual pumpkin pie flavors. Not too sweet, custardy. Also had to bake it longer, for 20 more minutes at 350.
Nicole F. November 25, 2016
I also found the baking time to be inaccurately short -- I baked it for about 45 minutes, and it was still a little too soft (but tasty). I used heaping measurements for the spices and made spiced rum whipped cream to go with it. I'll probably make this again next year because it was great, but will plan to bake it for 45-50 mins (so I don't have to keep checking it every 10 minutes!).
BeetRiot November 21, 2016
The baking time seems a little short. I've made this pie three years in a row now and every year I've had to lower the oven temp at around 25 minutes and bake for another 15+ minutes.
Monica8866 November 22, 2016
Me too.
Kevin D. November 23, 2016
Same here...40 minutes in, center isn't set.
Kristen M. November 24, 2016
This is great to know, thanks for sharing everyone. Kevin, hope your pie set up after a bit longer!
Kevin D. November 24, 2016
I think the total was around 50 minutes, but it looks good...haven't cut into it yet, but we ate the "baby" sized one we made with the extra was awesome....
Kristen M. November 24, 2016
Excellent news.
Austin B. November 22, 2018
Mine was about 35 mins.