Perfect Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Avalon’s Perfect Pumpkin Pie recipe has an incredibly silky-smooth and creamy texture.  It is our absolute favorite pie and we make it for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Did you know Pumpkin pie is an egg-based custard? Custards require gentle, low heat and should only be cooked until the egg base is set. If the pumpkin filling is firm when you remove it from the oven, it is over-baked and will lose that smooth texture.

Pumpkin pie slice on a plate with the full pumpkin pie in the background

Bake the pie only long enough for the eggs to be cooked. The pie should still have a little jiggle when you remove it from the oven. If you want to be especially precise then get an instant read thermometer and take the pie out of the oven when the center reads between 170°F.  But never fear, if you do not have a thermometer, you can bake this pie without one, just follow the directions.

Creating an extraordinarily creamy, smooth and rich texture in the pumpkin pie, we use a  greater proportion of yolk in this pie. Furthermore, replacing some of the egg whites with egg yolks contributes to a more tender and creamy texture as well as creates a richness and depth of flavor.

Additionally, there is also a higher proportion of cream to milk in this recipe. But beware…It just won’t turn out the same if you replace all the cream and milk with half and half nor will it be the same if you replace the milk with a non-dairy milk.

Our taste tested #1 favorite pumpkin is the Dickinson variety of pumpkin. This variety of pumpkin has a more assertive pumpkin flavor and a texture more suitable for baking.

If you’re at a loss for finding a Dickinson pumpkin patch, don’t despair. Libby’s uses a Dickinson variety in their pumpkin purée.

Why You Should Pre-Bake the Pie Crust:

Since you will be baking the pie at a fairly low temperature the crust needs to be baked in advance or it simply won’t get completely cooked by the time the custard filling is finished.

Pre-baking (or blind-baking) the crust ensures that both the crust and the filling will be perfectly cooked.  Pre-baking the crust is really quite easy. The trick is to solidify the fats in the dough before you put it in the oven. Once you have the pie dough in the pan, pop the whole thing in the freezer for about 15 minutes before putting it in the oven.

You will also want to line the unbaked crust with parchment and fill it with pie weights. Doing this will hold the shape of the pie dough and prevent the sides of the crust from slumping to the bottom of the pan during baking.

Mixing the Pumpkin Pie in gradients in a stainless steel bowl.

Perfect Pumpkin Pie Recipe:  Ingredients

8 SERVINGS

Crust  (or used pre-made crust)

  • 1 recipe for a single pie crust see our recipe below
  • or use a store-bought crust

Filling

  • 1 large egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 (15-ounce) can Libby’s pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Pumpkin pie on a plate with red wine glasses

Instructions

Prepare the Pie Crust

  • Pre-heat the oven to 375°F
  • Roll the chilled pie dough out on a floured board then position the pie crust in a 9-inch pie plate. Fold the edges of the pie dough under and crimp or press down with a fork. Freeze for 15 minutes. (See note 1)
  • Line the pie crust with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights. (See note 2.)
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes then remove the pie weights and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove the pie crust and set aside while you prepare the filling.
  • **Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F

Filling the crust with the pumpkin pie filling before baking.

Prepare the Filling

  1. Whisk the egg and egg yolks in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk until well blended.
  2. Pour the filling into the pre-baked pie shell and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. The center may jiggle like jello when you shake the pie plate… that’s fine, it will firm up when it is cool. (See note 3)
  3. Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours then cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Perfect Pumpkin Pie Recipe:  Cooking the Pie

  1. Chilling the un-baked pie dough in the freezer prior to baking it will solidify the fat and prevent shrinkage.
  2. It is also necessary to add weights to the pie crust while it is pre-baking. If you skip this step the sides of the crust will fall to the bottom of the pan. You can use any combination of weights such as rice, wheat berries, beans or store bought pie weights.
  3. When the pie is finished cooking the center should wiggle like jello. If it is firm, it is overcooked. If you want to be more accurate with the cooking time then use an instant read thermometer. The perfect time to pull the pie from the oven is when the center reaches 170-175°F. Preventing the filling from over-cooking will ensure that you get a smooth and creamy pumpkin pie.
  4. If the pie crust seems to be browning too quickly while the pie is baking then cover the crust with foil.
  5. If you want to make decorations with the pie dough like the pictures then double the pie dough recipe and you will have enough dough for decorating.
  6. You can make this pumpkin pie 2 to 3 days in advance. Keep it covered and stored in the refrigerator until time to serve.

Pumpkin pie on a dish in front of Christmas decorations.

We hope this perfect pumpkin pie recipe will make its way into the traditions you share each Holiday Season.  And if you are looking for a new kitchen to do all your baking, call 727-262-7920.  We will help you sell and buy a home with a perfect kitchen to meet your needs.