Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

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If you weren’t watching, I think I could eat this entire pie myself. I don’t really have a sweet tooth, but I’m absolutely mad for anything made with pumpkin.

This is classic pumpkin pie at its best. It’s pie you can find in the shiny, spinning dessert case at diners all across America.

For a lot of us, it’s also Grandma’s pie.

In fact, this recipe comes from my grandmother’s original 1950s Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook. Call me old fashioned, but, hands down, it’s the cookbook I reach for most often.

The cookbook is actually a binder, and is an old-style cookbook in that it covers everything, literally from soup to nuts.

(All those single-ingredient cookbooks you see these days are a relatively new phenomenon.)

This is definitely a well loved cookbook…

My cookbook is stuffed with all sorts of notes and handwritten recipes, jotted down in scrolling old-lady style on odd calendar pages and envelope backs.

Sometime, I’ll do a longer post on those treasures.

If you aren’t lucky enough to have an heirloom copy kicking around your kitchen, you can snag a reproduction on Amazon.

They started reprinting it in 1998.

Canned Pumpkin vs. Pumpkin Pie Filling

As much as they might sound like it, canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie filling are not the same thing. Read your labels carefully. It’s easy to grab the wrong one.

Canned pumpkin is just what it sounds like: Pure, unadulterated, pureed pumpkin in a can.

Pumpkin pie filling, on the other hand, has all sorts of other stuff in it, including sugar and spices.

I always use the plain pumpkin because I like to be able to control the flavors and sweetness of my pie.

(It sounds like a small thing, until you think about adding sugar to a canned filling that’s already sweet…)

Alrighty, to the ovens!

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

1 pie crust (frozen or homemade)
1 3/4 cups mashed, cooked pumpkin (that’s one 15-oz. can)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cups milk
2 large eggs
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 Tbls. white sugar
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Yields one 9-inch pie

Roll out your crust

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Grab your pie crust. Make it yourself (cut this crust recipe in half because you’ll only need a bottom crust), or use frozen crust in a pinch. Homemade crust is always better in my book. That said, frozen crust makes it unbelievably easy to get a freshly baked pie on the table on a weeknight. Your call.

Roll your dough out on a lightly floured board. Transfer it to your pie plate.

Fold the edges over and crimp them a little to make a nice, fluted edge.

Set your dough-lined pan aside while you make the filling.

Make the pumpkin pie filling

Grab your canned pumpkin.

Measure it out and toss it into a large mixing bowl.

Add the milk and eggs to the pumpkin.

Toss in the salt, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.

Whisk it well to combine thoroughly.

Your goal is a uniform mixture that’s free of lumps of sugar and spice.

If raw eggs don’t bother you, give the filling a little taste. Essentially, this is what your pie is going to taste like. This is the time to toss in a little more ginger or cinnamon (etc.) if you like.

Fill the pie shell

Pour your filling into your lined pie plate.

Your filling should come up about a quarter of an inch from the top of the crust. You want a nice full pie, but you don’t want it to overflow in the oven.

Bake the pie

Slide your pie carefully into your preheated 425-degree oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Keep an eye on it during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

How to test your pumpkin pie for doneness

When your pie is done, it will still be a little jiggly in the center, but the edges will be completely set.

To test this, slide a paring knife into the filling near the crust. If it comes out clean, your pie is done. If the filling sticks to the knife, it needs to bake a little longer. Slide it back into the oven for another few minutes, then test it again.

When it’s done, let your pie cool in the pan on a wire rack. Much like my cheesecakes, my pumpkin pies almost always crack around the edges. That’s just fine. If it bothers you, try putting a pan of water in the oven as the pie bakes. (Or, worst case, bust out a little whip cream to conceal it before serving.)

Allow your pie to cool completely before you dig in.

Slice and serve. Enjoy!

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

Yields One 9-inch pie

This is classic pumpkin pie at its best. It's pie you can find in the shiny, spinning dessert case at diners all across America. For a lot of us, it's also Grandma's pie.

Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

1 pie crust (frozen or homemade)
1 3/4 cups mashed, cooked pumpkin (that's one 15-oz. can)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cups milk
2 large eggs
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 Tbls. white sugar
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Grab your pie crust. Roll your dough out on a lightly floured board. Transfer it to your pie plate.
  3. Fold the edges over and crimp them a little to make a nice, fluted edge. Set your dough-lined pan aside while you make the filling.
  4. Grab your canned pumpkin. Measure it out and toss it into a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add the milk and eggs to the pumpkin.
  6. Toss in the salt, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
  7. Whisk the whole business thoroughly.
  8. Pour your filling into your lined pie plate. Your filling should come up about a quarter of an inch from the top of the crust. You want a nice full pie, but you don't want it to overflow in the oven.
  9. Slide your pie carefully into your preheated 425-degree oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Keep an eye on it during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  10. How to test your pumpkin pie for doneness: When your pie is done, it will still be a little jiggly in the center, but the edges will be completely set. To test this, slide a paring knife into the filling near the crust. If it comes out clean, your pie is done. If the filling sticks to the knife, it needs to bake a little longer. Slide it back into the oven for another few minutes, then test it again.
  11. When it's done, let your pie cool in the pan on a wire rack. Allow your pie to cool completely before you dig in.
  12. Slice and serve. Enjoy!
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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for sharing the pictures of your grandmother's cookbook. They are so lovely to look at. I can just imagine where that book has been and what it has seen. I would love to sit down and look through it, especially to see all of the hand-written notes and recipes. What a treasure!
  2. Honestly, if you really want to ramp up your pumpkin pies, without too much extra effort, use real pumpkin. As in, go buy a food pumpkin, roast it, scoop out the flesh, mash it, use as indicated above, then blend the lot before pouring it into the crust. I mean it. After tasting my first REAL pumpkin pie, any pie made with canned pumpkin tastes like chemicals.
    • I agree. I used canned pumpkin puree versus real roast pumpkin in pancakes or just by itself (with a little honey, thyme and pumpkin seeds - works both as dessert and as appetizer) and there IS a huge difference. @Jessie: Great site mousie :) Keep up the yummy work!
  3. I'm a little late to the party with this comment, but I had to chime in because this post really touched my heart. Just the picture of that old cookbook reminds me of my mother and the dark, spicy pie that resulted from this recipe. It is my favorite, but the recipe had gotten away from me over the years. Now I have it again. Thank you so much.
  4. I had this exact recipe from my mothers old cookbook and it was the only recipe I ever used. I lost it and I am so so so so excited to find it again. This is absolutely the best best pumpkin pie ever. Thank you so much for putting this out.
  5. This is the pie from the cookbook that taught my mother how to cook in the 1950s...and I made this pie growing up and lost the recipe for a long time, too. She is now gone...and it is an honor to find the exact recipe here on the website...and to be able to bake it again. I don't care for the canned milk versions...thanks for posting. It is SO easy....
  6. This is the best pumpkin pie recipe, ever--and it brings me back to childhood every time I taste it. My mother made some small changes to the recipe over the years, and I love it even more. Being a New Englander, I don't like desserts to be extremely sweet, and I like a denser pie. With that said, we skip the white sugar--keeping the dark brown, of course--and reduce the milk to 1 1/2 c. And BTW--the 1956 version of the BC cookbook calls for 3 eggs, so we do that, too. The resulting texture and taste somehow reminds me of Indian Pudding--which isn't a bad thing at all. To be really nostalgic, I usually make "heirloom crust"--i.e. only flour, salt, and a blend of lard and white Crisco for shortening, plus a little ice water. A slightly savory crust offsets the sweeter filling in a wonderful way, IMHO. A standard 9" shallower pie plate leaves a little leftover filling, so I fill a Pyrex custard cup with it and microwave for 2 1/2 minutes to get a "preview" if the regular pie has to wait for a special occasion the next day. LOL. Thanks so much for giving this recipe the recognition it deserves.
  7. Thank you so much for posting the Pumpkin Pie recipe. I was away from home for our family event and I always make the pies (and had none of my recipes with me) I was so excited to find your posting with the exact cookbook and recipe I make each year.
  8. Sorry but the cust looks like crap. I have a 1950s better homes and gardens cookbook and it clearly shows you 1 how to make the crust and 2 how to pinch the crust to stay above the pan and to look pretty.
  9. Hi, I am interested in your cookbook. I'm hoping that everything at your site pertaining to the cookbook is in one cook book. That would be the perfect cookbook for me. A step by step guide would be great but I'm not a novice just like it explained to me on recipes I'm not familiar with. Could you let me know the price and s&h to Mesa, AZ.85212. Looking forward to old and new recipes from "The Hungry Mouse".
  10. Moving and my Betty Crocker cookbook ( EXACTLY LIKE YOURS ) is packed and inaccessible. So happy to find your post. Saved my bacon today when I have to make the pie for tomorrow's dinner. Didn't dare to try and make a different recipe after doing this one for over 50 years! Thanks.
  11. Thank you for this post. This is the first Thanksgiving since my parents died and dinner's all on me. A relative stole most of their things. When I went to get the cookbook out this morning I realized it, too, had been taken. I cried buckets before I found your post. Now we can have my mom's pumpkin pie. Many thanks.
  12. My mother has this cookbook which she got as a wedding gift in 1958. It looks just like this...well loved and MUCH used. That's the cookbook I grew up using. I just now thought I'd see what the chances are I may find the old recipe I remember by googling. I am so thrilled to not only find the recipe, but to also see a photo of the recipe page! Ahhh, it brought back such warm fuzzy feelings. I'm also thrilled that you posted step by step photos of the process. I just now sent the link to my daughter who now lives far, far away, who is wanting to make a pumpkin pie this week.
  13. Thanks for this recipe ! Can't wait to try it.....and thanks so much for the link to buy that cook book..I'm sooo excited for its arrival......:)
  14. Thank goodness for you! I left my cookbook at home as did my daughter. This is the only pumpkin pie recipe I've been using for 45 years and still need the cookbook! Happy Thanksgiving!!

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