How to make homemade pumpkin pie from a fresh pumpkin

Thanksgiving Pumpkin, Autumn 2007, © Copyright 2007 Jade Leone Blackwater

This Thanksgiving I had the opportunity to make pumpkin pie from an actual pumpkin for the first time ever.  We grew several varieties of pumpkins in our garden this year, including Sugar pie pumpkins (which are smaller, and sweeter).

I remember how proud I felt the first time I made pumpkin pie “from scratch” using canned pumpkin and canned condensed milk.  At the time, the concept of baking a pumpkin pie with an actual pumpkin seemed completely intangible – however appealing.

I’ve been teaching myself to cook for about 10 years, and I feel good about slowly navigating away from prepared foods and becoming comfortable with cooking in ways that our ancestors from just a few generations back may well have taken for granted.

Making your own pumpkin pie from scratch using a fresh pumpkin is WAY easier than it sounds, and it is loads of fun too.  Below are some simple steps to follow with pictures from my Thanksgiving last month.  (Note: this is a photo-heavy post.  If you have trouble loading the page, please let me know).

Homemade Pumpkin Pie from Fresh Pumpkin

Recipe

The Pumpkin Pie Recipe I used comes from Rebecca Wood’s Kitchen Dakini (an fantastic site – give yourself time to browse).

Wood also includes an excellent article Pumpkin Pie from Scratch, and includes a recipe for Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, as well as a simple crust recipe accompanying her Pumpkin Pie recipe.

Directions

1.  Select your pumpkin

Select a fresh pumpkin for your pie.

Thanksgiving Pumpkin with Hand to Scale, Autumn 2007, © Copyright 2007 Jade Leone Blackwater

Ours was about 10 inches (25.4 centimeters) in diameter.  In the first picture of this post you can see where this pumpkin grew – on a little dish in the garden next to the bird bath where I like to put seeds and crumbs of bread for the birds.

Thanksgiving Pumpkin on Stove, Autumn 2007, © Copyright 2007 Jade Leone Blackwater

(Pay no attention to the time on the oven – we have a policy in our house that all clocks must never show the actual time).

2.  Prepare your pumpkin

Give your pumpkin a good wash (especially if you picked it at the grocery store).  Using a serrated knife (and possibly a strong friend), slice your pumpkin in half.

Thanksgiving Pumpkin First Cut, Autumn 2007, © Copyright 2007 Jade Leone Blackwater

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Second Cut, Autumn 2007, © Copyright 2007 Jade Leone Blackwater

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Third Cut, Autumn 2007, © Copyright 2007 Jade Leone Blackwater

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Split Open, Autumn 2007, © Copyright 2007 Jade Leone Blackwater

Thanksgiving Pumpkin with Seeds, Autumn 2007, © Copyright 2007 Jade Leone Blackwater

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Seeds Removed, Autumn 2007, © Copyright 2007 Jade Leone Blackwater

Scoop out the seeds and stringers and set that part aside (for roasted pumpkin seeds).

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Seeds for Roasting, Autumn 2007, © Copyright 2007 Jade Leone Blackwater

3.  Bake your pumpkin

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cooked Halves, Autumn 2007, © Copyright 2007 Jade Leone Blackwater

I baked mine shell-side down for about an hour at 350 F, although many recipes suggest baking them shell-side-up.  I don’t think it mattered – the pumpkin was still nice and hot and squishy when I was done.  This picture shows them flipped shell-side-up: I pushed on the shell so you can see how soft it became.

4.  Scoop out your pumpkin

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Scooped Out, Autumn 2007, © Copyright 2007 Jade Leone Blackwater

I scooped out the pumpkin with my icecream scoop.  It rolled right out like butter.  I know that many recipes suggest you blend the pumpkin with a food processor at this point.  I don’t own one (and the blender died in a margarita adventure this summer), but I don’t think it mattered – the pumpkin was as soft and smooth as if it had come right out of that can!

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Compost, Autumn 2007, © Copyright 2007 Jade Leone Blackwater

(Remember to compost the parts of the pumpkin you won’t use.  If you don’t compost and want to learn how, check back in the Spring – I’ll be posting easy-to-use compost information here at AppleJade).

5. Prepare your crust and your pie filling per the recipe directions

Crust: I stuck with my usual pie crust recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book 12th ed. (but substituting in one half-cup of whole wheat flour for my own personal taste).

Filling: As mentioned above, I used Rebecca Wood’s Kitchen Dakini recipe for Pumpkin Pie.  During my initial search for pumpkin pie recipes online, I found that some folks needed more sugar in their pies than their recipes suggest.  Since I’m pretty sure my pumpkin was just a small Howden, and not an actual Sugar pie pumpkin (our husky got to the Sugar pies first), I added 3/4 cup of brown sugar to my recipe – the sweetness was just right.

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie Filling, Autumn 2007, © Copyright 2007 Jade Leone Blackwater

I also did not use quite as much cream as the recipe requested.  If you’ve made pumpkin pie using canned components, it’s easy to gauge by sight whether the consistency is correct.  (By the way: fresh, heavy cream is sometimes called “whipping cream” – thanks Mom for the last minute help on that one!)

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie Prepared from Scratch, Autumn 2007, © Copyright 2007 Jade Leone Blackwater

6. Bake and Party

Pop your pie in the oven and bake as directed.***

***Greetings from 2012: over the years many have asked me about oven baking temperatures. Here is the info you need:

The recipe I used for my pumpkin pie blog post at AppleJade comes from Rebecca Wood, Kitchen Daikini: http://www.rwood.com/Recipes/Pumpkin_Pie.htm

Rebecca instructs us to:

a) preheat the oven to 350 F while we make the crust and bake our fresh, halved pumpkin

b) increase the temperature to 425 F just before we mix the pie filling

c) bake the pie at 425 F for the first 15 minutes of baking

d) reduce the temperature to 350 F for the remaining 45 minutes of baking, or until pie is done.

For European ovens, I think these temperatures are:

350 F = 180 C = Gas #4

425 F = 220 C = Gas #7

Remember to cool completely, and for a delicious complement, whip up what’s left of your fresh cream with some confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract.

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie Baked from Scratch, Autumn 2007, © Copyright 2007 Jade Leone Blackwater

Meanwhile, enjoy your holiday, and remember to give thanks (regardless of the celebration) for the fruit of the Earth, the skill of your hands, and the power at your fingertips with an in-home stove and oven.  I might think I’m pretty cool for making a fresh pumpkin pie, but it’s not like I had to gather kindling, start a fire, and keep it stoked while my pie was baking, nor did I have to feed, muck, and milk the cow whose cream blessed my meal.

I think I’ll save that for next Thanksgiving…

Thanksgiving Pumpkin, Summer 2007, © Copyright 2007 Jade Leone Blackwater

23 Responses

  1. [...] seen the pumpkins, now see the pumpkin pie!  I’ve posted directions and pictures for how to make a pumpkin pie using a fresh garden [...]

  2. Pumpkin pie is my all-time fav. dessert. Yours looks amazing! They are so delish made from fresh pumpkin, no comparison really, to canned.

    GREAT Post!!!! I want a piece now, please!!!! ;)

  3. Geraldine, thanks – I’m glad you stopped by! It really was amazing to make the pie from fresh pumpkin. I swear it tasted like summer! :D (*Sending you a virtual slice of pie*)

  4. Yummy, yummy, yummy! I have the most amazing recipe for pumpkin pie, where you fry the pumpkin in butter before adding the other ingredients. It’s amazing, yummy stuff! I can’t wait until Christmas so I can make some with real pumpkin!

  5. SpyScribbler, that sounds delicious – I must try that next! :D

  6. JLB, I have been meaning to leave a comment on your new blog and am just now getting around to it. I like this blog best of all! I like the “mix” you have going here.

    BTW….the photo sequence was kinda funny when you were cutting the pumpkin. First you put the knife in and I assume it was hard to cut because the arms cutting the pumpkin changed to big, hairy ones. :)

  7. LOL….good one C!!! Very observant and having done this ‘procedure’ more than once, I know it is a job for BIG HAIRY ARMS. ;)

    JL, thanks for the virtual slice, Im enjoying it now with some freshly brewed coffee, yummmm….

  8. Caroline, I’m so glad that you stopped by. AppleJade is a lot of fun to write – I get to discuss all the subjects that never fit at the other two blogs.

    Geraldine, Indeed – I know how to ask for help when I need it! :D

  9. [...] Write me or a leave a comment, and I’ll post some delicious ideas!  OR: check out my “Homemade Pumpkin Pie from Scratch” [...]

  10. waw… is it have to use special flavour?

  11. [...] :::like what Jade Makes::: [...]

  12. [...] How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Pie from a Fresh Pumpkin [...]

  13. Thank you for having this website. It has been an inspiration to me and my pumpkin pie from a sugar pumpkin was such a hit (completely eaten in less than 24 hours) a month ago, that I will be making them from this method from here on out! Also, I may try my hand at growing these as you have so beautifully demonstrated in your pictures.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  14. awesome! Love the zen cooking. And the wonderous posts and musings. Perfect timing for giving thanks at Thanksgiving. Hope your holidays are grand.

  15. Hi Bill – thanks for stopping by. Making pumpkin pie from home-grown pumpkins is among my favorite memories from life in Pennsylvania. Best wishes to you and yours!

    Cheers,
    JLB

  16. bake the pumkin at hwat temp????

  17. This will be my first homemade pumpkin pie from a fresh pumpkin. I am very excited to use your method. I have to say very informative. Happy holidays.

    Jackie

  18. This is as easy as pumpkin pie

  19. yesterday my husband and i made two home made pumpkin pies from fresh sweet pumpkins . . . . . . we did it a whole different way we cut the pumpkin shaved it cut it into pieces and boiled it wit all the spices until very soft added all the ingredients and blende it in the blender to pureed it then everything the way you did it

  20. Hi,
    This recipe is perfect for me living in Denmark, where you can´t buy the pumpkin filling canned. So thanks!
    However, I wondered how much you heated the oven?
    Have a great day!

    -Johanne

  21. Thank you to everyone who visits and enjoys this blog post each year. By popular demand, I’ve posted oven temperature details above, and here they are again:
    The recipe I used for my pumpkin pie blog post at AppleJade comes from Rebecca Wood, Kitchen Daikini:

    http://www.rwood.com/Recipes/Pumpkin_Pie.htm

    Rebecca instructs us to:

    a) preheat the oven to 350 F while we make the crust and bake our fresh, halved pumpkin
    b) increase the temperature to 425 F just before we mix the pie filling
    c) bake the pie at 425 F for the first 15 minutes of baking
    d) reduce the temperature to 350 F for the remaining 45 minutes of baking, or until pie is done.

    For European ovens, I think these temperatures are:

    350 F = 180 C = Gas #4
    425 F = 220 C = Gas #7

    I hope this helps to guide your pie making. Happy baking!

  22. Very intresting and quite useful my pumpkin pie was amazing thanks to this recipie

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