Thanksgiving, the quintessential American holiday, may not hold the same meaning for immigrant families, and our menus may look a bit different, but we celebrated it each year just the same. Appetizers were prosciutto with melon, a pasta course of triddo in fresh broth, followed by the turkey crowded next to our favorite Italian side dishes.
A mainstay on the Thanksgiving table, whether we celebrated Thanksgiving at our house, or were guests, was always this pumpkin pie. My mom would the pastry shell frozen to save time but would not compromise on using fresh pumpkin puree she makes from scratch. Instructions for how to do so are at the bottom of the page.
The fresh pumpkin makes filling is so silky smooth and delicate – that mixed with the warm autumn spices makes this a dessert I cannot skip each fall. Not to be dramatic, but this pumpkin pie makes every other one I’ve ever try pale in comparison. I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does.
- 1 1/4 cup fresh pumpkin*
- 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon all purpose flour
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 pre-made frozen 8-inch pastry shell, defrosted to room temperature**
- Combine pumpkin, sugar, salt, all spices and flour in a mixing bowl and add eggs – mix well.
- Add evaporated milk, water and vanilla and mix again.
- Pour into pastry shell.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees.
- Bake for 45 – 50 minutes, or until the center of the pie is set.
- Remove from oven and cool completely. Serve with fresh whipped cream.
*To make the fresh pumpkin: wash and cut a sugar pumpkin or pie pumpkin in half. Remove the seeds with a spoon and cut into 6-8 slices per half, discarding the stem. Place in a large stock pot and cover with water and add a pinch of salt. Cook on medium heat until the pumpkin is tender – about 45 minutes. Remove the pumpkin slices from the water and let cool. When they are cool enough to handle, peel back and discard the skin. You can puree the pumpkin flesh in a blender, or just mash with a fork.
**You may also use a pre-made pie crust, but I find that the pre-made frozen pastry crusts hold up better in the oven without the edges getting to brown. To use a pie crust, carefully cover the edges in aluminum foil so that they don’t burn.