Pumpkin Pie

Patricia Lousada’s American Sampler (1985) was another book in the Sainsbury’s cookbook series that inspired family meals at Gale (see Greek Walnut Cake). It contains the definitive pumpkin pie recipe, from which I have not deviated at all over the years. The proportions of flour and butter look strange, being greater than the usual 2:1 ratio for shortcrust pastry, but the recipe works because the double cream enriches the pastry mix. Pumpkin pulp can be bought in cans in America – and in specialist shops here now – but it is simple to make your own: cut a small pumpkin into wedges, scraping out the seedy, fibrous centre, and wrap each wedge in foil. Bake in a hot oven (180 fan) for 50 minutes or until really soft, then scoop out the cooked pulp and allow to cool before making the tart filling.

Serves 8, using a 24cm tart tin


175g flour
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
75g unsalted butter, diced
1 egg yolk (save the white – see below)
3-4 tbsp double cream

450g pumpkin pulp
2 large eggs or 3 smaller
75g soft brown sugar
4 tbsp golden syrup
225 ml whipping or double cream
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp salt


Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together and rub in the butter, by hand or in a food processor. Stir in the sugar and then the egg yolk and cream until the pastry binds together. Form into a pat on a floured surface (try to avoid handling the pastry too much), cover with cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least half an hour, ideally longer.

Grease the tart tin, then roll out the pastry and line the tin. Leave to rest in the fridge again if you have time. Preheat the oven to 160C (fan). Scrunch up some baking parchment, open it out, lay it over the pastry and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 15 minutes, then remove the parchment and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes, uncovered. (To ensure a crisp, sealed base, brush the pastry with egg white – saved from the egg yolk – before the second blind bake.) Remove and allow to cool.

Whizz all the filling ingredients in a food processor until thoroughly combined. Pour into the pie case and bake in a preheated oven (170C fan) for 40 minutes, until the filling has just set and darkened to a nutty brown. Allow to cool and firm up before serving at room temperature.

Published by motherrach

Alongside this blog, which records tried and tested family favourites, I’m documenting on Instagram (mother_rach_cooks) my efforts in repertoire expansion.

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