Classic Pumpkin Pie

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When only a perfect slice of pumpkin pie will do.

Classic Pumpkin Pie
Photo: Photographer: Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 30 mins
Servings:
8

The perfect pumpkin pie is warmly spiced with a delicate sweetness. It manages both to herald the holiday season's arrival and bookend it, the satisfying final page on a day of family gathering and celebrations.

And our recipe for Classic Pumpkin Pie does all these things beautifully—literally. We've added some playful pastry work in the form of piecrust cutouts that sit atop clouds of fluffy maple-flavored whipped cream.

While we've made many pumpkin pie recipes in our Test Kitchens over the years—and there certainly are many more to be found on the internet—we think you'll agree this Classic Pumpkin Pie manages to capture everything the seasonal dessert should be: It's simple to make, warmly inviting, and, as any grand dessert should, it stands apart from the basic orange slabs you'll find in most other holiday displays with its beautiful decorations.

Simple Pumpkin Pie Ingredients

To make the filling for this easy pumpkin pie, you will need refrigerated pie crusts, canned pumpkin, evaporated milk, granulated sugar, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract, kosher salt, ground ginger, orange zest, and eggs.

For the pumpkin pie spice leaves, you'll need more pie crust, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and egg, plus heavy whipping cream, as well as flour for the work surface.

For the maple whipped cream, you'll need more vanilla extra, maple syrup, and heavy whipping cream.

How to Make Simple Pumpkin Pie

To make this simple pumpkin pie, first prepare by preheating the oven to 425°F. Unroll the crust, fit into a pie plate, fold the edges under, and crimp.

You can, as we did, get a little creative with the tines of a fork to stamp a bit of a pattern on the crust. You could also use pastry presses, which are silicone mats that you push into raw dough to form decorations on the crust. This is optional, but it adds to the character of your homemade pumpkin pie.

prepared pie crust in a pan
Photographer: Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen

Next, whisk together the canned pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, salt, ginger, and orange zest until smooth.

Our Test Kitchen staff made several pumpkin pie recipes in order to get this one perfect, and they discovered that the pumpkin itself can change color from can to can. Some are brighter; others a bit more toffee colored. So don't fret if your pumpkin color seems different from the last pies you've made. The differences are normal.

pumpkin pie filling
Photographer: Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen

Whisk in the eggs, and then pour the filling into the crust. Smooth the top with a spatula or back of a spoon.

unbaked pumpkin pie on a baking sheet
Photographer: Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen

Bake the pie on a rimmed baking sheet in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F, and bake for about 40 to 45 more minutes.

Remove the pie from the oven, but leave the oven on.

If you wanted to make this pumpkin pie ahead of time, you can bake this pie up to 2 days in advance. Make the cookies, too, but don't whip the cream or decorate until a few hours before dinner.

baked pumpkin pie
Photographer: Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen

How To Make Pumpkin Spice Pie Leaves

Let the pie cool completely, first on the baking sheet, and then on a wire rack. While it's cooling, prepare the pumpkin spice leaves.

Roll out pie crust on a lightly-floured work surface, and use cutters to cut eight leaves. You can use the same cutter for all the leaves, or mix and match with a set.

Place the leaf cutouts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

leaf cutouts
Photographer: Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen

Whisk together egg yolk, cream, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Brush each leaf lightly with the mixture.

Bake at 350°F until golden brown. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

pie crust cut out leaves
Photographer: Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen

Just before serving, prepare the maple whipped cream. Beat cream, maple syrup, and vanilla with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.

maple whipped cream
Photographer: Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen

Transfer the cream to a piping bag (or zipper bag with a corner cut off), and place eight dollops on the pie. Top each one with a leaf.

Can You Use Regular Pumpkins for Pie?

This recipe calls for canned pumpkin, an easier and more consistent alternative to fresh. With extra effort, you can also use fresh pie pumpkins instead after making it into a puree.

What's the Difference Between a Carving Pumpkin and a Pie Pumpkin?

Not all pumpkins are created equal when it comes to transforming them into pies. Carving pumpkins—the type typically used for Halloween jack-o-lanterns—are easier to clean out and reasonably thin and easy to carve.

Pie pumpkins on the other hand are relatively smaller with a more rounded form.

pumpkin seeds and pumpkin
Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Do You Poke Holes in Pumpkin Pie Crust?

Blind baking crust can help prevent a soggy bottom. To use this method, pierce the bottom of the dough with a fork. Line the crust with parchment paper and dried beans or pie weights, and bake it in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Then, remove the parchment paper and weights, and proceed with the rest of the recipe prep.

What Does Pumpkin Pie Taste Like?

This simple pumpkin pie is silky, smooth, and has great depth of flavor from the spices and the orange zest. The leaf cutouts take the tastes, texture, and presentation to the next level.

Editorial contributions by Alesandra Dubin.

Ingredients

Pie

  • ½ (14.1-oz.) pkg. refrigerated piecrusts

  • 1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin

  • 1 ¼ cups evaporated milk (from 1 [12-oz.] can)

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar

  • 1 ¾ tsp. pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • ½ tsp. kosher salt

  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger

  • ¼ tsp. grated orange zest (from 1 orange)

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten

Pumpkin Spice Pie Leaves

  • ½ (14.1-oz.) pkg. refrigerated piecrusts

  • All-purpose flour, for work surface

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 1 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream

  • ¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice

  • tsp. kosher salt

Maple Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Prepare the Pie:Preheat oven to 425°F. Unroll crust, and gently fit into a 9-inch pie plate; fold edges under, and crimp.

  2. Whisk together pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, salt, ginger, and orange zest in a large bowl until smooth. Whisk in eggs until just combined. Pour filling into crust, and smooth top with an offset spatula.

  3. Place Pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F, and bake until crust edges are golden brown and center jiggles slightly, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Do not turn oven off. Let Pie cool on baking sheet 15 minutes; transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely, about 2 hours. Cooled Pie may be covered and stored in refrigerator up to 3 days.

  4. While Pie cools, prepare the Pumpkin Spice Pie Leaves: Roll out piecrust on a lightly floured work surface. Use 2 1/2-inch leaf cutters to cut out 8 leaves, discarding dough scraps. Place leaves on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Whisk together egg yolk, cream, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a small bowl; lightly brush over each leaf. Bake at 350°F until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely, about 15 minutes. Pumpkin Spice Pie Leaves may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

  5. When ready to serve, prepare the Maple Whipped Cream: Beat cream, maple syrup, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer Maple Whipped Cream to a piping bag or ziplock plastic bag with the bottom corner cut off. Pipe 8 dollops of Maple Whipped Cream on Pie, and top each dollop with 1 Pumpkin Spice Pie Leaf. Serve alongside remaining Maple Whipped Cream.

Updated by
Alesandra Dubin
a woman with blonde curly hair smiles at the camera

Alesandra Dubin is an LA-based lifestyle writer and editor. As a veteran digital journalist, she's covered travel, food, parenting, and more for over 15 years. Her work has appeared in Allrecipes, TripSavvy, Town & Country, Business Insider, Marriot Traveler, Today.com, and countless other online and print outlets. She is a writer for Southern Living.

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