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Ali’s pumpkin pie

My sister has a friend from the USA named Ali who can bake goods which will make you shed whole tears of joy. She was good enough to share with me her most excellent pumpkin pie recipe about 2 years ago when I was asked to contribute something to a thanksgiving dinner party my sister had at her house. Having never made a pumpkin pie, I volunteered and tried out this recipe. I followed it dutifully to the T, but was very unsure going in to bake whether it was going to be a total flop. The mixture was quite runny and didn't look at all like I thought it would, but when it came out of the oven, it was sheer perfection, perfect colour, perfect texture, perfect flavour. Follow this recipe as I did and your pumpkin pie will be a hit! Picture to follow upon next baking.

Pâté Brisée

2 ½ cups white flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup (about 110g) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
About ¼ cup ice water

  • In the bowl of a food processor (using the blade) or mixer (using a dough hook), combine flour, salt and sugar.  Add butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8-10 seconds.
  • With the machine running, add the ice water (a tablespoon or two at a time) in a slow, steady stream.  Mix until the dough holds together, without being sticky or wet.  Do not over mix or the dough will be tough.
  • Divide the dough into two equal balls.  Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in cling film.  Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least one hour.  Dough may be frozen for up to 1 month.  Only one disc will be needed for the pumpkin pie, but do not halve the recipe (it doesn’t come out right).  Freeze the other half or make two pies.

Pumpkin Purée

0.5 – 1 kg pumpkin, seeded and sliced

Steam slices in a steam basket or microwave until soft.  Let cool and scoop flesh from skins.  Run through a food mill if available (if not, strain the filling mixture later in recipe).


1 cup soft brown sugar, packed
1 Tbl corn flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp each ground ginger, cinnamon and cloves
1 ½ cups pumpkin purée
3 large eggs, lightly beaten, plus one for glaze
1 ½ cups evaporated milk
1 Tbl cream

  • Heat oven to 200 C.  In a large bowl, combine sugar, corn flour, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin purée and 3 eggs.  Beat well.  Add evaporated milk and combine. If the pumpkin was not run through a food mill, strain mixture through a medium sieve and discard pumpkin fibers.
  • Between two pieces of cling film, roll pâté brisée into a 30 cm circle.  Fit pastry into a 23 cm glass pie plate.  Trim dough evenly.  If the dough begins to soften, chill for 15 minutes.
  • Make the glaze (this always makes too much glaze for one pie…).  Beat remaining egg and cream.  Brush glaze very lightly on the edges of the pie shell. Fill pie with pumpkin mixture.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 180 C, and continue baking for 30 minutes. If the pie edges become too brown before the pie is cooked, cover edges with a pie ring or loosely cover (edges only) with aluminium foil.

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