Small Town Chick

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The Best Pumpkin Pie – Ever. Period.

For the past 25 years or more, I have been making a Pumpkin Pie recipe from Julia Child. I got it from the Sunday newspaper’s “Parade Magazine”, and I’ve been making it every year since then. My mom doesn’t like pumpkin pie, so she gladly handed that task over to me many years ago. The recipe is not the super-duper easy recipe found on the side of your Libby Pumpkin can. While this recipe is not totally intimidating, it has a few more steps than the can-recipe version, and some folks may not want to bother with – but let me tell you, I think it is 100% worth it!!

This pumpkin pie is not heavy at all.  It is light and so, so flavorful! Ugh, my mouth just waters thinking about it.

Best Pumpkin Pie

A couple of years ago, things were really hectic for me and I was really tired (having gone through chemo and radiation the previous Fall to battle breast cancer) and I figured, “What the heck. How much difference can it make? I’ll just make the recipe on the can.”  Well, yuck! I was so dissappointed, that I vowed to always make the Julia Child’s recipe. It really didn’t require that much more effort and I feel it is soooo worth it!

Julia Child's Pumpkin Pie

So, if you want to kick your Thanksgiving dessert menu up a notch, give this Pumpkin Pie recipe a try! I won’t serve any other Pumpkin Pie at my Thanksgiving table.

Pumpkin Pie – Julia Child

(this recipe makes 2 pies)

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

You will need 2 – 10″ deep-dish pie shells (frozen shells work fine, but if you want to make your own crust, see the pie crust recipe below)


3-1/2 cups pumpkin

1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 tsp salt

3 TBS molasses

3 TBS Bourbon or Rum (you can use 2 tsp rum flavoring if preferred)

3 tsp each:  cinnamon & ginger

1/4 tsp each: nutmeg & cloves

4 egg yolks (keep the whites – see below)

1 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup milk (a few drops more if stiff)

Best Pumpkin Pie

Beat: 5 egg whites (yes, 5) until “frothy” – add a pinch of salt and beat to “soft peaks”

Beat: 1/4 of the whites into the pumpkin mixture

Best Pumpkin Pie

Then fold in the rest of the egg whites & pour into pie shells

Pumpkin Pie

Bake on middle rack of oven for 15 minutes at 450

When crust colors slightly, reduce heat to 375 for 15 minutes – Lower heat if crust browns too much; then

Lower heat to 350 for 15 minutes; then

Turn off oven – leave door ajar and let pie set for 20 to 30 minutes more

Best Pumpkin Pie

Let pies cool completely before covering and refrigerating (or else they will sweat and have little water puddles on top – yuck). But please, do refrigerate them – they have milk and eggs.

If you want to make your own crust, here is an easy and fool-proof recipe I like to use.

Pie Crust Recipe

3/4 cups Crisco (I used butter flavored Crisco sticks)

2-1/4 cups Flour

1/2 cup cold water

Directions:  Cut Crisco into flour until you get “pea-sized” lumps.

Pie Crust Pie Crust Pie Crust

Add cold water and blend with a fork to moisten all of the flour/Crisco mixture. Dough should stick together, but not be sticky to the touch. Add more cold water 1 tsp. at a time if too dry, or add flour 1 TBS at a time if too sticky.

Pie Crust

Refrigerate dough at least 30 minutes. (this dough can also be frozen for use later). After refrigeration, divide dough in half. Roll out dough on lightly-floured board. Fold dough in half and lift over pie pan. Unfold dough and press down into pan. Trim off excess dough over pie pan lip.

Pie Crust

There are numerous ways to finish the edges of your pie crust. I’m out of practice of creating the usual “notched” pie crust, so for the second crust I chose to cut small circles and use them for the edges (I used the cap to my vanilla bottle for the small circles). You can just use a fork and press down on the dough on the pie pan edge.

Pie Crust Pie Crust Pie Crust

I promise you that you will have a tasty pie that is light-as-air and a bit darker in color (because of the molasses) that you will love!

Pumpkin PIe

You may not notice a huge difference when you first try it, but trust me – after eating this pie, other “normal”, can-recipe pies will pale in comparison.

Best Pumpkin Pie

It’s really not that much more work, and, to me,  it is certainly worth it!

As Julia would say, “Bon’ Apetite!”