Pumpkin Custard Pie

Next week is Thanksgiving (for us here in Canada) and while my family and I don't usually get too into celebrating this holiday, I know that some people go nuts for it, like I go nuts for Christmas. And while holidays are not usually the time to stray away from the classics, I think this pie is a great alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie!

Don't go thinking this is some sort of wild and crazy take on a pumpkin pie, though. This tastes almost exactly like a pumpkin pie, but the texture is creamier, smoother, and not so stodgy and dense. That's my problem with pumpkin pies. The amount of pumpkin purée versus everything else is just too high, so the filling is basically just pumpkin purée. I love custards (as evidenced by the crazy amount of custards I have on this blog, in one form or another), so to make a pumpkin custard pie was just a no-brainer. The flavour isn't reduced or "watered down" by the custard, but you now have a silky smooth texture.

For any long term fans of this blog (are there any, apart from my Mom and Dad?), you will recognize this pie from two years ago. I won't even link back to it because the photos are just awful and I'd rather not have people going into my way way back archives and discovering how bad this blog used to be. But in any case, this is the first repeat recipe I've had but I can't help it! This pie is just too good and I will choose it over a traditional pumpkin pie always. It needs to be seen! 

So for all my fellow Canadians, I hope you have your menus planned out for next week and you have a wonderful holiday weekend with your family! For all my American readers, save this one for, what, November? Is that when yours is? It's close to Christmas I think. Anyways, save it for then. Or just make it now, I won't judge.

Pumpkin Custard Pie

Pie Dough

175 g pastry flour
50 g all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
113 g unsalted butter, freezer cold, cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, freezer cold
57 g ice-cold water
1 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Pumpkin Creme Anglaise Filling

1 Sugar Pie pumpkin, about 2 1/4 pounds
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
400 g pumpkin puree

165 g whole milk
115 g heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon ground/fresh grated ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
134 g packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Maple Molasses Roasted Pecans
Recipe from Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon molasses
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
8 ounces (225 g) pecan halves
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Caramelized Hazelnuts

375 g hazelnuts
140 g granulated sugar
45 g water

Cinnamon and Vanilla Chantilly

200 g heavy cream
20 g icing sugar
2 g vanilla paste
1/8th teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the pie crust, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in an electric mixer. Add the cold butter and shortening and mix on low speed until the mixture look shaggy and the pieces of butter are slightly smaller than peas. Stop the mixer and check the size of the butter, sifting through the mixture with your hands. If you find bigger chunks, smear them between your fingers.

Put the ice-cold water and vinegar into a measuring cup and stir to combine. Add the water-vinegar  to the flour-fat mixture on low speed and mix briefly with a few rotations of the paddle, but do not let the dough come together.

Turn off the mixture and scrape the sides and bottom of the mixer to make sure there are no pockets of dry ingredients. Squeeze a small amount of dough in your hand. The dough should come together in a clump. If it’s too dry, add a little more water a few teaspoons at a time. 

Remove the dough from the mixer, shape into a flat circle, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Unwrap the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8th inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie tin and gently press the dough into the sides of the pan. Trim the excess dough to a 3/4th to 1 inch overhang. Fold the overhand up and over towards the inside of the pan and use your hands to gently press on the dough all around the circumference to form a neat pastry rim about 1/2 inch thick. Create your desired border. Use the trimmed dough to create pastry leaves or whatever decoration you wish.

Chill the dough for 15 to 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line the pastry-lined pie tin with a piece of parchment and fill it with dried beans, rice, or pie weights. Bake until the bottom of the dough is baked through but not browned, 55 to 60 minutes. 

Remove the pie shell from the oven and remove the parchment, beans, rice, or pie weights. Bake the shell for a further 15 minutes to create an even golden brown colour. Remove the pie shell from the oven and let cool completely.

For the filling, if you are roasting your own pumpkin (which I highly recommend), preheat your oven to 400 F. Use a large heavy knife to quarter the pumpkin, then scrape out and discard all the fibers and seeds. Cut the pumpkin quarters in half crosswise to yield 8 pieces of pumpkin. Put the pumpkin pieces in a baking dish and toss with oil and salt. Arrange the pieces rind sides down, cover the pan with foil, and use the tip of a knife to cut a few small steam vents in the foil. Put the pan in the oven and roast until the pumpkin feels quite tender when poked with the tip of a paring knife, about an hour. Remove the foil and continue to roast until the pumpkin is very soft, 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool completely. Use a paring knife to peel off and discard the skins. Put the pumpkin flesh in a container of a blender and puree until smooth. You should have about 400 g of pumpkin puree. Set aside.

Reduce the oven to 300 F.

Combine the milk and cream in a heavy saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and place the scrapings and pod in the milk. In a separate bowl, add the yolks, spices, salt, and brown sugar. Whisk until slightly paler in color. Put the saucepan over medium heat and bring just to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and allow to steep for 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove the lid from the saucepan and bring back to just a boil. Add a ladle of the hot milk mixture to the yolks, whisking vigorously. Add the warmed yolk mixture back to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately pour the creme anglaise through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl.

Pour the creme anglaise into the blender (that still has the pumpkin puree in it). Add the whole eggs and the vanilla extract. Blend on high speed for 1 full minute. Turn off the blender and use a spatula to scrape down the sides and the bottom to make sure everything is mixed enough. Blend for a few more seconds if necessary.

Leave the pumpkin custard in the blender and allow the mixture to rest and allow any bubbles to rise to the top, about 15 minutes. Use a small ladle to skim off and discard any bubbles.

Pour the pumpkin filling into the pastry shell and transfer it to the oven. Bake until the custard and set, about 1 hour. When the pie is done, the custard should jiggle just slightly in the center when you shake the pan gently.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving.

While the pie is cooling, make the pecans. Increase the oven temperature to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment sprayed with vegetable oil spray or use a silicon baking mat.

Combine the honey, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla extract, and salt in a bowl. Add the pecans and toss to combine well. Spread the pecans in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring the nuts with a rubber spatula halfway through the baking time. Remove the pecans from the oven and pour them into the bowl. Stir in the melted butter, then spread the pecans on a clean baking sheet lined with parchment to cool.

For the caramelized hazelnuts, preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the hazelnut on a parchment lined sheet pan and roast until golden brown and fragrant, about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes. The hazelnuts need to be warm and de-skinned when they are added to the caramel.

While the hazelnuts are roasting, combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and place over low heat to dissolve the sugar. Increase the heat to high and cook the syrup to 116 C. Add the warm hazelnuts now and stir to coat them evenly. 

If you wish to have some candied hazelnuts, remove some when they are white and sandy-looking in the pot, before they start to caramelize. Continue cooking the hazelnuts and syrup until they are a deep amber colour and no sandy white bits remain. Spread onto a silpat lined baking sheet to cool completely. Roughly chop around 150 g of hazelnuts into pieces the size of sunflower seeds. Reserve in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.

For the cinnamon and vanilla chantilly, combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Whip until stiff peaks form, then transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small circular tip. Pipe your desired design onto the completely cooled pie, then add some hazelnuts, pecans, and any pastry leaves or decorations you may have made.


  1. I love a pumpkin pie filled with tons of pumpkin too! This looks lovely. Happy (early) Thanksgiving!

  2. it's weird for me to think about thanksgiving now; everyone in the us is into halloween at the moment, and our thanksgiving isn't until the last thursday in november! but i'm already thinking about what to make for dessert, and this is definitely going into the running (the caramelized hazelnuts are a huge part of that).

    1. It's weird for me to think of Thanksgiving coming after Halloween! Once Halloween is done, it's all about Christmas for me. I think you guys in the States go crazy all-out for your holidays. Everyone seems to give 110% for every holiday, all the time. Or maybe that's just what I see from Pinterest…

  3. For what it's worth, having revisited your archives from first post to now just a few weeks ago, I couldn't say that your blog has ever been bad and in fact your growth has been so inspiring. Especially for someone striving to work as a pastry chef as well. I do realise that you're probably referring to just your old photos that you aren't so happy with now, but I thought I should tell you that as well. Beautiful blog, the first one I check out of all the blogs I follow :)

    1. Thank you so much, that means the world to me!! I guess it's like showing people your elementary or high school photos - partly embarrassing but also good to see how far you've come!

    2. You're welcome! I know what you mean, while I don't have a blog, I do keep a sort of personal recipe scrapbook with my photos attached to each recipe and it's cool to see that improvement and the sort of new things I'll make that I never would seen myself doing before. Although my photos are a bit crap even now to show anyone anyway!

      P.S.- Coming from England, I'm so grateful your recipes are in grams!

  4. Aahh this looks amazing! I have never made pumpkin pie as around this part of the world it is strange to think of having a thanksgiving at all - the only time we see it is in books or TV shows! Pumpkin in baking is just as rare, but I love the sound of a lower-ratio pumpkin tart that it is a bit more custardy, and your maple roasted peanuts and vanilla chantilly look like the perfect finishing touch - I think I might have to give pumpkin a chance. (And thank you for giving an option of roasting your own pumpkin, as we can't even buy pumpkin puree in the shops here) <3

    1. Well, you can still make a pumpkin pie without having Thanksgiving! I always thought that it was more suited to being an autumn pie rather than a specially Thanksgiving desert. And the pecans - oh my gosh, it makes more than you need because you will definitely be munching and snacking on them constantly! So good!

  5. I've never tried pumpkin pie! I see it everywhere around this time of year and pumpkins and squashes are becoming more and more popular and readily available in the UK.

    This looks fantastic, I've recently just been caramelising nuts myself, cobnuts are an English nut that tastes a lot like a hazelnut, but sweeter. They have a very short season of around 8 weeks and they're picked green.

    The decorations to the pie and the pumpkin creme anglaise sounds fantastic. Have a glorious thanksgiving.

    1. Im so surprised at the amount of people that have never tried pumpkin pie! I mean, I know Thanksgiving is a North American tradition, but I would have thought that pumpkin pie would have crossed the borders and oceans a little bit. It's definitely time to bring pumpkin pie to the rest of the world!

  6. What a great idea, to use a custard instead of a traditional filling! I can totally see how that would be better. Love the way you decorated it with the nuts too, so pretty :)

    1. Thanks! I just love custard so much so I try to incorporate it into anything I can! Most of the time, I just want to eat custard but I can't jut have every post being a different custard recipe (although there are 29 recipes involving custard on this blog… and counting)