Updated: Nov 25, 2021
It’s fall/autumn in most parts of the world, and the season has been romanticized to the point where people like me who live in the tropics start to believe that we have fall season too!
But anyway, the lack of crunchy red-orange leaves under our shoes, and the lack of crisp chilly weather outside should not be a reason to not celebrate fall staple foods.
And one of the most popular, dare I say, 'food groups' associated with fall are pies. Pies of all kinds. Because, technically it’s the best time of the year to make pies, it’s cold enough outside to handle a lot of butter that needs to stay firm.
I’ve made a few pies in my time, but I’m rarely confident with what I end up with. This is why you barely see pie recipes on the blog. That, and going back to what I said earlier, it’s got to be cold enough outside for me to handle butter and pie dough.
But, all that aside, this blog post has a recipe for pumpkin pie, eggless pumpkin pie, to be exact. Pumpkin pie is all the rage in places like the US, and I see it all over social media. But, weirdly, it hasn’t garnered a lot of attention and hype in India. Pumpkin desserts are yet to get a spotlight on them in India.
But, pumpkin pie is so easy to make. It’s got two components—pie dough and pumpkin filling. The pumpkin filling is essentially a baked custard, and it’s so creamy, and it melts in the mouth; and when paired with the crisp and buttery pie crust, it’s a match made in heaven.
I also wanted to make my pumpkin pie recipe eggless, because it's still the festive season here, and a lot of people don’t consume eggs during this time. Many don’t consume eggs at all, or are not comfortable using them for baking.
Whatever the reason may be, this eggless pumpkin pie could honestly compete with the original, it’s just as good, if not better.
Let’s talk pie dough
The pie crust for this eggless pumpkin pie is made using a classic butter-based pie dough.
If you have any experience with pie making, you’d know that pie dough needs cold, firm butter. The cold butter is cut into the flour which allows the pie crust to get flakey and crispy when baked.
It’s very important that your butter and the pie dough stay cold, so we use cold water to bind the dough. A little bit of white vinegar also goes into the dough to ensure that it stays tender.
To make the pie dough, you’ll need all-purpose flour, a bit of salt, and caster sugar. And, then you’re going to use your hands to cut the cold butter into it.
When it comes to the kitchen, especially in baking, it’s very important to prepare ahead of time, it’s called ‘mise en place’ where you have all of your ingredients measured out and ready to be used.
This system becomes all the more important when it comes to things like pie dough because it is time and weather sensitive. So, what I like to do is, cut up my butter into small, teaspoon-sized cubes, and I place them in the freezer for about 10 minutes while I prepare all of the other ingredients.
I then use my hands to press the butter cubes into the flour, the butter should be pliable but not melting in your hands. It is completely okay if you see bigger chunks of butter in your flour, that just means you’re gonna get a more flakey crust.
The mealier or finer your dough looks, the tighter the crust will be.
I then trail in the cold water and vinegar bit-by-bit until the dough comes together. It is very very important that you do not knead the dough, any form of gluten development means that the pie crust will be tough to eat.
I also like to give additional flakiness to the pie dough by folding it over itself twice, before letting it chill in the refrigerator for 25-30 minutes.
Then, we need to roll out the chilled pie dough into a ½ inch thick sheet, which will go into a 9-inch pie dish.
Now, comes another essential bit, par-baking the pie crust.
Pumpkin pie is a custard pie, meaning the filling will be liquid when it goes into the oven. If you add the liquidy filling over a raw pie crust, you could end up with a soggy crust.
This is why you'll need to par-bake your pie crust before adding the filling to it.
You will need something to hold the crust down while it bakes, ensuring it doesn’t bubble up. You might have noticed people using pie weights or raw legumes for this purpose.
But, one of the easiest and cost-effective ways is to lay a large piece of parchment over the pie crust, followed by a second pie tray or a cake tin that snugly fits inside the pie dish. This’ll ensure the crust doesn’t slide or bubble up.
With the pie dough covered, now it’s time to move to the pumpkin pie filling; and the famous pumpkin spice.
Let’s talk pumpkin pie filling
I’ve already mentioned how pumpkin pie is a custard pie, and traditionally custard is made using milk/cream, sugar, and eggs to thicken it.
And traditional pumpkin pie filling would call for pumpkin purée, cream/milk, eggs, sugar, and pumpkin spice.
But, since we are making an eggless pumpkin pie, we won’t be using eggs (obviously). Instead, the thickening agent used is cornstarch.
I’ve used pumpkin purée, condensed milk, cornstarch, pumpkin spice, vanilla extract, and a tiny bit of lemon zest for my pumpkin pie filling.
The lemon zest adds a bit of freshness that cuts through the spices and the heaviness of the pie.
Pumpkin purée isn’t a thing that’s easily available in stores here, in canned forms. But, it’s incredibly easy to make at home, and that way you won’t have any preservatives too.
You’ll just need to take your required amount of pumpkin, peel it and scoop out the flesh and seeds, cut it into cubes. You need to boil or pressure cook the pumpkin until it’s fork-tender and then blend it until it’s smooth. It can also be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 2 days.
Lastly, let’s talk about pumpkin spice. It’s nothing complicated or exotic, it’s a blend of widely available spices. It’s a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. You can also add allspice, but it’s optional.
You whisk all of the ingredients up and pour it into your par-baked crust, and then the pumpkin pie bakes until the custard filling is just set. It should still jiggle slightly in the center when you remove it from the oven.
What equipment do you need?
The primary thing that you need for this recipe is a 9-inch pie dish. The 9 inches here refer to the inner rim’s diameter. The pie dish should also be at least 2-inches deep.
Apart from that, you’ll need one mixing bowl, a wire whisk, and a silicone spatula.
To par-bake the crust, you’ll need some parchment paper, a second pie dish, or cake tin that snugly fits inside your main pie dish.
The recipe for eggless pumpkin pie
Yields: One 9-inch pie (6-7 servings)
Time: 2 hours
200 grams (1 cup) cold butter, cubed
320 grams (2 ½ cups) all-purpose flour
4 grams (1 teaspoon) fine table salt
10 grams (2 ½ teaspoons) caster sugar
110-125 grams (approx. ½ cup) cold water
10 grams (2 teaspoons) white vinegar
Pumpkin pie filling:
450 grams (2 cups) pumpkin purée
350 grams (1 ¼ cup) condensed milk
Pumpkin pie spice (3 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon cloves powder, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ginger)
4 grams (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
4 grams (1 teaspoon) salt
¼ teaspoon lemon zest
45 grams (5 tablespoons) cornstarch
Whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
Add the cold, cubed butter and use your hands to press the butter into the flour.
You should be able to see a few pieces of butter.
Mix the cold water and vinegar, and trail it into the dough bit by bit while mixing with your hands.
The moment the dough comes together, stop adding water. Bring it together, and put it over a sheet of plastic wrap.
Fold the dough over itself twice, and flatten it slightly.
Tightly wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 25-30 minutes.
Heavily butter a 9-inch pie dish, and preheat the oven to 220°C.
Flour the work surface, and roll out the chilled pie dough into ½ inch thickness.
Lift the sheet of pie dough carefully and place it in the prepared pie dish.
Press it down into the crevices using your fingers, trim off the excess. The remaining dough can be refrigerated and used for another pie (click here for the recipe for apple galette).
Cut a piece of parchment paper that’s bigger than the pie dish, and place it over the pie dough. Place another pie dish or cake tin, and snugly fit it above the paper.
Par-bake the pie crust at 220°C for 16-18 minutes.
Remove the empty tin, and parchment, let the pie crust cool for 10-15 minutes.
Filling & baking:
Preheat the oven to 190°C.
To a mixing bowl, add the pumpkin purée and condensed milk. Whisk until combined.
Add the spices, vanilla extract, and salt. Whisk well, and add the lemon zest.
Lastly, add the cornstarch, and whisk really well until no lumps are visible.
Pour the pumpkin pie filling into the par-baked crust.
Tap it gently on the counter to remove the bubbles.
Bake the pumpkin pie at 190°C for 35-40 minutes until the center is barely set, it should still be slightly jiggly when you remove it from the oven.
Let the pie cool at room temperature for 15 minutes, and then refrigerate for 2-3 hours or overnight until fully set and cold.
Top the pie with whipped cream before serving.
The pie can be stored in the pie dish itself, cover the top with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 3-4 days.
Let me know your thoughts, doubts, or anything you want to ask in the comments. If you try this recipe or any of my recipes, please share your experiences with me on Instagram or Facebook! Or leave a comment!