The Paula Deen pumpkin pie is a holiday essential.
A smooth and creamy pumpkin filling is nestled in a crisp and flaky crust and kissed with whipped cream, for good measure. It doesn’t get any better.
I love how the filling is flavored with cream cheese, sugar, and spices.
The combination creates such a unique flavor that never fails to tantalize my taste buds.
I loved it as a kid, and I love it even more now as an adult. Here’s hoping you will, too. So without further ado, here’s the recipe, from my kitchen to yours.
How to Make Pumpkin Pie
This recipe is super simple, and you can even prep a few elements ahead. That way, you can easily throw it together on the big day.
Here’s the highlights:
1. Prepare the crust.
Roll a store-bought, refrigerated pie crust about 12 inches in diameter.
Then, fit the dough into the crust and crimp or decorate the edges according to your preference. Freeze it for an hour to prevent it from shrinking.
Next, you’ll need to blind-bake the crust. Check out my post on how to blind bake a pie crust for a detailed description with step-by-step instructions.
2. Prepare the filling.
Gently beat together the cream cheese, pumpkin puree, sugar, salt, eggs, half-and-half, and melted butter until you get a smooth and creamy mixture.
At this point, you could refrigerate the crust and filling, then assemble it on the day. Or bake and enjoy asap!
Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 50 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the edges are dry, but the middle is still a bit jiggly.
Let the pie cool completely at room temperature, about 2 hours. You can serve it right then, or refrigerate it for several hours.
Serve with whipped cream, and enjoy!
How Do You Thicken a Pumpkin Pie
The filling in this pie contains cream cheese, so expect it to be thick!
Just in case you decide on a different recipe, though, and end up with a runny filling, here are some tips on how to thicken it back up.
The most common thickener is starch, in the form of flour, cornstarch, or arrowroot.
When using this method, you’ll need to cook the filling over low heat, stirring it constantly, until it reaches your desired thickness.
Another ideal method is to add eggs. This is why this recipe calls for an additional egg yolk.
Yolks make the filling extra rich and give them that gorgeous, custard-like consistency.
Can I Use Fresh Pumpkin Puree in This Recipe?
While I always say that fresh is best, I don’t recommend using fresh pumpkin when making pumpkin pie.
Pumpkin pies should have a thick, custard-like filling. When I tried this recipe with fresh pumpkin puree, the filling didn’t set up as well.
It’s because fresh pumpkin contains more liquid than canned.
It also had a lumpy and grainy texture, which gave the pie an off-putting mouthfeel.
Canned pumpkin puree, on the other hand, always yields a smooth and silky filling that sets up wonderfully.
However, if you have no other choice but to use fresh pumpkin, just be sure to roast it for 35 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit to enhance its flavor.
Also, strain it and drain the liquid to get a smooth and creamy filling.
Tips for Making The Best Pie
- A delicious pie has two components: a scrumptious filling and a flaky crust firm enough to hold the filling. A soggy crust is often the problem of a runny or custard-based filling, such as pumpkin pie has.
This is where blind baking comes in.
With this technique, the pie dough is half-baked to help the crust stay firm, even when filled with custard or a filling with syrup.
Don’t worry, it doesn’t require baking expertise at all. Just line the crust with foil or parchment paper, fill it with pie weights, and pop it in the oven.
The weights will prevent the dough from puffing up. If you don’t have pie weights, dried beans, uncooked rice, or even coins will work.
Blind-bake the crust for 10 minutes, remove the weights and lining, and bake for 10 more.
- Use a glass baking dish to help you monitor the status of the crust as it bakes.
- This recipe calls for canned pumpkin, which is already pureed, but I recommend you puree it again in a blender. This will make your pie filling extra smooth and silky.
- Any brand of pumpkin puree will work, but my go-to is Libby’s. And no, this isn’t a paid advertisement. I just find that when it comes to pumpkin puree, Libby’s has the best texture, color, and flavor.
- Cook the pumpkin puree over low-medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until it starts to boil. Cooking adds more depth of flavor to the pumpkin. It also makes it absorb the flavors of the sugar and spices better.
- I use cinnamon and ginger to flavor the filling, but go for your choice of spices. If using all-spice, you can use either a pre-made mix or make your own blend. All-spice is a mix of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
- Use room-temperature eggs, half-and-half, and butter so they’re easier to blend together.
- Don’t overbeat the filling to prevent cracking. Stop mixing once the ingredients are well-combined.
- Here’s another tip to prevent cracking: don’t overbake or underbake the pie. An overbaked pie will not only crack, but will also be dry. An underbaked pie won’t set while cooling, and will eventually crack down the middle. Stick to the indicated temperature and duration.
- Loosely cover the pie with aluminum foil if you notice the crust’s edges to be browning too much in the middle of baking.
- Give the pie a jiggle to test for doneness. The filling should be dry around the edges, but still a bit wobbly in the middle.
- The filling may swell in the middle, but don’t worry, it will deflate as it cools.
- Let the pie cool completely before slicing, about 2 hours. The pie needs time to set. Otherwise, the slices will be too runny.
- Make the pie up to two days ahead of time. Not only will free up so much time, but will also allow the flavors in the filling to meld. Cover the pie with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate.
- Got leftovers? Wrap the slices in 2-3 layers of plastic wrap and freeze for up to a month. Defrost in the fridge for 12 hours before serving.
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