My favorite Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  I thought I’d share my favorite Pumpkin Pie recipe.

I’d like to share the story behind this recipe.  Growing up my Dad had this paperback James Beard cookbook that was his go to cookbook (great recipes but also basic instructions).  My Dad loves to cook – he was always in charge of our Sunday dinners – which were always special growing up.  I’m not sure when he got the book – it might have been a wedding shower gift – I just know it is old and falling apart.  Lots of great family favorites from the cookbook – an awesome stuffed pork chop, blueberry pie, chateau briand and of course the pumpking pie.  For years, my Dad would look at old bookstores to see if he could find another copy as his was really falling apart.  It was such a cherished part of our childhood it was even discussed who would get this cookbook in the will – I graciously said my brother since I’m more of a baker.

There is no need to worry – my brother and I won’t be fighting over it.  One Thanksgiving about 10 years or so ago, we were discussing the cookbook and I decided to see if I could find it on eBay for my Dad.  As luck would have it – I was able to find 3 copies – before I would buy – I checked to make sure it had the porkchop, blueberry and pumpkin pie recipes.  We found out that the cookbook was a monthly selection from a book club – it wasn’t Book of the Month Club (which would’ve been funny as my Mom worked there when I was in college and retired from there).  The James Beard Cookbook was originally published in 1959, re-released in 1961 and my edition is printed from 1970.

Here is our adaptation of the original recipe from newly revised The James Beard Cookbook:


  • 2 cups of strained cooked pumpkin (yes – my Dad uses fresh pumpkin) – you can also use canned pumpkin too – just make sure it isn’t the pumpkin pie filling – Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin or Trader Joe’s organic pumpkin
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup of cognac – we prefer brandy (when my Dad started making this he had Brandy in the house and one year he went back to the original recipe – we didn’t like it with the congac – too strong
  • 6 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup of finely shredded preserved ginger 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients until well blended.  Pour into pie shell** and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until the filling is set around the edges but still a little runny in the center.

**Mom-Mom’s Pie Crust Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cup sifted flour (and yes you need to sift it)
  • 3 TBS ice water
  • 1/2 cup crisco
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Make a paste with 1/4 cup flour and 3 TBSP ice water.  Cut in crisco and flour to the size of peas and then add paste.  Mix and roll out.

Homemade Whipped Cream – this is from a sweet potato pie recipe and is so yummy.

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 T powdered sugar
  • 2 T brandy

In medium mixing bowl, beat together cream, powdered sugar and brandy until stiff peaks form.  Serve alongside with each wedge of pie.  If you don’t want to use the brandy – you could use 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract.

We love this pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream and or homemade whipped cream!  And of course it goes very well with a great cup of coffee.  You have to eat this fast too – since no preservatives (if using the fresh pumpkin).  I’ve been known to have it for breakfast too. Enjoy!

PS:  Now if I actually made the pie – I’d post some pictures – however, this is a job my Dad has and the tradition continues with my brother.  I’m in charge of the wine and setting the table at Thanksgiving! 🙂  I did buy some canned pumpkin so maybe one of these days I’ll make the pie.  Have a great day!!


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