Classic Pumpkin Pie

So, up here, in the Great White North, Thanksgiving is this coming weekend.

It’s about six weeks ahead of American Thanksgiving for reasons I do not know and am too lazy to look up. I’m sure there’s some kind of terrible reason that has to do with when and where European colonists ran aboriginal peoples off their land and slaughtered them, uhh… yeah. It’s a shame that these days, like most holidays, Thanksgiving has had its history blurred and romanticized and is more of a “cultural habit” than anything historically significant. That’s how things are now, for better or worse — take it or leave it. Ahem.

Anyways, I used to think that these asynchronous Thanksgivings were pretty cool when I lived in California, since I’d often fly back to Vancouver to have Thanksgiving with my family in Canada in early October, then have another Thanksgiving again in late November in America with a friend’s family. Double Thanksgiving! It’s like having two birthday parties — only with better food, and definitely better pie.

This Thanksgiving I recommend that you make your own pumpkin pie.

Don’t buy it at Safeway — not only can you not understand half the chemical additives they put in their pies, their pies have more calories than this recipe I’m about to share, and you shouldn’t trust anything that’s set with eggs and doesn’t go rancid at room temperature after a couple days. Seriously. Just say no to chemically sweet Safeway pumpkin pie.

Classic Pumpkin Pie

*adapted from Cooking Light


  • 1 prepared pie shell
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 & 1/2 cups evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 large whole egg
  • 2 & 1/4 cups pumpkin puree


  • 1 handful white chocolate dipping wafers


Preheat your oven to 425°F (or 220°C); prepare a pastry shell.

Or, like I’ve done today, cheat: I bought a pre-made pie shell from Whole Foods (none of that Tenderflake garbage). Normally I’m opposed to not making everything from scratch, but, in times when you’re bound to be super busy anyways, it’s okay to cheat a little. Whole Foods at least makes a pie shell with natural ingredients, no preservatives, and at a really good price ($3.99) for a really good flavour.

Put brown sugar, spices, salt, evaporated milk, vanilla extract, egg, and egg whites in a bowl and whisk together until smooth. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until smooth again. Ohshitthatwaseasy.

No, seriously — if you’re not doing a white chocolate garnish like I did, then you’re done. Pour your pumpkin filling into a pie shell on a baking sheet, then get ready to shove that sucka in the oven. You’ll probably have some pie filling left over, so pour the remaining filling into some oven-safe dishware (little ramekins work best), and make some extra pumpkin-custard-type desserts.

Bake your pie at 425°F for 10 minutes, then turn down your oven to 350°F (or 175°C) and bake it for another 40 minutes, or until there’s no wiggle in the middle when you test-jiggle your pie.

Let your pie cool a little before popping it in the fridge to store. Homemade pumpkin pie is even better on the second day, since the spices and flavours have time to mingle and get to know each other. Yum!


If you’re feelin’ fancy and want to make your pie extra special, then here’s how to top it off with a little bit of white chocolate swirl. Making a swirl is simple: all you need is a handful of white chocolate dipping wafers, a double boiler or a microwave, and a knife. Melt your white chocolate and make it smooth and soft, then drizzle it over the top of your filled pie, making 3 rings.

Take a knife and run it through the pie filling and white chocolate; first making 8 evenly spaced swipes from the edges towards the center, then making another 8 evenly spaced swipes from the center to the edges. Have a hand towel ready to wipe your blade clean after each swipe.

Admire your handiwork, and then bake your pie as per instructions.

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3 thoughts on “Classic Pumpkin Pie

  1. kennis says:

    mmm, i want this to be mailed to me right now! haha
    this looks deliciously amazing.

  2. Lillian Strachan says:

    This is a good recipe, thank you! I did have a problem with the white little design working out for me. I melted Ghirardelli Classic White chipits and when I scrolled on the three white circles, they started sinking, so I quickly began to pull a knife through them as per the directions, but it was like they were too hard and they were starting to sink. I scooped out as much as I could and just mixed in whatever I couldnt’ get out. The pie baked up fine, but the design just didn’t work for me. I’m wondering if using the white meling wafers produces a lighter and more workable line?? Were the chipits just too heavy? Any advice you could offer would be appreciated. Thank you!!

    • Christine says:

      I know I e-mailed you back already, but I’m going to put the response here, too — just in case someone else has the same problem!

      Here goes:

      Good quality white chocolate, like chocolate made by Ghirardelli, and white chocolate dipping wafers (what I used) are not quite the same. Dipping wafers, unlike regular chocolate, contain less cocoa butter and more emulsifiers, which makes the dipping wafer chocolate much lighter than the nice chocolate. Either try getting dipping wafers, or add another 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree to thicken the pumpkin custard, or both!

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