Pumpkin pie — that most quintessential of holiday desserts. Here’s my own favorite take on pumpkin pie — one that skips the sometimes-finicky, sometimes-soggy pie crust for one made from crispy honey graham crackers. Add a heaping spoonful of ground ginger and you have the pumpkin pie we look forward to all year long.
This easy pumpkin pie recipe is a classic with a spicy twist! This holiday treat has a crisp buttery graham cracker crust, a rich smooth filling, and all your favorite fall spices. You can make it days in advance and its freezer friendly. I packed in all my tips and trick for the perfect pie so you can bake with confidence!
Pumpkin pie is one of my all-time favorite desserts. With a smooth, creamy filling loaded with lots of flavor and my slice always has a mountain of whipped cream. Store-bought pie can just never compete!
Now I know homemade baking can be a scary thing for many people. This recipe ideally skips all of the typical fuss and stress around home baking. A simplified crust with a perfectly smooth filling and some simple decorations is all you need.
Be sure to grab the full recipe & check out the full video tutorial in the recipe card below. And if you try this recipe (I mean you totally should be), tag me on Instagram @imancake and use the hashtag #BakingWithMANCAKE.
Want even more delicious holiday dessert ideas? Then check out these recipes!
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GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
Pumpkin pie didn’t used to be a favorite. I liked the flavor and spices of traditional pumpkin pie, but often found it unpleasantly soggy. Then, a few years ago, I wondered what it would be like made with a toasty, firmer graham cracker crust.
The graham cracker crust is easier to shape and press into place than a regular pie crust (I always use a homemade graham cracker crust; the store-bought ones taste stale to me.) It also holds up underneath the custard filling of the pumpkin, staying toothsome and snappy.
This delicious homemade graham cracker crust is made from scratch but it’s so quick and easy you’ll never want to buy a store-bought, pre-packaged crust again. I always like to use a graham cracker crust to bring in a dash of honey flavor into my pumpkin pies.
PRO TIPS FOR THIS RECIPE
- Try adding 1/2 tsp of cinnamon for a nice depth of flavor in step #2 above.
- PRESS, press, press that mixture into the baking dish. These crusts can be crumbly if you don’t compact them down.
- Many different cookies/biscuits will work for this type of crust. You can, for example, use Oreos, Biscoff cookies, or shortbread cookies.
- Try adding 1/2 cup of toasted pecans to the mix. You’ll love the added flavor and texture.
- Your crust can be frozen before baking for up to 2 months if wrapped well. You could also make it a few days in advance and bake before using.
- If you’re using this crust in a square or rectangular dish then I highly recommend lining it with parchment paper for ease of removing.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HOW DO YOU MAKE IT FROM SCRATCH?
To make this easy crust all you need are Graham crackers and butter. Adding a little sugar, a pinch of salt and some spices makes everything all the better. You’ll be crushing the crackers and mixing with the remaining ingredients to make a delicious and QUICK crust.
WHY DOES MY CRUST CRUMBLE?
If it’s crumbly you may have either needed a bit more moisture to act as a binding agent or the crust needed to be compressed more. Next time try adding a bit more butter or a bit of egg white and REALLY press it in before baking.
HOW DO YOU KEEP IT FROM GETTING SOGGY?
Baking your crust will definitely help keep it crisp but if you’re using a no bake filling then you can consider brushing the inside with melted white or dark chocolate to create a barrier between the filling and the crust.
BAKE WITH CONFIDENCE
- Tent your pie! If you’d like to skip the graham cracker crust and use pie dough, just fold a length of foil in half then loosely wrap around the pie and crumple over the top so the crust is protected. Doing this will give you a golden crust and baked through pie.
- An egg wash is KEY to a golden beautiful crust. You can use cream, milk or even water to mix with the egg. Make sure to mix thoroughly.
- Warming the pie filling is an extra step you can take for a smooth pie that has a crisp bottom so don’t skip it.
- Feel free to adjust the spice profile/level to your liking.
- Try adding two tablespoons of dark rum or bourbon to the filling for a nice depth of holiday flavor.
- If your pumpkin looks a bit chunky just pulse in the food processor and it will be smooth as silk.
- Whipped cream is a classic topping but you can always whip up a batch of meringue, pipe beautiful dollops and torch them for a marshmallowy finish.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
SHOULD I PRE-BAKE PIE CRUST FOR PUMPKIN PIE?
- Pre baking your pie crust is the key to a crust that’s crisp throughout.
- If you’re going the traditional pie crust route, be sure to blind bake with pie weights at 425F for about 10 minutes.
- Remove weights, dock the crust and bake another 10 minutes.
- Adding an egg wash creates an additional barrier between the crust and filling.
CAN I MAKE IT THE DAY BEFORE?
Pumpkin pie can be made a day ahead and tastes great cold. If desired you can warm up before serving. The crust is of course best the day of as the filling will dampen things up over time.
CAN YOU USE FRESH PUMPKINS TO MAKE THIS?
If you’d like to use fresh pumpkins it’s totally doable! Just choose a pumpkin meant to be eaten like a sugar or pie pumpkin. The large ones you buy for carving have no flavor.
WHAT OTHER FLAVORS CAN I ADD TO THE FILLING?
Try a few tablespoons of maple syrup, bourbon, or rum. You can add a teaspoon or two or orange zest or some of your favorite spices like cardamom, allspice and cloves.
HOW DO YOU AVOID BURNT PIE CRUST?
Tenting your crusts with tin foil for most of the bake drastically cuts down on burnt edges. Just fold a long piece of foil in half lengthwise and gently wrap around the crust before baking. You can remove halfway through or so and allow the crust to get golden brown just as the center sets.
HOW DO YOU THICKEN THE FILLING?
Cooking the eggs in your filling will stabilize the custard and cause it to set. If you have substituted in almond milk or evaporated milk for cream, just add a tablespoon of cornstarch to the sugar as a thickening agent.
WHAT DOES PUMPKIN PIE TASTE LIKE?
You’ll taste lots of fall spices like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg along with the subtle almost fruity flavor of the pumpkin itself.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN IT’S READY?
You can either insert a knife in the center and it should come out clean, or you can give it a little shake and the center will have the slightest wobble when it’s just done.
WHAT YOU CAN FIND IN MY KITCHEN
Be sure to subscribe & ring the bell on the MANCAKE baking channel for weekly recipes & tutorials this way you can bake right along with me. Click – MANCAKE YouTube Channel
If you’ve tried this tasty treat then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you!
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 3 cups ginger snap cookie crumbs, finely crushed
- 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 &1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground gloves
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 12 ounces evaporated milk
- 1 & 2/3 cups pumpkin purée
- 4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For the Crust
- In a large bowl, mix ginger snap cookie crumbs and melted butter. Mix until the butter is fully incorporated into the crumbs.
- Press your crust into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate.
- Bake for 5 minutes.
- Once baked, remove from oven and set aside.
For the Pumpkin Pie
- In a medium bowl, whisk together white granulated sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, blend together eggs and pumpkin purée.
- Add dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.
- Gradually add evaporated milk and mix until milk has been fully combined with pumpkin pie mixture.
- Add pumpkin mixture to baked pie crust. Set aside.
For the Cream Cheese Swirl
- In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.
- Add corn syrup and vanilla extract and continue to blend until combined.
- Place cream cheese mixture in a piping bag and make swirling patters on top of the pumpkin pie mixture.
- Bake pie for 40 minutes,
- Once baked, remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. When at room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and let set in the fridge for 2 hours.
- When ready to serve, remove from pie plate, top with some fresh whipped cream, and enjoy!
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