The Best Creamy Pumpkin Pie
This is my recipe for the best creamy pumpkin pie! The filling is luscious, silky, and totally decadent. This recipe includes sugared rosemary, sugared cranberries, and fresh whipped cream to really send it over the top. In my opinion this is THE pumpkin pie to end all pies.
- Skill Level: Intermediate
- Components Used: All-Purpose Pie Crust, Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend, Sugared Rosemary, Sugared Cranberries, Basic Whipped Cream
If you’re looking to make a pumpkin pie this holiday season, look no further! Why make a regular pumpkin pie when you can make a decadent creamy pumpkin pie with all the homemade extras like sugared rosemary, sugared cranberries, and fresh whipped cream.
This pumpkin pie will be the most beautiful item on your holiday dessert table. It’s colorful, festive, and incredibly impressive.
WHAT MAKES THIS THE BEST CREAMY PUMPKIN PIE
- This recipe includes all of the homemade extras that set it apart: sugared cranberries, sugared rosemary, and fresh whipped cream.
- Not only are these extras beautiful but they taste incredible and add texture and depth of flavor.
- The pumpkin filling is more creamy and silky than traditional pumpkin pie recipes.
How to make the best creamy pumpkin pie
While technically the sugared rosemary, sugared cranberry, and whipped cream are optional- these are the special touches that make this pumpkin pie the best!
We are going to start by making the pie crust and the pumpkin filling. While the pie bakes, we will make all the extras and then assemble.
Make the pie crust
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the cold shortening and cold and cubed butter to the bowl and toss with your hands so all of the fat is coated with flour. Use the tips of your fingers and thumbs to press down on all of the pieces of fat, creating little sheets of fat throughout your mixture. You can also use a pastry blender to cut the fat into the flour.
Add the ice water little by little into the mixture. Fold the mixture gently with a silicone spatula to incorporate. You may not need all of the water. Once large clumps of dough start forming, gather the dough up and press it together. If it crumbles then you need to add a little more water. If it holds together then you are ready to chill the dough.
Bring the dough together on your counter and press into one mass and knead very gently for one or two turns to bring it into a cohesive dough. Press flat into a round disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes, but preferably an hour, to allow the gluten to relax and the flour to fully hydrate.
Blind bake the pie crust
Place your chilled dough on top of a lightly floured surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough and your rolling pin. As you roll the dough, lift it up, turn it, and redistribute flour underneath it every few rolls to prevent sticking. Roll the dough out to about 12 inches (30 cm) wide so that it’s wider than your pie dish. This is important so that your dough doesn’t need to stretch to fit down into the plate, which can cause it to shrink.
Set the rolling pin in the middle and fold the dough in half over the rolling pin. Gently transfer it into the pie plate, unrolling it off the rolling pin. Lift up on the sides of the crust to allow it to fall naturally into the pie plate without having to stretch it. If there are places that don’t have quite enough dough to hang over the edge, you can patch it with pieces from the other side.
If there is a lot of excess dough, trim it off with scissors. Gently fold the edges of the dough underneath itself. Crimp using your fingers or use a fork and press down all the way around.
Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the crust and add pie weights or dried beans. Bake for about 15 minutes just enough for the dough to start to set but not fully baked. It will still be pretty light in color.
Step 3: Make the filling and bake
While the crust is baking, make the filling. Whisk together all filling ingredients together in a mixing bowl. This includes the pumpkin puree, heavy cream, brown sugar, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract, and salt.
After the crust is done blind-baking, remove the pie weights and parchment paper. Pour the filling into the pie shell. There’s no need to wait for the crust to cool since it’s going right back in the oven. Bake for 55-65 minutes. The filling should be set around the edges but it will still have a little jiggle in the center. It will completely set as it cools.
Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and let cool for at least 2 hours until it reaches room temperature. This step is important not to rush so that the pie has time to fully solidify. While the pie is baking and cooling, make the remaining components.
Make the sugared rosemary and cranberries
Before you begin, set up a baking sheet with a wire cooling rack set on top. For an easy cleanup, place paper towels or parchment paper underneath the cooling rack.
Combine the smaller portion of the sugar and the water in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until all of the sugar dissolves. Stir very slowly as to not get sugar granules up the sides of the pan as they will burn.
Turn off the heat and carefully add the fresh rosemary sprigs and stir to coat evenly. Remove the sprigs from the saucepan with a slotted spoon and place on the wire rack. Repeat the process with the cranberries. Let the cranberries and rosemary dry completely for at least 45 minutes. They should still be very sticky.
Toss them both in the remaining sugar and shake off the excess. Set aside until ready to assemble.
Make the Whipped cream and serve
After the pie has cooled completely and right before serving, make the whipped cream. Don’t make it too early or you risk it separating and becoming watery. If you’d like to make the whipped cream in advance, make a stabilized version that contains gelatin. My recipe for stabilized whipped cream can be made up to 4 days in advance.
Combine the cold heavy cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl. Using the whisk attachment on your stand mixer or hand mixer, begin whipping on low speed and then medium speed until medium peaks begin to form. Turn the mixer on to full speed and whip the cream to stiff peaks. Pay close attention and stop the mixer as soon as stiff peaks are formed.
Decorate the cooled pie with the fresh whipped cream, sugared cranberries, and sugared rosemary and serve.
Can I use regular pumpkins to make pumpkin pie?
When choosing a pumpkin to make pumpkin puree, choose pumpkins labeled as “pie pumpkins.” They will be smaller and denser than the large Halloween pumpkins. Larger pumpkins will be watery because they are specifically bred for decoration.
Can I use canned pumpkin to make pumpkin pie?
You can use fresh pumpkin puree or canned. If using canned, make sure to use “pure pumpkin” instead of “pumpkin pie filling.” Pumpkin pie filling contains sweeteners and spices that will affect the texture and taste of your pie. By using pure pumpkin you can control the flavor. If you’re unsure which type of canned pumpkin you have, check the ingredients. If it only lists pumpkin, then you’re all set!
Make-Ahead Pumpkin Pie
Make the pie crust and store the dough in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and in the freezer up to 3 months. Do not make the pumpkin filling in advance. It will become soggy if it sits in the refrigerator for too long.
The sugared rosemary and sugared cranberries can be made and stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in advance. I recommend waiting to decorate the pie until right before serving.
How to store in the refrigerator: A baked pumpkin pie can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Wrap the pie loosely in plastic wrap and don’t add whipped cream until serving.
How to store in the freezer: After the pie has fully cooled, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.
FOR THE CRUST
- 150 grams (1 ¼ cups) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 70 grams (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
- 25 grams (2 tablespoons) shortening or lard, cold
- 2-4 tablespoons ice water
FOR THE FILLING
- 15 ounces pure pumpkin puree
- 294 grams (1 ¼ cups) heavy cream
- 133 grams (⅔ cups) brown sugar, preferably dark brown
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (store bought or homemade spice blend)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
For the Sugared Cranberries & Rosemary
- 85 grams (3 ounces) fresh cranberries
- 5-6 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 300 grams (1 ½ cups) granulated sugar, divided
- 115 grams (½ cup, 120 milliliters) water
For the Whipped Cream <i>*see note</i>
- 235 grams (1 cup, 240 milliliters) heavy cream or whipping cream, cold
- 80 grams (⅔ cup) powdered, confectioners, or icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
Prepare the Crust:
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour (150 grams) and salt (½ teaspoon).
- Add the cold and cubed butter (70 grams) and the cold shortening (25 grams) into the bowl. Using a pastry cutter, two forks, or your fingers, cut the butter and shortening into the mixture until it resembles coarse meal. A few larger pieces is okay.
- Drizzle in the cold water 1 tablespoon at a time and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon after every addition. Do not add any more water than you need to. Stop adding water when the dough begins to form large clumps.
- Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky. Using floured hands, fold the dough into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the fats. Form it into a ball and flatten into a 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick disc using your hands.
- Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days.
Blind bake the crust:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F/205°C.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap. Place the dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll out to a circle that is about 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter. Carefully place the dough into a 9 inch (23 cm) pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. Trim and crimp the edges as desired. Place the prepared crust in the freezer for about 10 minutes to relax and chill.
- Place a piece of parchment paper into the crust and fill with pie weights or beans. Blind bake the crust at for 15 minutes.
Make the Filling:
- While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. In a large mixing bowl whisk together all of the filling ingredients until well combined.
- When the crust is finished blind baking, remove it from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F/175°C. Remove the parchment paper and pie weights and pour the filling into the crust.
- Bake for 55-65 minutes, until the filling is just slightly jiggly in the middle. If the edges of the crust are browning too much you can wrap strips of aluminum foil around the edges to protect them. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.
Make the Sugared Cranberries & Rosemary:
- While the pie is baking and cooling, make the sugared cranberries and rosemary. Set up a sheet pan with a cooling rack set on top.
- Combine 100 grams (½ cup) of the sugar and the water (115 grams/ ½ cup) in a medium saucepan on medium-low heat. Cook and stir slowly until all of the sugar is dissolved.
- Turn off the heat and carefully add fresh rosemary (5-6 sprigs) and stir to coat evenly. Remove the sprigs from the saucepan with a slotted spoon and place on the wire rack.
- Add the cranberries (85 grams/ 3 ounces) into the saucepan and repeat the process. Stir to coat evenly.
- Let the rosemary and cranberries dry and cool completely for at least 45 minutes. They should still be very sticky.
- Toss the rosemary in the remaining sugar (200 grams/ 1 cup) and shake off the excess. Repeat with the cranberries.
Make the whipped cream and serve:
- After the pie has cooled completely and right before serving, make the whipped cream.
- Combine the cold heavy cream or whipping cream (235 grams/ 1 cup) with the powdered sugar (80 grams (⅔ cup), and vanilla extract (1 teaspoon) in the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl.
- Using the whisk attachment on your stand mixer or hand mixer, begin whipping on low speed and then medium speed until medium peaks begin to form. Turn the mixer on to full speed and whip the cream to stiff peaks. Pay close attention and stop the mixer as soon as stiff peaks are formed.
- Decorate the pie with the fresh whipped cream, sugared cranberries, and sugared rosemary.
Pie Shapes: use the excess pie dough to cut out shapes and bake separately. Use these shapes to decorate the top of the pie.
*Whipped Cream: if you'd like to make the whipped cream in advance, use my recipe for stabilized whipped cream. Stabilized whipped cream can be made and stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days before serving.