Cinnamon pumpkin pie

I wrote this recipe for the Custard Tarts & Cheesecakes section of my book National Trust Simply Baking (see Books). It`s perfect for Hallowe`en, especially if you`re carving out pumpkin lanterns, but it`s also an excellent way of using up different types of squash such as butternut squash.

Custard tarts come in all sorts of guises including this delicately flavoured pumpkin pie, which I’ve adapted from my 1909 edition of Mrs Beeton’s Every-day Cookery. The terms ‘pie’ and ‘tart’ have always been interchangeable in Britain. You could use butternut squash in place of pumpkin. One small pumpkin will yield about 400g/14oz flesh.

Serves 6

Rich shortcrust pastry

225g/8oz plain flour

pinch of salt

115/4oz cold butter, diced

1 medium egg yolk

Pumpkin custard

400g/14oz peeled, deseeded pumpkin flesh

200ml/7fl oz water

85g/3oz caster sugar

finely grated zest of 2 lemons

3 tablespoons dry sherry

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

5 medium egg yolks

140ml/ ¼  pint double cream

icing sugar for dusting


1 To make the pastry put the flour, salt and butter in a food processor and whiz to fine crumbs.  Tip into a bowl.  Beat the egg yolk with 2 tablespoons cold water.  Using a fork, mix into the dough and add enough cold water to bind the dough (about a further 1-2 tablespoons). 

2  Lightly knead on a floured surface, then roll out and line a 20cm/8in tart tin with a removable base or a china quiche dish.  If there are any holes in your pastry, patch them up with little pieces of pastry – you don’t want the custard to leak out.  Prick the pastry with a fork, line with greaseproof paper and baking beans.  Chill for 30 minutes.

3 Meanwhile, roughly chop the pumpkin flesh and put in a saucepan with the water.  Cover, bring up to the boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is very soft and the water has evaporated. The final mixture should be quite dry.  Purée the pumpkin.

4 Preheat the oven to fan 180°C/gas 5.  Bake the pastry for 10 minutes, then remove the paper and beans and bake for 8-10 minutes more or until the pastry no longer looks raw.  Remove from the oven.

5 Mix the warm pumpkin purée with the sugar, lemon zest, sherry and cinnamon.  Beat the egg yolks and cream together and stir into the pumpkin mixture. Pour into the pastry case.  Bake for 30 minutes or until just set, with a slight wobble. If baked in a tin, remove gently and serve warm or cold dusted in icing sugar.



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