I have made this Maple Pumpkin Pie with Maple Whipped Cream for more Thanksgiving and Holiday celebrations than I can count and it's still the most delicious pumpkin pie I've ever tasted.
The pie is bursting with the warm flavors of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and maple syrup. But the BEST thing about this pie is the texture. The rich custard filling is ultra creamy, light, silky smooth, and does not contain any kind of canned milk.
Many pumpkin pie recipes call for evaporated milk or sweetened condensed milk, but I've found that the creamiest texture is achieved by using half and half. Here's why...
Pumpkin pie is a type of custard pie. Custard pies are made with milk, eggs, sugar, and flavorings baked in an uncooked or partially cooked pie crust.
Evaporated milk is simply regular milk that's been processed to remove about half of the water. It's often used in pumpkin pie in place of milk to compensate for the fact that pumpkin puree has a high water content.
But, using half-and-half instead of canned evaporated milk will give your pie the creamiest texture.
Why? Because half-and-half has a higher fat content. That little bit of extra fat gives the filling a silky smooth, super creamy texture AND helps intensify the flavor of the pie. A true win-win situation! 👏
The Most Important Ingredients for The BEST Pumpkin Pie
This recipe includes the ingredients you'd expect in a pumpkin pie, like pumpkin purée (obviously). But, there are also a few important upgrades:
- Half and half instead of evaporated milk for the creamiest texture
- A combination of brown sugar and maple syrup for the perfect amount of sweet with the best possible flavor
- The perfect amount of spices - enough for a bold flavored pie without overwhelming the flavor of the pumpkin and maple syrup
- A hint of ground black pepper
Wait... why does this recipe include black pepper?
There are two ingredients that I feel are often overlooked in desserts: salt and ground black pepper.
- Salt enhances the flavors in food, intensifying the essential qualities that make them taste like they do.
- Black pepper changes the flavor of food, adding depth and some spice.
Since salt makes all food taste better, I feel it should be used in nearly everything. Ground black pepper, however, actually changes the flavor of food and should therefore be used only in dishes for which it compliments the flavor of the other ingredients.
One of the best ways to use black pepper is in desserts that call for spices like cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Just a pinch of ground black pepper brings out the flavor in these spices in the most incredible way. Here are a couple of examples:
- A bit of ground black pepper in these Chewy Gingersnaps intensifies their spiced maple flavor while giving them a subtle kick that's positively addicting.
- Just 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper in a batch of Strawberry Rhubarb Jam enhances the natural sweetness in the fruit while adding an oh-so-subtle kick and complexity that's going to seriously step up your jam game.
- A touch of black pepper combined with spices, blackstrap molasses, and brewed coffee makes for the most intensely flavorful Gingerbread Cake I've ever tasted.
- In these Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Ginger Cookies, black pepper is the perfect compliment to candied ginger and chocolate chips, creating an interesting depth of flavor that's anything but boring.
The key to using black pepper is to use a small amount. In this recipe, there's only ¼ of a teaspoon, which is not enough to be able to detect it. No one will guess that it's there, but the overall flavor of the pie will be so much better than if you leave it out.
Step by Step Photos and Instructions
This is seriously one of the easiest kinds of pie you can make. You basically dump all of the ingredients into a bowl, whisk them together, pour them into a pie crust, and bake.
The first step to making pumpkin pie is to prepare the crust. My favorite go-to pie crust recipe is Foolproof Pie Crust. Follow that recipe, or use whatever recipe you like to mix up some pie crust dough and stick it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes. Or, simply use a prepared frozen or refrigerated crust that you've purchased at your local supermarket.
Then, follow these instructions to roll out the dough, fit it into a pie plate, and partially bake the crust. Partially baking a pie crust before filling it with any kind of pie filling is called "blind baking" and I feel it's one of the secrets to baking a really good pumpkin pie.
Baking the crust for a bit before pouring in pumpkin pie batter dries it so that instead of a soggy crust, you get a crisp, flaky texture that holds its shape.
Once your crust is prepared, mixing up the pumpkin pie batter will only take a few minutes. Here's what you do...
Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat them with a wire whisk to break them up and blend them together.
Then pour in the cream, maple syrup, and vanilla and stir with the whisk until everything is combined.
Whisk in the brown sugar, flour, spices, and salt.
Add the pumpkin puree.
Whisk the batter until it's nice and smooth.
Carefully pour the pumpkin pie filling into the prepared pie shell and bake!
How to Know When Pumpkin Pie is Done Baking
When the pie is done, the center will look like Jello - jiggly but still set. If it looks soupy, keep baking. The center of the pie will have a slight sheen, while the outer circumference will be matte.
After removing it from the oven, set the pie on a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before slicing and serving with a generous dollop of pillowy whipped cream sweetened with maple syrup.
A: I honestly think that cooking and pureeing fresh pumpkin is way more trouble than it's worth. More than that, I think canned pumpkin actually tastes better in pumpkin pie. Fresh pumpkin can have a grainy texture and a slightly grassy flavor.
So unless you have a garden full of pumpkins that you don't want to go to waste, do yourself a favor and just pick up a can of pumpkin at the supermarket.
A: My favorite pie crust recipe is Foolproof Pie Crust because it's, well, foolproof. But if you have a favorite pie crust recipe, by all means use that. Or, make life even easier on yourself and use a frozen prepared pie crust. It's all good.
A: Cracking in the surface of a pumpkin pie is usually caused by over baking. The pie is done when the center is set but still a bit jiggly - like jello.
If you do over bake the pie and it begins to crack, don't sweat it. It will still taste delicious and you're going to cover slices with maple whipped cream, so who even cares?
This is The First Recipe I Ever Published ♥️
This recipe was the very first thing I ever published on this blog. It was 2013 and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or what I wanted the blog to become. I just knew that I needed a reason to spend more time in the kitchen.
At the time I was a freelance marketing consultant, working way too many hours for way too many clients and juggling that with parenting three teenagers. I was perpetually exhausted and burned out.
I had absolutely no time for a blog, and yet... I desperately wanted to start one. To carve out the time, I started getting up at 4am so I could spend a couple of hours on the blog before my regular day began. It wasn't ideal, but sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do.
When I published this recipe, I knew precisely nothing about food photography. But, my oldest daughter, who was 15 at the time, had shown an interest in photography, so we'd gotten her a DSLR camera for Christmas. Knowing nothing about her camera, I asked her to take photos of this pumpkin pie.
We took a pumpkin pie out to the back patio and I proceeded to drive her crazy by trying to "direct" the process. We both came away from the experience knowing that I had better learn how to take my own photographs. 😂
Even still, this photo will always hold a special place in my heart. In the years since I've updated this recipe with new photos. But the recipe is the same and I cannot bring myself to delete those first photos.
I didn't know it at the time, but they were the start to a career change that would be one of the best decisions I ever made.
More Popular Holiday Pie Recipes
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #ofbatteranddough on Instagram. Happy Baking!
- 1 bottom pie crust - my favorite pie crust recipe: Fool Proof Pie Crust
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup (8oz/ 237ml) half and half
- ½ cup (5.5oz/ 118ml) pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup (106g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoon (11.25g) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon table salt (or 1 teaspoon kosher salt)
- 15 oz (1 ¾ cups) canned pumpkin puree
For the Maple Whipped cream
- 1 cup (8oz/ 236ml) heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- Follow these instructions to prepare a partially baked pie crust, and let it cool.
- Preheat the oven to 400° F (204° C).
- Crack the eggs into a medium-sized bowl and beat them with a wire whisk to break them up and combine them.
- Pour in the cream, maple syrup, and vanilla and whisk to combine.
- Add the brown sugar, flour, spices, and salt to a separate bowl, stir to combine and break up the brown sugar, then add to the wet ingredients. Beat vigorously with the wire whisk to combine.
- Add the pumpkin and whisk until smooth. Carefully pour the filling into the prepared pie shell.
- Place the pie on the center oven rack and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° F (176° C) and bake for about another 40 minutes. When the pie is done, the center will look like Jello - jiggly, yet not at all soupy. The center of the pie will have a slight sheen, while the outer circumference will be matte.
- Set the pie on a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before slicing and serving. Serve at room temperature or chilled with Maple Whipped Cream.
Make the Maple Whipped Cream:
- Pour the heavy whipping cream into a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until it's just beginning to thicken. With the mixer running, slowly pour in the maple syrup.
- Continue to beat until medium peaks form. This means that you can lift the beater from the whipped cream and the "peak" that forms will hold its shape, but the top of the peak will fall over itself.
- Use the whipped cream immediately, or place it in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Why is there ground black pepper in this recipe?
Using a pinch of ground black pepper in recipes with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg brings out the flavor in the spices in the most incredible way. There's not enough black pepper in this recipe to be able to detect it. No one will guess that it's there, but the overall flavor of the pie will be so much better than if you leave it out.
How do you know when this pie is done baking?
To know when this pie is done baking and ready to come out of the oven, shake the pan gently. If the center of the pie jiggles slightly, kind of like jello, the pie is done. If the center looks soupy, let it keep baking for a bit longer.
The surface of the pie will also offer a clue - The center of the pie will have a slight sheen, while the outer circumference will be matte.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 405Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 114mgSodium: 371mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 2gSugar: 33gProtein: 6g