I have made this Maple Pumpkin Pie for more Thanksgivings than I can count and it's still the best pumpkin pie I've ever tasted.
The pie is bursting with the flavors of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, brown sugar, and maple syrup. But the BEST thing about this pie is the texture. The rich custard filling is ultra creamy, light, and silky smooth.
An Easy Pumpkin Pie Recipe Without Evaporate 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.
There's nothing wrong with using evaporated milk to make pumpkin pie. But, for the creamiest texture, half and half is where it's at.
The reason that pumpkin pies made with half and half are creamier than those made with evaporated milk is because half and half has a higher fat content. That little bit of extra fat not only gives the filling a silky smooth, super creamy texture, it also helps intensify the flavor of the pie. Win, win.
The Key Ingredients for Making the Best Pumpkin Pie
This recipe uses the ingredients you'd expect in a pumpkin pie, with a couple of 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
Maple Syrup + Brown Sugar = Pumpkin Pie Heaven
One of the most important considerations about the choice of sweetener used in baked goods is the flavor. Sugar in any form adds flavor, but there is a lot of variation in the flavor of different sweeteners.
In this pie, the combination of brown sugar, maple syrup, pumpkin and spices creates a flavor situation that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy about crisp days, cozy sweaters, hands curled around a warm mugs, and happy faces around holiday tables.
Yes. There is a pinch of ground black pepper in this recipe and it's delicious.
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 any dessert that incorporates 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's 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.
How to Make Maple Pumpkin Pie
This is seriously one of the easiest kind 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.
#1. Crack the eggs into a medium-size bowl and beat them with a wire whisk to break them up. Then pour in the cream, maple syrup, and vanilla and stir with the whisk until they are combined.
#2. Add the brown sugar, flour, spices, and salt in a small bowl and stir to combine the ingredients and break up the brown sugar. Dump them into the wet ingredients and beat vigorously with the whisk to combine. Then whisk in the pumpkin.
#3. Carefully pour the filling into the prepared pie shell and bake.
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.
#4. Set the pie on a wire rack and allow to cool completely before slicing and serving with a generous dollop of Maple Whipped Cream.
Maple Pumpkin Pie FAQs
A: I honestly think that cooking and pureeing fresh pumpkin is waaaaaaay 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 impart a grassy flavor to pie.
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?
A Short Nostalgic Story About this Recipe
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 waaaaaay too many hours for waaaaay to 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 just got to do what you've got to do.
When I published this recipe, 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 the photos for this recipe.
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. Even though I've updated this post with new photos, 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.
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 cool.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C).
- Crack the eggs into a medium-size 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 whisking 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 degrees F (176 degrees 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 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 elecrtic mixer until it's just begining 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 immediatly, 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.
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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