Holiday recipe swap: How to make a pumpkin pie from a sugar pumpkin

Making pumpkin pie from a whole pumpkin is much easier than you think. The key is to start with a small sugar pumpkin.

Kathe Geist
Making pumpkin pie from sugar pumpkins is much easier than you think.

I used to think that making a pumpkin pie from a real pumpkin would entail a huge amount of work and maybe not taste all that good. Wrong on both counts! After Libby’s pumpkin crop failed several years ago and the cost of canned pumpkin went sky-high, I decided to try a real pumpkin. The results were amazing: light, sweet, smooth, the best pumpkin pie I’d ever had. I even reduced the fat content by using fat-free evaporated milk, and it was still tastier than any previous pie.

The difference is that canned pumpkin is made from big ordinary pumpkins like the ones we carve for Halloween. Sugar pumpkins, on the other hand, are small but incredibly sweet. One medium sugar pumpkin is good for one pie, but you can save time and money if you buy several, seeking out the largest. Prepare the pumpkin as per the recipe below and freeze enough for future pies.  I love this fruit so much I started growing it and harvested 20 pumpkins last year, enough for years of pies! 

Sugar Pumpkin Pie 

Preparing the pumpkin:

Cut a sugar pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Place each half, flesh side down, on a jelly roll baking pan (cookie sheet with sides); add 1 cup of water and bake at 400 degrees F. for about 30 minutes or until a fork can pierce the flesh and it comes away from the skin easily. When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh away from the skin and puree it in a food processor.

Crust for one pie:

(Use your favorite recipe, a store-bought crust or the recipe below. Prepare the crust while the pumpkin is baking.)

Cut 1/3 cup butter into 1 cup flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add 2-3 tablespoons water and mix quickly until the flour mixture is moist and clingy, but not too wet. Roll out the dough and place it into a 9-inch pie pan. Crimp the edges and prick the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork.  (If you have a food processor, process the butter, salt and flour, then add the water and pulse a few more times.)

Pumpkin filling:

2 cups pureed sugar pumpkin
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk (fat free, 2%, or regular will all work)

1. By hand, beat together all the ingredients except the milk until the pumpkin is a uniform color.  

2. Beat in the milk, still by hand, and pour the mixture into your crust.  

3. Place in a 450 degree F. oven and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 350 degrees F. and bake for another 40-50 minutes until done. (You can test doneness by inserting a knife in the middle. If it comes out clean, the pie is ready.)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Holiday recipe swap: How to make a pumpkin pie from a sugar pumpkin
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today