This French pumpkin pie is not a quick and easy dessert. It takes a few hours spent in the kitchen, mixing, kneading, stirring, rolling and waiting while drinking hot tea and leafing through colourful cookbooks.
The result is a subtly sweet pastry with a silken filling, not quite as spicy and fragrant as the American cousin. If I was serving this for dessert at a dinner party, I would pipe delicate rosettes of whipped cream around the crust as an elegant end to the meal. We enjoyed it simply with a spoonful of whipped cream on top and a cup of hot rooibos tea.
French Pumpkin Pie
For the dough
- 250 g / 8.8 oz plain wheat flour + flour for dusting
- 50 g / 1.8 oz of confectioners’ sugar
- 125 g / 4.4 oz cold butter, cut into small pieces + a little more to grease the baking pan
- 1 large egg (preferably organic or cage free)
- a splash of milk (about 1 tbsp)
For the filling
- 500 g / 17,6 oz Hokkaido pumpkin (seeds removed and cut into small cubes)
- 500 ml / 17 fl oz of whole milk
- 200 g / 7.1 oz of cane sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, cut open lengthwise, the pulp scraped out. (Click here to learn how to cut open, scrape and use a vanilla bean.)
- 2 large eggs (again, best if organic or cage free)
- whipped cream to serve
- In a large mixing bowl mix flour with the icing sugar. Add the butter pieces and gently rub the butter and the flour-sugar mix through your fingers until you have a very crumbly mixture. Add the egg and milk and continue working the dough until you have a smooth and delicate dough.
- Form the dough into a ball, dust it with flour then press into a thick pancake. Dust again with flour, wrap in plastic food wrap and allow to rest for 30 min. in the refrigerator. Grease a baking pan with a removable base (25 cm / 9.8 in diameter). Dust your work surface and the rolling pin with flour and roll out the dough into a 0,5 cm / 0.2 in thick sheet. Wrap the dough around the rolling pin and let it gently slide into the baking pan. Press the dough well into the form and cut off the excess dough. Pierce the dough several times with a fork and cover with plastic food wrap. Place in the refrigerator for another 30 min. Preheat the oven to 180 °C / 356 °F.
- In the meantime put the pumpkin cubes in a saucepan, pour over the milk, add sugar, the vanilla pulp and the empty vanilla pod and bring it to boiling over a medium heat while constantly stirring. Reduce the heat slightly and let it simmer for about 15 min. with the lid slightly open, until the pumpkin is soft. Remove the pot from the heat, remove the vanilla pod and with a stick blender mix everything into a smooth purée. Put the lid on and allow to cool.
- Back to our dough: Cover the dough with baking paper and fill up the baking form with beans (or rice). Bake for 20 min. and allow to cool down. Reduce the oven temperature to 160 °C / 320 °F.
- Whisk the eggs, then combine them with the pumpkin puree. Pour the mixture into the baking pan and bake for about 30 min. until the filling is set but not entirely firm yet. Allow the pie to cool. Serve with whipped cream.