Kitchn Love Letters

This Is the Only Pumpkin Pie Recipe I’ll Make

published Nov 6, 2022
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I love a good pumpkin pie, although I really, really don’t like making it. In fact, I may go as far as saying I hate making pumpkin pie. I’ve lost count of how many times my pie came out of the oven with a giant crack through the center, or the bottom of the crust was soft and soggy. One year, trying to impress my now in-laws on Thanksgiving — whom I hadn’t even met yet! — I made a pumpkin pie. And even though I thought I checked all the signs it was ready to come out of the oven, it was dreadfully undercooked. Then there was the time in college when I made an ingredient swap in the recipe and the pie never set (this flub was totally on me, but I’m clearly still haunted by it). I won’t even get started on par-baking the crust. Oof.

All that to say, that pumpkin pie and I don’t have the best track record. There were enough failures added up that it really got in my head and kind of killed my confidence in the kitchen when it came to baking. And I’m saying this as someone who develops and tests recipes for a living, and shares tips about ways to make your pumpkin pie even better

So, I stopped making pumpkin pie, opted for store-bought instead (the Costco pumpkin pie, in case you’re wondering), and resigned myself to just never making it again.

That was before getting a work assignment that forever changed my view on baking pumpkin pie, and introduced me to the only pumpkin pie recipe I’ll make. Meet: shortcut mini pumpkin pies!

Credit: Joe Lingeman

The Pumpkin Pie That Changed Everything

I’m not someone who’s generally wowed by mini foods. But these little pies are an exception. Not only are they impossibly adorable, but they are also shockingly easy to make. I’m talking, the kind of easy that makes you feel like you either missed something along the way or got away with something. 

What I realized after baking these for the first time was that it was the pure simplicity of the recipe that really won me over. And not because I sought out the easiest recipe out there, but the fact that the simplicity got me out of my head. There was no second-guessing myself and no wavering confidence. I embraced the shortcuts and minimal ingredient list, and throughout the process was bubbling with excitement to see the finished product. And I went from vowing never to make pumpkin pie again to actually having a lot of fun making it. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Why These Mini Pumpkin Pies Are So Amazing

As for what keeps me coming back: This is a good pumpkin pie. Recipes that rely on grocery store shortcuts to trim the ingredient list don’t always deliver on flavor. But this one does! It’s creamy with a nice level of sweetness and plenty of warm spice in every bite. Plus, they look totally impressive. Whether it’s Thanksgiving or any other occasion, everyone gushes when they see these mini pies in the dessert spread. And they get gobbled up every single time. 

Until now, I’ve made these on my own, but this year my toddler is finally big enough to help out. He loves helping me cook and bake, and will love stamping out the pie dough and mixing the filling. I feel a whole new level of excitement about baking pumpkin pie because of it. The me from several years ago never would believe that one day I’d be saying I’m excited to make pumpkin pie.