Grandma’s Magic Pumpkin Pie with Incredible Layers bakes into three distinct, incredibly light, and delicate custard-like layers. Also known in our family as Grandpa’s Favorite Pumpkin Pie, this recipe is a family tradition.
Not sure why, but…
At Thanksgiving, we always have two kinds of pumpkin pie.
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One is the traditional recipe on the back of Libby’s can of pumpkin and the other is Grandma’s Magic Pumpkin Pie. Her pie is a sort of mildly spiced custard pie with layers. Only a couple of spoonfuls of pumpkin are required.
Is this recipe a sponge pie?
It is. Technically, a sponge pie is the common name for a custard pie that separates into clearly defined layers.
Lemon sponge pies seem to be the most commonly known variety. However, we prefer this recipe made with pumpkin puree or butternut squash puree.
What can I substitute for the pumpkin?
This pie is known as “squash pie” in our family because of my tendency to substitute mashed butternut squash for the pumpkin. (It’s a little milder.) Although guests are sometimes put off by the name, it is full of memories and good flavors in our family, so we would rather not share anyway.
This is an excellent use for a small amount of leftover pumpkin puree:
Only 2-3 tablespoons of pumpkin puree are required. If you just made pumpkin muffins or cake and don’t know what to do with the leftover pumpkin, this is it.
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Can I use any kind of milk in this pie?
Yes. I used to always make it with skim milk. BUT. To no one’s surprise, it’s much better when made with 2% or whole milk.
Do I have to pre-bake the crust?
My grandma never pre-baked the crust. However, most custard pies are better (crispier and flakier) when the crust has been partially baked beforehand. I recommend it.
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How to make Grandma’s Magic Pumpkin Pie with incredible layers:
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- 2 egg whites
- 2-3 tablespoons pumpkin pureé (or baby food butternut squash)
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 egg yolks
- 2/3 c. sugar
- dash of salt
- 1/8 t. cinnamon
- generous pinch of nutmeg
- generous pinch of allspice
- 1-1/2 c. milk (only use 1 cup for 8-inch crust)
- 9-inch partially-baked pie crust
- Whip egg whites until stiff and set aside.
- Combine pumpkin, flour, egg yolks, sugar, salt and spices. Blend milk into this mixture adjusting amount according to the size of pie pan you are using. 1 c. is plenty for an 8-inch pie but you may need more for a 9-inch pie plate.
- Mix in egg whites carefully. Mixture should be completely blended but no more. (I use a hand mixer.)
- Pour into partially-baked pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Pie should be set with the slightest jiggle when done. The top should be a deep golden brown. If cooked too long, the filling will pull away from the crust as it cools.
- Allow to cool and refrigerate before serving. If the layers are distinct when you slice it, you did it right!
Regarding the crust:
Use a store-bought crust or your favorite recipe for the pie shell. Bake it lightly before adding the pie crust. By that I mean, the crust should be baked but not browned. To be honest, Grandma did not bake hers before adding the filling. I've tried it both ways and prefer a pre-baked crust.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 217 Total Fat: 7g Saturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 50mg Sodium: 145mg Carbohydrates: 33g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 18g Protein: 4g
This post was originally published in 2009. Updated and republished in 2019.