Life’s a Feast: Sweet Pumpkin Pie


As Kiwis, we have never really understood pumpkin pie. I first tried it when I was briefly living in New York many eons ago. Back then, to eat pumpkin as part of dessert seemed confusing to my relatively young and naive palate. However when I tried it for the first time, I was equally confused as to why I had never eaten this before! I have used butternut in this recipe as I find the flavour and texture more appealing than that of its bulbous cousin, the pumpkin. Plus it’s on special at New World. Traditionally eaten at Thanksgiving, this is a “must try” dessert, which is colourful and packed with sweet spices. Enjoy!


1 small culinary pumpkin or medium butternut squash
145g maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves (or 5 cloves, ground)
3 tbsp rum (optional)
2 large eggs, beaten
150ml evaporated milk
1 pack sweet short pastry


1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C. Cut pumpkin into about 8-12 pieces, and scoop out the seeds and fibres inside. Place skin-side up in a roasting dish with half a cup of water. Roast for about half an hour or until tender.

2. Keeping the oven on, take the pumpkin out and leave to cool slightly, then peel off the skin. Scoop the flesh into a food processor. Whizz until smooth, then put into a fine sieve or piece of muslin suspended over a bowl and drain for at least an hour.

3. Grease your pie tin with butter. Roll out the pastry until about 3mm thick and slightly larger than your 22cm round pie dish. Gently press dough down into the dish so that it lines the bottom and sides. (Be careful not to pull or stretch the dough.)

4. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans, or rice or pasta if you do not have these. Put in the oven for 15 minutes, then remove the paper and beans, and bake for another 5-10 minutes until the base is pale golden. Remove from the oven. Turn the oven down to 180C.

5. Meanwhile, put 400g drained pumpkin puree in a large bowl, and stir in the maple syrup, rum if using, and spices. Next mix in the eggs. Gradually stir in the evaporated milk until you have a thick, creamy consistency. Pour the mixture into the pastry case.

6. Bake for about 40 minutes, checking from half an hour onwards, until the filling is set, but still slightly wobbly in the centre. Allow to cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before serving with cream.