Papa’s Pumpkin Pie

It’s that time of year again and expats are scrambling to make a Pumpkin Pie!  It’s not so easy to figure out on your own.  And why bother when I have already done it in Turkey! I must admit, I never baked a pumpkin pie from scratch until I moved to Turkey and it was the best I ever had!  Prior to that, I always used Libby’s Pumpkin, evaporated milk, and added my own spices.  Of course, I make my own pie crust.  Pillsbury’s pre-made is for quiche only!

So, here goes . . .

This should be a 2 day process so that you enjoy yourself.  I highly suggest a little Turkish wine while preparing it!

Day 1 – Go to your local Pazar.  Ask which is “en tatli.”  They will lie and tell you that whatever they have is the sweetest.  It is all good fun.  Buy half of a pumpkin.  They will think you are absolutely crazy. Don’t allow them cut it or skin it! Now they will invite their friends over to see the crazy foreigner who wants the big piece with the skin!  LEt them enjoy their laugh.  Bring it home.

Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C).  Remove seeds. Line a flat pan (the one that comes with the oven) with parchment paper.  Place pumpkin cut side down on the pan. Bake it until you can easily pierce it w a skinny knife (at least 30 minutes.) Let cool. Dig the pumpkin out with a spoon.  Puree the pumpkin w a food processor or mixer. Refrigerate what u need for the pie and freeze the rest. It makes fabulous soup later!


Day 2 – Make the Pie!

Open a second bottle of wine.  Drink.

  1. Crust –

I use the Crisco recipe above.  Crisco makes it fluffy.  Butter is more tasty to some, but not as nice a texture.  If you can’t get Crisco from the Commissary (and I never figured out the Turkish equivalent, although I know it exists) use cold butter.  It is important to work quickly!  You can always add more flour as you roll it out.  But you can’t add more water once you form the ball.  It is better to be too wet than too dry.  Also very important is to put ice in the water before you add it to the mixture.

My favorite flour in Turkey is this one:


My technique:  Whisk flour and salt.  Add butter (Crisco) in small pieces.  Use 2 butter knives to cut it (mix it) down to pea-sized, as mixed together as you can.  Do not use your hands to mix it as the heat from your hands will melt it too quickly and make it clump!  Slowly add the ice water (usually I use more than recipe says).  As you add in small bits of water, fluff it around with a fork.  Once done adding water, roll it into a ball.  Wrap it in plastic.  Refrigerate. 

  1. Gather the Ingredients for the Pumpkin Filling:
  • 3 large eggs (important not to use extra large)
  • 2 cups fresh pumpkin puree or 1 – 15 ounce can (425 grams) pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream  (krema)
  • 1/2 cup (110 grams) light brown sugar (mix white sugar with a little bit of pekmez to get the texture right.  If you don’t want to try the pekmez, just use white sugar.  Turkish sugar is very different from that in the U.S.  I highly suggest using this one:  Bal-Kupu-Toz-Seker-Kristal-Kg_RI50824FT2MF209887
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (Tarçın – about 2 turkish teaspoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (zencefil – about 1 turkish teaspoon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (karanfil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

I usually add just a tiny amount of Nutmeg (muskat), though many recipes don’t call for it.  This usually has to be bought in those specialty shops whose name has escaped me, and comes as a whole nut.  So you would need a tiny grater for it.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C). 
  1. Make the Pumpkin Filling:If you are going to use the pekmez, mix the sugar and pekmez first in a bowl.  Pekmez is probably not necessary.In a large bowl lightly whisk the eggs.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.Roll out the Dough and put into pie pans. 
  2. Bake!  Pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell and place on a large baking pan to catch any spills.  Bake the pie for about 45 to 55 minutes or until the filling is set and the crust has browned (the center will still look wet).  (A knife inserted about 1 inch (2.54 cm) from side of pan will come out almost clean.)

Read more:
The link has videos, and crust recipes.

You may want to search my page for Thanksgiving to read about how to enjoy the holiday in Turkey.

Afiyet Olsun!

PS – I don’t even know if my papa like Pumpkin Pie, but it seemed to rhyme!


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