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Pumpkin Cream Pie

If you're planning on making this for Thanksgiving, start it early in the day. The pie needs four hours to set, but the refrigerator does just about all the work.

  • Servings: 8
  • Yield: Makes one 9-inch pie
Pumpkin Cream Pie

Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 2010


For the Gingersnap Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups ground gingersnaps (from about 25 cookies)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

For the Pumpkin Cream Filling

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 cups solid-pack pumpkin (from one 15-ounce can)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, whisked to medium peaks
  • Garnish: freshly grated nutmeg


  1. Make the gingersnap crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine gingersnaps, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Stir in melted butter. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch metal pie dish. Refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes. Bake until crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

  2. Make the pumpkin cream filling: Bring milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, 1/4 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

  3. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks with cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl.

  4. Gradually whisk about 1/2 cup milk mixture into yolk mixture. Gradually whisk in remaining milk mixture. Return entire mixture to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until bubbling in center, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Immediately whisk in pumpkin. Whisk in butter.

  5. Strain filling through a fine sieve into a clean bowl. Pour into gingersnap crust, smoothing the top with an offset spatula. Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours. When ready to serve, top with whipped cream, and garnish with nutmeg.

Cook's Note

Pie and whipped cream can be refrigerated, separately, overnight.

Reviews (35)

  • Jennie Frost 28 Nov, 2013

    I had the same soup-consistency problem after setting it overnight, but fear not: it can be saved if you still have time to set it again. Poor the filling into a double boiler and warm it. In a separate bowl, whisk an egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water. Add some of the warmed filling to the yolk mix and whisk until smooth. Combine yolk mix with the rest of the filling. Warm it over low heat and keep stirring until it thickens. Pour it back into the pie crust and refrigerate.

  • Christopher Robison 14 Dec, 2012

    Hi, just wondering do you think the recipe could work as cupcakes? i made it and loved it.

  • Dynamom 25 Nov, 2011

    Unfortunately I didn't read any of the reader comments until it was too late and my pie was soupy too. We still ate some at Thanksgiving (after I convinced people to look beyond the soupiness!)
    Then I scraped the rest into a lidded container and stuck it in the freezer, My kids and I have been enjoying it delicious!

  • JBuckbye 25 Nov, 2011

    This pie was incredible! Best pumpkin pie ever. I didn't have any trouble with the pie setting up. I did make one substitution and that was canned evaporated milk instead of regular whole milk. Everyone who tasted it raved!

  • phoebeF 24 Nov, 2011

    This was a yummy alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie. It's lighter and more custard-like than the usual. Don't be afraid about it not setting! I am not a baker or cook and mine came out perfectly. I agree with the other reviewers, don't pay attention to the "2 minutes;" watch the video and you'll see how it thickens on the stove, that's when you remove it from the heat. This is a great pie to make the day before.

  • trish5 24 Nov, 2011

    NellyP is EXACTLY right. I have made this pie twice. The first time I had the soupy consistancy like many other reviewers had. But then I kept the filing on the stove longer -- for just about 4 minutes -- whisking constantly, and in an instant it went from soupy to almost custardy in consitancy. At that point I took it off the stove, strained it and filled the pie. It set perfectly. Just ignore the "2 Minutes" in the directions andkeep on whisking until you see that change in thickness.

  • NellyP 23 Nov, 2011

    The recipe has cornstarch! Cornstarch will not thicken in the refrigerator it has to thicken on the stove! When you have mixed the eggs mixture with the milk mixture make sure to keep the heat on medium and whisk your little arm off until it thickens. It takes about 4 to 5 mins you will start to notice the texture change about after 2 mins and then do not stop whisking until it is a thick creamy texture then you can add the pumpkin.

  • atoddharlin 23 Nov, 2011

    To those having a hard time getting pie to set up your eggs might be too fresh. Sounds crazy but an old baking trick. Buy your eggs well in advance of using them!

  • Juliacr 23 Nov, 2011

    This recipe was a rare fail from Martha Stewart. I was dubious about this pie after reading several reviews stating that the filling did not set, but I decided to try anyway. After I returned the cream mixture to the saucepan and was whisking away, waiting for it to bubble, it suddenly seized up and thickened to mousse consistency. I finished the steps anyway, but the filling wasn't that good and I had 2 cups too much. I'm angry that MS hasn't responded to any like reviews. It would help.

  • KevinKaye 21 Nov, 2011

    also, if you strain it, it makes it incredible smooth! so don't skip that step. if you think it's too thick to strain, trust me, it's not. just be vigorous with shaking it so that the filling works its way through the sieve or strainer.

  • KevinKaye 21 Nov, 2011

    also, the recipe says to leave it on the stove for "about" two minutes. part of cooking is being able to adjust based on your own conditions and cooking appliances. you need to get a feel for it. in your case, it apparently needs more than two minutes. no recipe is that precise.

  • KevinKaye 21 Nov, 2011

    i have made this recipe the last two years and will make it again this year. it has never failed to come out perfect, so i'm not sure what you're doing wrong. sets up perfectly every time and it is absolutely delicious. you could almost use the filling as a mouse in a dessert cup with layers of crumbled gingersnaps and whipped cream.

  • Mareillia 21 Nov, 2011

    This pie has become part of my Family's holiday tradition. It is, by far, the best pumpkin pie we've ever tasted.
    Thank you, Martha!

    Happy Holidays to all!

  • callietapt 23 Oct, 2011

    I have tried this recipe two years in a row now and it does not set up! It's just like a soupy pudding. I just read all of these reviews and watched the video and now see the problem. Step 4 only says to leave the filling on the stove for 2 minutes. It does not get thick like on the video, it sounds like you need to leave it on the stove cooking for at least 5 minutes to thicken. Disappointed once again! MS needs to better test their recipes before going to print, especially Thanksgiving ones!

  • SneakyDucky 15 Oct, 2011

    Oops step FOUR holds the key not three

  • SneakyDucky 15 Oct, 2011

    It took me three tries to get this right. The KEY is in step three. Watching the video helped me understand what I was doing wrong......gonna eat it tonight! Can't wait

  • grazianolinda 8 Oct, 2011

    I, too, followed the recipe almost to a T, I used homebaked pumpkin instead of canned. I thought that is why I had pumpkin pudding instead of pie. I am glad to hear that I am not alone. I will definitely make this again because the flavor was so good, especially the crust. I will follow the suggestion to whisk a lot more and see what happens. Otherwise, I will happily serve pumpkin pudding again :) (I can't stand pumpkin pie, I am so glad to have found one that I can enjoy).

  • cassiew 9 Dec, 2010

    I agree with everyone. Watched the episode and followed the directions. It was not set after being in the fridge overnight. Very disappointed. I was super excited to have this "easy" pumpkin pie variation for Thanksgiving. It would be nice to know what is missing!

  • chrystiescott 28 Nov, 2010

    Mine didn't set up either! I followed the directions exactly and watched the video. It didn't thicken on the stove as much as the video results showed. I allowed plenty of time in the refrigerator (overnight!) but it was still liquid in the morning. Don't know what I did wrong. The recipe sounded fantastic with the gingersnap crust and I would like to try again for Christmas if I knew what went wrong.

  • EllenNYC 25 Nov, 2010

    I made the pie and was disappointed. The filling did not set. It did thicken up on the stove at the end of step 4, but after being in the fridge for 5 hours it did not set and still hasn't. I used 2% milk instead of whole milk.

  • seedlady 25 Nov, 2010

    As my son said, this pie looked like something the cat made. I was attracted to the recipe because of the gingersnap crust. Mine also did not set even though I followed the recipe exactly. There must be something missing in the directions. We ate it but I will never, ever make it again. Blah! Rarely does a Martha recipe fail this badly.

  • Tuulikki2 24 Nov, 2010

    I was determined to make this recipe, and I'm jumping up and down excited that I have succeeded!! I am pretty sure that it set up because I wisked the crap out of it, getting it thick and air-filled. The recipe really needs to emphasize the importance of the whipping action and being sure to wisk air into it at each step of the process. Mine was thick and custard-y by the time I poured it into the crust. And - it tastes great. Don't be afraid, just use the wisk intensely!!

  • GuyanaGirl 24 Nov, 2010

    I read these comments and must add that I had the same problem with a pie that didn't set. I thought it was me. I was going to try again, but think I'll just go with a different recipe. Glad I'm not alone!

  • Tuulikki2 22 Nov, 2010

    @marit522 - I've been studying the recipe, since it sounds like a lot of people have struggled to get it to set up. Did you pour the milk mix into the egg mix, slowly, into a bowl and then transfer the entire mixture back to the heat? I was confused by the way it was written and had to read that section a few times to understand what to do.

  • marit522 22 Nov, 2010

    I followed this to a T as well and got a big dish of soup. I made sure to be particular in the directions after reading all the failed attempts. Ugh! What did you guys do different? I am convinced something is missing from the steps.

  • marit522 22 Nov, 2010

    I followed this to a T as well and got a big dish of soup. I made sure to be particular in the directions after reading all the failed attempts. Ugh! What did you guys do different? I am convinced something is missing from the steps.

  • marit522 22 Nov, 2010

    I followed this to a T as well and got a big dish of soup. I made sure to be particular in the directions after reading all the failed attempts. Ugh! What did you guys do different? I am convinced something is missing from the steps.

  • beachgirlpgh 17 Nov, 2010

    I jjust made this, it turnedj out great! I did not strain mine iether, it was too thick.

  • jenjcraw 13 Nov, 2010

    I just made this. It set up fine. You have to make sure to cook the milk, egg, cornstarch mixture until it thickens. It changed all of a sudden from soupy to pudding. I turned off the heat and stirred in the pumpkin and butter. I did not strain it- Yummy

  • greeneggsandcakes 9 Nov, 2010

    Surprise! I tested this recipe on two pies last night and I woke up to pumpkin soup in a gingersnap crust. Total waste of ingredients and time. I was excited about this recipe, also.

  • greeneggsandcakes 9 Nov, 2010

    Surprise! I tested this recipe on two pies last night and I woke up to pumpkin soup in a gingersnap crust. Total waste of ingredients and time. I was excited about this recipe, also.

  • rieger1us 31 Oct, 2010

    Followed recipe and the pie filling never set...what happened. I did not add the heavy whipping cream cause I thought this was for the topping. Was this my mistake???

  • hollygb22 29 Oct, 2010

    I made this last night as a test run for a possible Thanksgiving dessert. I'm an avid baker and cook. I follwed the recipe to a T. The filling never set. I refrigerated it over night and woke up to a nice gingersnap crust with pumpkin cream soup in the middle. The filling never thickened. Complete disaster and such a waste of all the ingredients.

  • kerfuffle 27 Oct, 2010

    Mine didn't set well. What did I do wrong?

  • greenvolcomlion 18 Oct, 2010

    Made this last night. AMAZING! and such a hit with everyone!

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