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Grandma Carol’s Pumpkin Pie


When I was planning Thanksgiving recipes to post, I knew that my Grandma Carol’s pumpkin pie had to make an appearance!

I am about to reveal a shocking secret, but first, I have to tell you the story behind it!

My Grandma didn’t spend a lot of holidays here in North Carolina, as she lived in Illinois. But whenever she did, I always remember her making pumpkin pie. I actually remember quite a fight she put up one year when she thought she wouldn’t be able to make her pumpkin pie. Needless to say, that pumpkin pie still made an appearance!

Now that my Grandma lives down here, I was overjoyed by the idea to make it with her and find out the secret recipe behind this recipe! I go to her, with my pen and paper in hand, ready to be enlightened with this glorious recipe, when she tells me the secret. She says, “I follow the ingredients on the back of the can.” That’s it. That’s it?! The secret recipe is mass-produced by the thousands on the back of a pumpkin puree can?!?

So I thought, surely it must be the crust then!

Nope! She says, “I’ve always found the roll-out store-bought kind provides the best crust.”

Shocked as I was, tradition is tradition! Well, I did make a few changes… I mean, how could I not! I actually added a little brown sugar to the mix! I really like brown sugar, it’s probably my sugar of choice, because I think there’s a large depth of flavor in it. I like the thick molasses notes in brown sugar, which seems a bit more holiday to me. I also added a pinch of salt to help brighten the sweet flavors!

Despite being shocked by the family secret, this pie is 110% my Grandma. She may not have invented the recipe, but she made it her own nonetheless! Making this pie with her might have been my favorite memory of this holiday season.

This brings me to my final Thanksgiving tip. Making new recipes is all fun and games, but try to have at least one classic traditional dish for your family, whatever that may be. I may have spiced up the stuffing, tweaked the mashed potatoes, but I made sure my Grandma’s pumpkin pie made an appearance at the table. Bringing those traditions to the table ensures that every family member, near or far, makes it to the table as well. Especially this year, when the holidays are so different.

On a side note, if you are using a deep-dish premade pie crust, this recipe will make one large pie. If you can only find the thinner, smaller pie crusts, this recipe will make two! Double the pie, double the deliciousness!


1 can of pumpkin puree

1-12 ounce can of evaporated milk

1/2 cup of sugar

1/4 cup of brown sugar

2 eggs

1-1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon of vanilla

A pinch of salt

1 unbaked pie crust

Whipped Cream:

1 cup of heavy cream

2 tablespoons-1/4 cup of powdered sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste

Pinch of salt

If your pie crust is frozen, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator!

Preheat oven to 425-degrees. Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, both sugars, pumpkin pie spice, eggs, salt, and vanilla in a bowl. Whisk everything together slowly, as to not splash the milk everywhere!

Take the pie crust out of the fridge and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Pour the pumpkin filling carefully into the pie shell up, about 1/4 of an inch from the top. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 350-degrees and bake for another 45-50 minutes. The filling will be slightly jiggly, but firm to the touch. Allow to cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes, and then cover and place in the fridge for two hours!

To make the whipped cream, add about a cup of heavy cream in a bowl. Using a hand mixer, begin to whip on medium speed. When soft peaks begin to form, add in 2 tablespoons-1/4 cup of powdered sugar, salt, and a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste. Continue to whip the cream until it’s firm and set!

You can just dollop on top the pumpkin pie, but I like to pipe around the edges of the pie to make everything look a little bit fancier for the holidays! It is also a perfect excuse to hide any imperfections that may happen on the pie!

Piping the whipped cream around the edges hides any cracks that form!
Sprinkle some cinnamon!
Slice it up! Yum!

Now, this is what the holidays are all about! Good food, better memories, and the absolute best company! From my kitchen to yours, Happy Holidays!

-Holly Michelle

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