This steam oven pumpkin pie comes courtesy of my gorgeous friend in California, Rachel. A pastry chef and food stylist by trade, Rachel’s recipes are foolproof and utterly delicious, and we’ve bonded over our love for steam oven baking!
Though I love the food and traditions of Thanksgiving, it’s not a holiday we celebrate in Australia. Because of this, when it comes to this quintessential Thanksgiving dessert, I defer to the experts and embrace Rachel’s tradition instead of my own.
Currently just a ‘secret’ last minute recipe for my Steam & Bake email subscribers, this post will be updated with more details and photographs soon.
Steam Oven Pumpkin Pie
For the crust
For the pumpkin custard filling
- 2 cups pumpkin puree 15 oz; butternut squash or pumpkin, either freshly roasted and pureed or canned; see notes
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 cup half-and-half or single/pouring cream
Make the crumb crust
- In a medium bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs, sugar, melted butter and salt until well combined. The mixture should look like wet sand and hold together when pinched between your fingers. If it doesn’t, add more melted butter, a spoonful at a time, until it does.1 3/4 cups ginger cookie crumbs, 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, 3 oz unsalted butter, ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- Pour the crumbs into a 9-inch (23cm) pie plate and press into an even layer, starting with the center and radiating outward. The corners of the pie crust often tend to be too thick. To avoid this, press a drinking glass or measuring cup along the inner bottom edge of the pie plate to thin out the corners of the crust and force it up the sides.
- Once your crumb crust is nicely packed down, smooth it out (a few bumps are fine), and chill in the freezer while you make the filling.
Make the pumpkin filling
- Preheat oven to combi steam setting, 350°F/180°C. If your oven has variable steam settings, use 50% steam. If it doesn't, don’t worry. Just set to combi steam at the correct temperature and the oven will figure out the humidity for you .
- Combine pumpkin puree with sugars, syrup, spices and salt in a saucepan and set over medium heat. Stir frequently, scraping the bottom of the pan, until hot and slightly caramelized, about 4-6 minutes. The mixture will thicken, get darker in color and take on a shine; if it sputters, it’s done. Remove from heat to cool slightly.2 cups pumpkin puree, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons maple syrup, 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
- Whisk the eggs together with the half-and-half or cream in a small bowl, then slowly whisk into the warm pumpkin mixture until smooth.2 eggs, 1 cup half-and-half
- Pour into the prepared pie crust and bake just until the center of the pie remains wobbly, approximately 40-45 minutes. Check for doneness by shaking the pie lightly but quickly. If the filling sloshes around it’s not done; it should be just a little jello-like in the center. If it looks completely solid, it’s overdone (don’t worry, just make extra whipped cream for serving!).
- Remove pie from oven and set on a wire rack to cool completely. The filling will set and firm up as it cools. Serve with freshly whipped cream spiked with maple syrup.
- Rachel’s advice (which I happen to totally agree with): you can use canned pumpkin but if you’re going to roast your own pumpkin for pie, butternut is the way to go. Pumpkins (even ‘sugar pie’ pumpkins) can be bitter or stringy, but butternut is beautifully sweet and smooth every time, and satisfyingly bright orange. Pumpkin puree can be made up to 5 days in advance and kept in the fridge, or up to 3 months in advance and frozen.
- Rachel uses Anna’s Ginger Thins for her cookie crumbs. I use the same, or ‘gingernut’ cookies which are available readily in Australian supermarkets but hard to find in the USA. You can also use Biscoff cookies, which are less gingery and more cinnamon-y, but very delicious.
- Unbaked pie crust is happy, tightly wrapped in the freezer, for months. So you can definitely get ahead with that step.
- Baked pie keeps up to 48 hours at cool room temperature.
- A lot of people chill pumpkin pie, and some even prefer to eat it straight from the fridge. A freshly baked pumpkin pie doesn’t need to be refrigerated but if you’re concerned about food safety, cover and refrigerate after the pie has cooled completely. Rachel recommends baking the day before, or morning of the day you plan to serve so it cools slowly. You’ll have the lighter texture and fuller flavor of a freshly baked pie without it sitting out too long.