Good Gourd

The purée overflowith and another Holiday to eat pumpkin pie is fast on my heels, I just couldn’t be happier.

Pumpkin pie is one of those things rarely eaten but certainly loved. Perhaps it’s absence is why it’s so cherished by so many. I don’t care really. It’s the highlight of Thanksgiving dinners everywhere and a terrific way to eat pumpkin.

This year having so many varieties to search for the ultimate pie pumpkin, I wanted got the urge to try out a few different ideas stemming from the same great end result.

With the scraps I made these super Pumpkin Pie Poppers. It was a perfect way to taste test and to say I ate the whole pie, so with the winner, I made a fresh batch.

Of all the pumpkins collected from the patch, I found some that were fabulous in soups, some that were great for pasta and of course pie.

In the top three, the all classic Sugar Pie Pumpkin is always standard. It has a good texture, dense and creamy for pies.
Next, silky with a hint of melony sweetness was the Rouge Vif D’Etamps. This Cinderella pumpkin is not just charming for it’s good looks. Once it’s prepared for pie, it’ll make you and your guests all feel happy forever after.
Last it’s the queen of Venice. I know I just when on and on about how I love the Marina Di Chioggia but, as far as pumpkins go, it’s practically perfect in every way. This gourd tasted great on it’s own so naturally, it’s sweet and creamy texture worked beautifully in the gnocchi, cake, pie, pasta and CUSTARD that followed.

Essentially that’s what pumpkin pie is right, custard in a pastry shell? This notion got me to thinking about my own likes for pie and maybe others too. I’m more for the insides and not so much for the crust. I try, really I do to eat every last crusty crumb, but after all this testing, I was looking forward to my second, er, third Thanksgiving of the year, I thought maybe to just put the good stuff in a cup.

This revolutionary classic is so versatile and sure to please everyone at the Holiday table. Topped with whipped cream and fresh nutmeg or made extra decedent with a good sprinkling of sugar and a dusting of fresh cardamom, then brûléed to a sharp, crunchy perfection.
Ahhhhhh. Don’t even get me started on my love of crème brûlée.


1 1/2 cups Marina Di Chioggia Pumpkin Purée, roasted
1 1/2 cups Soy Milk
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1/3 cup Brown Sugar, packed
Pinch of Salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/8 tsp. Ground Cloves
Pinch Freshly Ground Nutmeg

Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Place the cleaned pumpkin in a large enough baking dish. Fill the dish with enough water to cover the bottom. Roast the pumpkin for 90 minutes or until soft.
Once cool enough to handle, remove the flesh from the skin and place in a food processor to purée until smooth.
In a large bowl, whisk together soy milk and cornstarch until smooth.
Add the pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices; mix well.

To make Vegan Pumpkin Custards:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Set a kettle of water to boil.
Pour the prepared custard mixture into six 3″ ramekins or similarly sized serving (tea/egg…) cups, about 3/4 full.
Place the cups on a baking dish with raised sides.
Transfer the dish to the oven and pour the boiled water into the baking dish to surround the ramekins, in a bain marie, about 3/4 the way up.
Bake for about 40 -45 minutes or until the centers are fairly firm and no longer jiggling.
Cool before serving and top with whipped cream and a dusting of freshly grated nutmeg.

To make Vegan Pumpkin Crème Brûlée:

Follow the instructions above for the custard, omitting the topping of the cream.
Once the custard cups have completely cooled, evenly top about 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar per cup along with a light sprinkling of ground cardamom, if desired.
Caramalize the sugar to a hard, golden, crackly crust with either a brûlée torch or under close watch, beneath the broiler.

To make Vegan Pumpkin Crème Caramel:

In small saucepan add stir 1 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup of water.
Heat over medium-high heat and stir until dissolved.
Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring as little as possible.
Brushing down the sides of pan as necessary with brush dipped in cold water, until deep golden in colour, about 10 minutes minutes.
Remove from heat and divide among the ramekins to coat bottoms and about 1/2″ deep.
Pour in the prepared custard and place in the baking dish, again creating the bain marie water bath.
Bake for at 350ºF for about 45 minutes and remove from the oven when the centers appear firm.
Allow the custards to cool in the water until it is tepid then remove to cool completely.
Slide a knife around the sides of each ramekin; place a serving plate over each dish, flipping gently to remove, letting caramel run onto plates.

To make Vegan Pumpkin Pie:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Prepare vegan pastry dough.
Roll out to a single crust, dock the pastry with a fork and blind bake for 10 – 15, or until light golden in colour.
Prepare the basic custard and pour into the crust.
Cover the edge crust with aluminium foil then continue to bake at 350ºF for 40 minutes.
Remove foil and return the pie to the oven for an additional 10 minutes of baking.
Allow the pie to cool completely before slicing.

For the Pumpkin Pie Poppers:

Treat the poppers the same as the pie, however roll the dough and cut into rounds with a flour rimmed glass.
Fit the cut pastry dough into mini muffin tins.
Bake at 350ºF for 15 minutes for until the crust is golden and the center of the custards are firm.
Allow to cool slightly before removing from the tins.

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I'm a chef, food stylist, cancer survivor, recipe developer, art director and photographer. My obsession for food, how it looks and makes me healthier has driven my passion for chronicling my journey through photos. Find more about me on: or my portfolio at:

12 thoughts on “Good Gourd”

  1. This post is getting me very excited for Thanksgiving. I have a pumpkin pie recipe in mind. These recipes are very inspiring. I’ll have to try one!

    I had no idea how many varieties of pumpkin there are. I usually end up getting my pumpkin from the can and that’s gotta change.

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