Joyce’s Pumpkin Pie

“Every successful marriage needs one flexible partner,” said my friend Bob. Then he added, “Jody is the one in ours.”

We have a similar situation which explains why Jerri has been using Joyce’s pumpkin pie recipe for well over forty years despite the fact that her favorite pumpkin pie recipe was the one she got from her Aunt Anna. I don’t like that recipe. It has nutmeg and cloves in it.

To stop the whining, grouching and pouting, she switched to her sister-in-law’s recipe, and we have had wonderful pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving for over four decades. Joyce believed in modest servings, so the recipe she wrote out for Jerri made an eight-inch pie. We don’t even own an eight-inch pie plate.

Jerri adjusted the ingredients to make a nine-inch pie and four custard cups filled about half full. Who knows, you may have a guest who doesn’t like pie crust but enjoys the flavor of pumpkin custard. Or you may just have to eat the custard yourself.


2 cups pumpkin
1 1/3 cups light brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. allspice
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
2 cups evaporated milk
Whipping cream, sugar and vanilla for topping


Line a nine-inch pie plate with a crust. Here is a simple recipe. Preheat the oven to 475º.

Mix all the ingredients for the custard filling together until you have a smooth batter. Fill the unbaked pie crust and pour the extra custard batter into the custard cups.

Put the pie and custard cups on the middle rack in the oven and bake at 475º for ten minutes. Reduce the heat to 375º and continue baking the pie for another forty minutes.

The custard cups will be done in about twenty minutes. A table knife inserted in a cup or near the center of the pie will come out clean when the custard is done.

Remove from the oven and cool the pie on a rack. Refrigerate as soon as the pie is cool and serve with plenty of whipped cream.

It takes about three minutes to make whipped cream with an electric mixer or fifteen minutes with two table forks manned in shifts by two guys who insisted on whipped cream when there was no mixer to be had. All you need is a cup of cream, a tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

NOTES: One of the best things about this recipe is that you get to test the custard by eating a warm cupful before you even take the pie from the oven.

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