In my house, we celebrated a little-known holiday over the weekend known as Canadian Thanksgiving (although in Canada we just call it Thanksgiving).

The more well-known version of Thanksgiving in America takes place in November - closer to Christmas - and the traditional turkey is more readily available.

As I'm not feeding too many people, I made do this year with just a turkey breast, which I found at our local supermarket.

Whether or not I can access a turkey is never a big deal for me. Thanksgiving dinner needs a few things to set it apart from any other Sunday roast, though, and one of those things (for me, anyway) is pumpkin pie.

Not traditional dessert

It's not really a traditional dessert in my hometown, but pumpkin pie is a special North American dessert which I started making when I was living and working in Toronto.

Now, I only make it once a year, but I feel like my Thanksgiving isn't complete without it.

You can make your own pumpkin puree (this is a great way to use the pulp from carving Halloween pumpkins), but you will always get the best results from tinned pumpkin puree.

This is really hard to find, though, especially in rural Ireland, so I bought mine online (you can get it from Fallon & Byrne in Dublin or Lala Foods online shop).

Though it isn't a common dessert in Ireland, pumpkin pie is a real crowd pleaser. It's not dissimilar to a baked custard tart - the only difference is the custard, in this case, is mixed with the pumpkin puree.

You can use a shop-bought shortcrust pastry here to cut down on time, but I like making my own and adding a bit of sugar to sweeten it up.

Also, like a custard tart, when the filling is cooked through, there will still be a slight jiggle in the middle of the pie. As it cools, the filling will firm up, but remain lovely and soft (a pudding texture).

Classic pumpkin pie

The filling for this pie is similar to a baked custard, with the addition of pumpkin puree. / Janine Kennedy

Serves 8


For the pastry:

128g plain flour

125g cold, cubed butter

3 Tbsp caster sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

For the filling:

1 400g tin pumpkin puree (or 400g homemade pureed pumpkin)

250ml cream

1 tsp vanilla

200g light brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp mixed spice

Pinch of salt


1 Make the pastry: in a bowl, add the cold cubed butter, caster sugar and flour. Rub them together with your fingers until the butter is fully incorporated into the flour and the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

2 Add a little bit of the beaten egg, mixing with your hands, until the dough comes together into a ball. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

3 Preheat the oven to 180°C (no fan). Make the filling: in a large bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, eggs, vanilla, brown sugar and mixed spice. Add the cream and whisk until combined.

4 On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into a large circle and lay it on to a deep tart tin. Press the pastry into the sides of the tin and crimp the edges (having high edges will lower the risk of any filling escaping).

5 Pour the filling into the prepared pastry. Place the tart tin on a baking sheet (in case there's any spillage) and gently place in the preheated oven.

6 Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and there is just a slight jiggle in the middle of the tart. Cool completely.

7 Serve with a generous dollop of whipped cream. This tart will keep (chilled) for up to four days.