I love that I’ve posted two entries that have both deviated from my NaBloWriMo plan – and it’s only the second day. Typical. But I assure you over the next few days you will get your fair share of apples.


This past Saturday I found myself alone in the house. After the initial shock of the unfamiliar sound of silence and reveling in the peaceful moment I turned on the oven, cranked up the tunes and set myself for the task at hand – create a winning pumpkin pie. You see, somehow I got myself into a pie contest for the Queen Anne Farmers Market. I blame twitter – re-tweet with caution for it could get you signed up for pie contests.

Really though the contest was fun and I need very little, if any, excuse to bake a pumpkin pie.


Let me quickly point out that my pie was not the winner – making it therefore, a loser. However, I am still going to share the recipe because I rather enjoy it – particularly for breakfast. Pumpkins are a vegetable thereby making it a healthy dish. (Don’t you just love my logic?)

I knew I was taking a chance with this pie. With creativity being a category for the judging I thought briefly about toppings and chocolate or just about anything else that would win me points. I just couldn’t do it. To me there is not much that beats classic pumpkin pie – especially Grandma’s pie.

So it was her classic recipe I turned to as it is always the favorite item on our Thanksgiving table. Of course I tweaked a few things to make the recipe reflect my style. The crust was Grandma’s recipe using olive oil instead of canola oil. This substitution gave the foundation a hearty, savory flavor. The pumpkin puree – from a can because that’s how Grandma would do it – was infused with bay, vanilla bean and the traditional spices. My pie was subtly sweet with the addition of a dark Muscovado sugar.


The top of the pie was covered in Fall leaves made from an all butter crust and brushed with various egg or cream washes so they would each be a different shade. I served the pie with a Maple whipped cream.

It’s a winner – well not technically – you be the judge.

The Losing Pumpkin Pie


2 cups Flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup cream

In a medium bowl combine the flour and salt. Stir in olive oil and cream. And *poof* pie dough is done. The dough will be wet. Press into pie pan and bake for 30-40 minutes at 360* until completely baked but the color will remain light. Pour in pumpkin pie filling (below) then continue baking until custard is slightly loose in the center. 350* approximately 35-45 minutes.

Pumpkin Pie Filling

2 cups pumpkin puree

3 eggs

1/2 cup cream

1/2 cup Muscovado sugar (you can easily substitute dark brown or even light brown sugar)

1/2 tsp salt

1 dried bay leaf

1 vanilla bean

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp fresh nutmeg

Combine the puree, cream, sugar and spices in a medium sauce pot then place on low heat. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the puree and throw the pod in there as well. Cook the filling for about 10-15 minutes. Turn off the heat then let it sit for an hour or two – this isn’t vitally necessary but allows the flavors to meld. You could also do this the day ahead.
Re-warm the filling then stir in the eggs taking care not to cook the eggs. I like to put warm filling into a warm crust because it cuts down on the baking time.
Bake as directed above then let cool completely.

Garnish with Fall leaves using your favorite pie crust recipe (you could use the same crust recipe as directed above but I find that it doesn’t roll out very easily even when rolling between two piece of parchment. I used my Perfect Pie crust – all butter)

I used a variety of washes to get the differing colors on the leaves. 1. one egg and one yolk whisked together 2. one white and 1  tbl. water 3. Heavy Cream

Some of the leaves were sprinkled with white sugar, some turbinado and the rest, Vanilla sugar – and of course a little sprinkle of salt over all of them.

Serve with Maple whipped cream – simply add 1-2 tbl to 2 cups whipped cream.


25 Responses to “Pumpkin Pie”

  1. Jocelyn Teo

    i’ve never seen a more lovely and more delicious ‘loser’ pie. if all ‘loser’ pastries turn out that way, may i bake lots and lots of ‘losers’ too!! lol 🙂

  2. Aran

    what a beautiful pumpkin pie ashley! we have been making it since early september i think, just from all the holiday excitement that kids feel. lovely!

  3. Optimista

    Hey, you said you reserved the right to post about whatever you felt like! This looks right on task to me.

    And the pie looks simply delectable. And gorgeous. Drool.

  4. Connie

    That large vanilla-speckled leaf in the top picture is calling out to me, I keep scrolling back up to look at it! I love the idea of the olive oil, the dark muscovado, and the addition of that bay leaf. Excited to try this.

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Connie – That one called me too – until I ate it! I’m not a fan of super sweet desserts. This pie has a nice savory quality to it – at least I think so. 🙂 Let me know if you try it.

  5. Talley

    Ha! I love the leaf topping. I wonder if there’d be a way to mimic the colors of fallen leaves here even more (although there already is some nice variation in color). really great idea!

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      I was expecting a bit more variation too but I refused to use any sort of un-natural coloring. I could have used different doughs too – some with more sugar or baking soda to increase the browning.
      Do you have any ideas? I would love to hear.

  6. dj

    sounds divine! i’ll put it on my list of what to bake this month. thanks to Grandma. and to you for the consistent inspiration: recipes. stories. photography.

  7. alice

    Although I did not try the winning pie, I have tried your pumpkin pie and I must say, it is the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.

  8. nina

    Oh wow, that is just beautiful…the individual leaves of pastry!!!! Would not mind serving that at my table!!

  9. Lorna

    It was the prettiest pie on the table, and I especially adored the pastry leaves on top! So crunchy and delicious.

  10. Gerald

    As someone who has been lucky enough to eat Grandma’s pie for years, I can tell you, it never looked like this. You’re making me eager for Thanksgiving again!

  11. Steph

    I love your cut outs. They make the pie look so much more festive. That pie looks like a winner to me! I say the same thing about bananas.. it’s the only way I can justify eating half the loaf myself..haha

  12. ifat

    this is so creative and I’m sure it’s very tasty,
    if this didn’t win, what did???!!!
    I have a nice pumpkin sitting on my kitchen counter, wasn’t sure what I’m going to do with it, now I know!
    Thanks for inspiring me.

  13. eM

    I don;t generally have much enthusiasm for traditional pumpkin pie – but this one I think I could get excited about! Olive Oil – Hello!

  14. Kylie Simpson

    I just put your recipe on my blog for an aussie friend and was wondering what type of flour you used, all purpose I’m assuming?


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