Andover Cooks Share Favorites: Pumpkin Pecan Pie

"Everyone looked forward to John's Pie"

By Sandra Graves

This has been a favourite Thanksgiving Day dessert in our family for decades. My husband’s mother, Cordelia Graves, had a light hand with pastry and was an imaginative pie maker and baker. My husband, John, and his sister, Ann, inherited her talent. Brother Jim, in Texas, contributed the pecans from his own pecan trees. John Arthur, Cordelia’s appreciative husband, grew the pumpkins.

While my husband, John, passed away a year ago this November 10th, the tradition of the pumpkin pecan pie on the Thanksgiving table lives on, as does our thankfulness for our family and friends, and the gifts of the land. We miss him, but his loving, gentle spirit is always with us.

Pumpkin Pecan Pie
Makes one, deep-dish, single-crust pie.

This pumpkin pecan pie recipe was a family favorite, which John Graves always made for Thanksgiving dinner. Photo: Shelley Geoghegan

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Use your favorite flaky pie crust recipe for a 9” deep-dish pie plate. Do not pre-bake or pierce.

3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg

2 cups cooked, strained, pumpkin (or use 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree)
2/3 cup brown sugar (light or dark depending on taste)
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup evaporated milk mixed with ½ cup water (or 1½ cup light cream or whole milk)

2 tablespoons butter or margarine (melted)
¼ cup brown sugar (light or dark)
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
¾ cup of pecans, whole halves or chopped, as preferred (more can be used depending on how you decide to arrange them)

For the filling, combine the sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg together in a separate small bowl. Next, in a large mixing bowl, blend together the pumpkin, brown sugar, beaten eggs, and milk/water. Then, add the sugar and spice mixture to the pumpkin mixture. Blend well, but do not beat. Pour the filling into the prepared unbaked deep-dish pie shell and bake in the preheated 425 degree (hot) oven for about 40 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the middle of the pie should come out clean.

Meanwhile, prepare the topping by thoroughly combining the melted butter, brown sugar, and grated orange rind. Mix in the pecans.

Remove the pie from the oven, sprinkle the pecan topping either around the edges, in a design, or over the entire top of the pie, and return to the oven for about 10 minutes longer or until lightly browned. Remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool on a rack.

Enjoy with a dollop of whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or just as is!