A twist on the much-loved American holiday dessert, made using a non-traditional method. Instead of a smooth, set pumpkin custard pie, this is more textured but just as delicious. And…spoiler alert…chefs do use a microwave! Here ‘Chef Mike’ helps us produce an easy and great-tasting filling that is all pumpkin! 

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  • 150 g (5. oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 135 g (5 oz) caster (superfine) sugar

  • pinch of salt

  • 1 egg

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 320 g (11 oz) self-raising flour, sieved

  • 2 tablespoons gingerbread spice

  • 1 quantity Pumpkin filling cooled

  • To finish

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 4 tablespoons milk

  • sprinkle of caster (superfine) sugar

  • 1/ Put the butter, sugar and salt in the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the ingredients on low speed for 8–10 minutes until pale and smooth, scraping down the inside of the bowl with a spatula to ensure the butter is evenly mixed.

  • 2/ Add the egg and egg yolk and mix well, then add the sieved flour and gingerbread spice. Continue to mix for 30 seconds until the dough comes together.

  • 3/ Cut four 40 cm (16 in) square pieces of baking paper. Divide the dough in half. Using a rolling pin and lots of flour to prevent sticking, roll out one piece of dough between two squares of paper. Working quickly as the dough is very soft, roll it out until it is about 1 cm (. in) thick and roughly fits the size of the paper. Place the sheet of pastry into the fridge and repeat with the remaining dough and two pieces of paper. Chill both sheets of pastry in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes.

  • 4/ Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F). Lightly grease a 22.5 cm (9 in) ceramic pie dish.

  • 5/ Take one of the sheets of pastry from the fridge. Quickly remove both pieces of baking paper and use your fingers to start pressing the pastry into the pie dish. Work as fast as you can, as the pastry goes soft very quickly. Don’t worry if it tears or there are holes; this pastry is forgiving and you can just use your fingertips to push the pastry in to cover any holes. Line the base and up the side of the dish with the pastry.

  • 6/ Add the cooled pumpkin filling and smooth it out with a spatula or spoon.

  • 7/ Take the other sheet of pastry out of the fridge and again quickly remove the pieces of baking paper. Make a lid for the pie, pressing the pastry to the edge of the dish with your fingers.

  • 8/ To finish, make an egg wash by whisking the egg yolk and milk in a small bowl. Lightly brush this over the top of the pie and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake for 40–45 minutes, rotating the dish halfway through cooking. Leave to cool for 20 minutes before slicing and serving from the dish. Serve either warm or cold, with vanilla sauce if you like.

  • Pumpkin filling

  • Prep time

  • 10 minutes

  • Cook time

  • 45 minutes

  • 1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz) peeled pumpkin (winter squash)

  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

  • finely grated zest and juice of

  • 1 orange

  • 175 g (6 oz/. cup) caster (superfine) sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger


  • 1.

    Cut the pumpkin into similar-sized chunks and put in a large microwave dish (with a lid that allows the steam to escape). Cook in the microwave on High (100%) for 20 minutes. Drain off any water from the pumpkin.

  • 2.

    Add the vanilla bean and seeds, orange zest and juice, sugar and spices to the pumpkin and return to the microwave. Cook on high for a further 20–25 minutes, stirring the filling every 5 minutes to ensure even cooking. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth. Leave to cool completely before filling the pie.


This is an edited extract from Chefs Host Christmas Too  by Darren Purchese published by Hardie Grant Books $29.99 and is available where all good books are sold.

Photographer: © Ari Hatzis


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