Easy Pumpkin Custard Pie with Cardamom
If you’re in search for the ultimate holiday pie situation, look no further, friends. This pumpkin custard pie with cardamom is ridiculously creamy, spiced with a touch of warm cardamom, and perfect with a dollop of fresh whipped cream. Save this one for all the autumn get-togethers – it’s truly the best pumpkin pie!
I know I’ve firmly established myself as an apple-lover when autumn rolls around, but don’t get me wrong. I’m a pumpkin girlie too.
And, if there’s one thing that I truly excel at when it comes to holiday desserts, it’s pie. Caramel Dutch apple pie? Bourbon caramel pecan pie? I mean, I think it was just about time that I add my famous pumpkin version to the repertoire.
Even if you think you don’t like pumpkin pie, I implore you to give this recipe a try. It’s light and creamy, has a caramelized crust, and has changed a mind or two before. Let’s bake, friends!
Why you’ll love this recipe
It’s taken a few years to develop this recipe – my mom always made the best pumpkin pie growing up. But hers uses evaporated milk which I never have on hand. Luckily, I learned how to make pumpkin pie without evaporated milk in pastry school, so this recipe is a mash-up of my two favorites! Plus I added cardamom cause, well, duh.
- This pie has just a handful of ingredients and comes together quickly.
- The mix of pumpkin spice with cardamom is crazy delicious.
- The filling is ridiculously smooth and has a hint of caramel flavor from the brown sugar.
- Make this pie for holidays or autumn dinner parties. It’s truly the best!
Ingredients & variations
- Pie dough – I highly recommend homemade pie dough if you have the time, but store-bought will work too! You will need half a recipe (or one 9-inch crust) for this pie. But, if you want to make cute little pie dough leaves, you’ll need a full recipe (or two 9-inch pie crusts).
- Eggs – these will make the custard thick, smooth, and creamy. Make sure they’re room temperature for even mixing!
- Brown sugar – for a little caramelized flavor, I like to use brown sugar. Dark or light will both work.
- White sugar – this will add a bit of sweetness and structure to the custard.
- Canned pumpkin – make sure you’re using 100% canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling! I highly recommend Libby’s.
- Vanilla extract – the vanilla adds a hint of sweetness and complements the spices in the filling.
- Pumpkin pie spice – this is a mix of warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. You can use store-bought or replace it with my homemade apple pie spice!
- Cinnamon – even though pumpkin pie spice already has cinnamon, I like to add a little more for that classic autumn flavor.
- Cardamom – I would definitely recommend grinding fresh cardamom. It adds so much more flavor than pre-ground. If you do use pre-ground cardamom, make sure to buy it fresh. (Spices lose their flavor over time.)
- Kosher salt – to offset the sweetness a bit. I use Morton’s Kosher salt.
- Half-and-half – I’ve found that half-and-half gives the filling the perfect level of creaminess. Whole milk will work but might make the filling a bit more runny. You can also try heavy cream, but it will make the filling thicker and creamier.
How to make this pie
Par-bake the crust
- Start by rolling out the homemade (or store-bought) pie dough until it’s about 12-inches in diameter and 1/8-inch thick.
- Carefully fit the pie dough into a 9-inch pie plate and use your hands to press it into the bottom and sides of the plate.
- Fold the edges of the pie dough under and crimp them as desired.
- Next, place a piece of parchment paper into the pie crust and fill it with pie weights or dried beans.
- Bake the pie crust just until it’s light golden-brown. Carefully remove the parchment paper and pie weights.
- Lastly, brush the pie dough with egg wash and bake for 5 more minutes.
Make the pumpkin pie filling
- Start by adding the eggs, brown sugar, and white sugar to a large bowl.
- Then, whisk the egg and sugars until the mixture is pale and thickened, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the canned pumpkin and whisk just until it’s mixed together.
- Tip the vanilla extract, spices, and salt into the filling.
- Whisk everything together until it’s well-combined.
- Next, stir the half-and-half into the pumpkin mixture.
Assemble, bake, & decorate
- Fill the par-baked crust with the pumpkin custard. Bake the pie until it’s set on the edges and a bit wobbly in the center.
- Let the pie cool completely at room temperature. Then, refrigerate the pie until it’s chilled.
- Once the pie is chilled, decorate it as desired. Slice and enjoy with whipped cream!
The key to perfect pumpkin pie is baking it properly! The pie is ready when it’s set on the edges but still a bit jiggly in the center. If it’s very jiggly, give it 5-10 more minutes. Or, if it’s completely set and starting to brown, the pie is over-cooked.
- Add a dollop of whipped cream on top of each slice.
- Serve the pie with a scoop of ice cream or gelato.
- Drizzle the slices with caramel or butterscotch sauce.
- Sprinkle the pie with toasted pecans or hazelnuts.
- Eat this pumpkin pie with a cup of coffee – the best!
Storing & make-ahead
To store leftovers, cover the pie plate with plastic wrap or a reusable bowl cover. Refrigerate the pie slices for up to 4 days. It’s delicious out of the fridge so no need to warm it up to room temperature!
Since this pie needs to chill for at least 2 hours, this makes it a lovely little make-ahead dessert! You can make this pie up to 2 days in advance. But personally, I like to make it the night before so the crust doesn’t get too soft.
I do not recommend freezing this pie. Even though some pumpkin pies are freeze-able, I find that it makes the custard texture a little odd.
Of course, you don’t have to add decorations, but pie dough might just be my favorite canvas. Here are a few of my favorite ways to make this cardamom pumpkin pie a little extra special!
- Use cookie cutters to cut leaf and pumpkin shapes out of pie dough. Bake until golden-brown and top the pie with pie dough leaves!
- Line the edges of the pie with pie dough leaves. Or, braid the pie dough instead of crimping the edges.
- Pipe whipped cream in pretty designs on top of the pie. Or, add a big dollop in the center and sprinkle with cardamom.
- Rolling pin
- 9-inch metal or stoneware pie plate
- Parchment paper
- Pie weights or dried beans
- Pastry brush
- Mini leaf or pumpkin cookie cutters
This recipe makes quite a bit of pumpkin filling. Make sure you’re using a deep 9-inch pie plate, or the filling might run over the top of the crust. Look for something about 1 1/2 to 2-inches deep.
Tips & tricks
- To keep the bottom pie crust from getting soggy, make sure to par-bake it first! This is key to crust that is crisp, flaky, and buttery.
- Don’t over-cook the pie! Otherwise, it will end up dense instead of creamy. Bake the pie just until the edges are set and the middle is a bit jiggly.
- If the crust starts browning too much on top, tent the pie with tin foil. You want the pie crust to be deep golden-brown but not burnt.
- To keep the pie from cracking, make sure to cool it properly. After it’s done baking, leave the pie in the oven with the door cracked and let it cool for 30 minutes-1 hour. Then, let it cool at room temperature for 1 more hour. Lastly, cover and refrigerate the pie for a couple of hours until the custard is fully set.
What is the difference between regular pumpkin pie and pumpkin custard pie?
Long story short, they’re essentially one and the same. Custard is simply a mixture of eggs, sugar, and milk or cream. But, I consider this recipe a bit different from classic pumpkin pie because it has more eggs and uses half-and-half instead of evaporated milk or sweetened condensed milk. The result is a super velvety, smooth, and creamy filling!
Is there a difference between canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie filling?
Yes! Canned pumpkin is 100% pumpkin purée, but pumpkin pie filling has sugar and spices added. For this recipe, you’ll need 100% canned pumpkin purée since we’re adding our own eggs, spices, and sugar.
What is the best canned pumpkin for pie?
I’ve tested this recipe with multiple brands of canned pumpkin, and by far, the best is Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin. I’m usually not a brand snob, but in this case, it totally makes a difference. Libby’s has less water than other brands which helps the filling set up.
Why did my pumpkin pie turn brown?
If your pie turns brown on top, it’s over-baked. The pie is ready to go when the edges are set, the filling is deep orange, and the center is a bit jiggly (but not runny).
Can I make this pie at high altitude?
Yes! I’ve tested this recipe at 4,500 feet and it works perfectly. There’s no need to change anything!
More autumn pies, tarts, & crisps
If you make this recipe, I would love it if you left a star rating and review! I read every single comment and love hearing what you think about my recipes. Thank you for supporting Sunday Table!
Easy Pumpkin Custard Pie with Cardamom
- 2 9-inch pie crusts, homemade or store-bought
- 4 eggs, divided & room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (100 grams)
- 1/4 cup white sugar (50 grams)
- 15 ounces canned pumpkin (425 grams)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or homemade apple pie spice)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom (preferably freshly-ground)
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cups half-and-half (283 milliliters)
- Whipped cream, for serving
- Rolling Pin
- Deep 9-inch metal or stoneware pie plate
- Parchment paper
- Mini leaf & pumpkin cookie cutters (optional)
Par-Baked Pie Crust
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Arrange a rack in the lower 1/3 of your oven and place a metal sheet pan or pizza stone on the rack while it's pre-heating. Then, whisk 1 egg with 1 Tablespoon of water to make an egg wash.
- Roll one of the pie crusts on a lightly floured surface, turning the dough a quarter every few rolls, until it's a 12-inch circle. Place the dough in a deep 9-inch pie plate and use your hands to gently press the dough into the bottom and sides of the plate. Fold the edges of the pie dough under to create a thick rim of crust around the top of the pie. Use your fingers or the tines of a fork to crimp the edges.
- Crumple up a sheet of parchment paper and line the pie crust with the paper. Fill the parchment paper with pie weights or dried beans. Evenly distribute the pie weights or dried beans around the pie plate.
- Par-bake the crust on the hot sheet pan or pizza stone until it's light golden-brown, about 25-30 minutes. Carefully remove the parchment paper and pie weights from the pie plate.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the crust with 2 layers of egg wash. Return the crust to the oven and bake for 5 more minutes, until the crust is shiny and light golden-brown.
- Add the remaining 3 eggs, brown sugar, and white sugar to a large bowl. Whisk the mixture until it's thickened and pale brown, 2-3 minutes.
- Next, mix the canned pumpkin into the egg-sugar mixture. Add the vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt.
- Slowly whisk the half-and-half into the pumpkin mixture. Stir just until the filling is combined.
Assemble & bake
- Reduce the oven to 350°F. Then, pour the pumpkin custard into the warm pie crust.
- Bake the pie on the hot sheet pan or pizza stone until the edges are set but the center has a bit of a jiggle, 40-45 minutes. If the filling is too runny, bake it for 5-10 more minutes. If the crust is starting to brown too much, carefully tent it with tinfoil.
- Once the pie is done baking, turn off the oven and crack the door. Let it cool in the oven for at least 30 minutes. Then, remove the pie from the oven and let it cool for another 60 minutes at room temperature.
- Once the pie is room temperature, cover it with plastic wrap or a a reusable bowl cover. Refrigerate the pie until it's completely chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight. Decorate the chilled pie with pie dough leaves and pumpkins, if desired. Slice the pie and serve with whipped cream. Enjoy!
Pie Dough Leaves & Pumpkins (Optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll out the second pie dough until it's 1/8-inch thick. Use mini leaf and pumpkin cookie cutters to cut shapes out of the dough, re-rolling the scraps as necessary.
- Place the pie dough leaves and pumpkins on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush the leaves and pumpkins with egg wash.
- Bake the pie dough leaves and pumpkins for 15-16 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until they're deep golden-brown. Cool completely before decorating the pie.
xo Sara Lynn
Song of the day – October by Broken Bells