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My Grandma's "Secret" Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Growing up, most of my baking memories take place in my grandparents' kitchen. Fresh baked bread with dinner, cinnamon rolls for the holidays, and pumpkin pie. As a kid, I always loved my grandmother's pumpkin pie. She would even bake an extra pumpkin pie to make sure I got as much as I wanted. I remember pulling leftover slices out of the fridge and topping them with a mound of whipped cream (never cool whip) to eat at the kitchen table. Even today I would rather eat pumpkin pie cold from the fridge the next day!

In the summer of 2006, I met a boy, fell in love, and moved across the country. Subsequently, I spent my first Thanksgiving away from home and my family. The first thing I did, was ask my grandma for her famous pumpkin pie recipe! I remember talking to her on the phone, and taking notes as she told me the ingredients. She told me: "a can of pumpkin, two eggs, sugar...I can't remember how much. Well, it's on the side of the can so you can get the recipe there!" I couldn't help laughing. My grandma's "special" pumpkin pie recipe, was the recipe from the side of the Libby's Pumpkin can! I had always imagined secret spices and a handwritten recipe passed down for generations, but it was the same recipe that hundreds (maybe thousands!) of people use every year. While initially disappointed that it wasn't something a bit more romantic, I realized that it was, in fact, still her special pumpkin pie. What made it special was the fact that she baked it every year for me. Even later, when she started having a hard time remembering things and the pumpkin pie wasn't exactly cooked all the way, she still baked for me. That's what will always make it special.

My grandma passed away this summer. During her calling hours, we told stories. I told the story of the "secret" pumpkin pie recipe and we laughed. When my dad asked what I'd like from the house to remember her, I knew I wanted something, anything from the kitchen. A few weeks later, a couple of glass bowls and a weathered wooden spoon showed up on our doorsteps. The spoon has a chip on the end, and it's definitely seen better days. But when I use it, I think of of the pie. I think of the hours she spent in the kitchen, cooking and loving her family. And I feel like a part of her is still here.

In honor of my grandma, I'd like to share her special pumpkin pie recipe, as seen on the Libby's website:

Prep time:15 minutes

Cook time: 55 minutes

Total time:1 hours, 10 minutes


  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 2 Large eggs

  • 1 can LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin (15 oz)

  • 1 can NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk (12 fl oz)

  • 1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell


1. Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl.

2. Beat eggs in large bowl.

3. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture.

4. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

5. Pour into pie shell

6.Bake in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes.

7.Reduce temperature to 350° F and bake for 40 to 50 minutes more or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.

8.Cool on wire rack for 2 hours.

9. Serve immediately or refrigerate for two days

(But I recommend refrigerating and enjoying the next day with homemade whipped cream.)

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