[Photograph: Vicky Wasik. Video: Natalie Holt.]

Level up your pumpkin pie with made-from-scratch condensed milk and roasted butternut squash purée—a DIY alternative that delivers more flavor and less water than a traditional pumpkin. These homemade elements can be prepared days or weeks in advance, then united at the last minute in a crisp and flaky crust. The result is a pumpkin pie like no other: silky smooth and creamy, with notes of brown sugar and spice to tie it all together.

Adapted from BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts with permission from W. W. Norton.

Why It Works

  • Roasting tenderizes and dehydrates the butternut squash, while also deepening its flavor and sweetness.
  • DIY condensed milk has a lighter, fresher flavor than canned, with less sugar.
  • Brown sugar adds a hint of molasses to underscore the earthiness of the squash.
  • Fully baking the pie crust keeps it flaky and crisp beneath the custard filling.
  • Yield:Serves 12
  • Active time:45 minutes
  • Total time:3 hours
  • Rated:5
  • Ingredients

    • 14 ounces (about 1 3/4 cups; 395g) roasted butternut squash purée, from one 7-inch butternut squash (24 ounces; 680g)
    • 19 ounces Sweetened Condensed Milk (about 2 cups; 540g)
    • 4 ounces light brown sugar (about 1/2 cup, firmly packed; 115g)
    • 1/2 ounce vanilla extract or bourbon (about 1 tablespoon; 15g)
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more to garnish if desired
    • 1/4 teaspoon (1g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same weight
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1 ounce unsalted butter, melted and warm (about 2 tablespoons; 30g)
    • 3 large eggs, straight from the fridge (about 5 1/4 ounces; 145g)
    • 1/2 recipe Old-Fashioned Flaky Pie Dough, blind-baked


    1. 1.

      For the Butternut Squash Purée: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 400°F (205°C). Split the squash lengthways, remove seeds, and place cut-side down on a foil lined aluminum baking sheet. Roast until fork-tender, about 45 minutes. When cool enough to handle, scrape pulp into a food processor and purée until smooth. Measure out 14 ounces (about 1 3/4 cups; 395g) squash purée. Use warm, or refrigerate in an airtight container up to a week in advance.

    2. 2.

      For the Custard: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 375°F (190°C). In a medium bowl, combine butternut squash purée, homemade condensed milk, brown sugar, vanilla or bourbon, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cloves, butter, and eggs. Whisk until well combined, then pour into the prepared crust. Alternatively, the prepared custard can be refrigerated for up to a week before use.

    3. 3.

      To Bake: Place on a half sheet pan and bake about 25 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350°F (175°C) and continue baking until the filling is firm around the edges but still wobbly in the very center, about 25 minutes more, or to an internal temperature of 200°F (93°C).

    4. 4.

      Cool at room temperature until the custard has set, about 2 hours, and cut with a chef’s knife to serve. If you like, serve with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of grated nutmeg. Wrapped in plastic, leftovers will keep 4 days at room temperature, or 10 days in the fridge.

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