(mexican) pumpkin pie. Pumpkin is not something terribly used for cooking in this neck of the woods. In fact, the only dessert which readily comes to mind is calabaza en tacha- pumpkin cooked with piloncillo (unrefined whole cane sugar) and spices. But despite having been brought up in Mexico, pumpkin pie is still at the centre of many fond memories. Thanksgiving is not something we celebrated, but there was always pumpkin pie around this time of the year and as I moved abroad, I learned to appreciate it even more.

This year I was a bit late to jump unto the pumpkin bandwagon (I blame it on the ongoing heat tricking me on staying stuck on summer), but this week I craved so badly a pumpkin pie that it actually came slightly early. When thinking of how to tackle the pie, I thought it would be great to incorporate many of the tastes I love from the Mexican calabaza en tacha (while keeping the recipe as healthy as possible).

This resulted in using agave nectar and molasses as the sweeteners, using (a bit) of Mexican crema (crème fraîche being the closest substitute) instead of the regular cream (which adds a lovely tanginess), and incorporating anise seeds in my whole wheat crust (an idea I could not help but loooove from Gourmet)(and one of the evident spices in the calabaza en tacha). The pumpkin variety I bought (which according to the merchant at the market was the tastiest one he had and the most used for cooking in Mexico)(and it really was!), is not too orange and so the result (along with adding the molasses) was a deeper caramel colour (with a slightly green tint).

And hey, while I am generally not a fan of whipped cream, it is a must for me when it comes to pumpkin pie. So to top it off I whipped some crema with a touch of agave nectar and Mexican vanilla extract.

But in all seriousness, this pie is a serious winner (both warm and cold). Gone in one day and change, and I already picked up a second pumpkin today- which is now awaiting slaughter  in my kitchen for next thursday.

click through for recipe

for the filling
675 g (2 1/2 cups) pumpkin puree
90 g (1/3 cup) Mexican crema (or crème fraîche)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
160 mL (2/3 cup) agave nectar
1 TBS dark molasses
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

for the anise seed whole wheat pastry
200 g (1 1/2 cup) whole wheat pastry flour
1 TBS evaporated cane juice (or sugar)
1 TBS anise seeds
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
115 g (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
2-4 TBS ice cold water

for the crema batida (makes 2 cups)
270 g (1 cup) of Mexican crema (or crème fraîche)
1 TBS agave nectar (or to taste)
1 tsp Mexican vanilla extract

For the anise seed whole wheat pastry, place the flour, sugar, salt and anise seeds into a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Add the butter and pulse a few more times. Add the beaten egg and pulse a couple more times. Add 1 tablespoon of ice cold water at a time. On a flat surface incorporate into a ball, flatten, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 200°C (390°F). Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and line a 22 cm (9 inch) tart tin. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Blind bake for 15 minutes with wax paper and baking beans, remove and bake until crust is golden brown (10-15 mins). Let cool completely.

For the filling, thoroughly combine all ingredients in a bowl and pour onto the pre-baked pastry. Bake at 170°C (340°F) for 45-50 minutes (or until just set at the centre). Let cool for at least 30 minutes to an hour (to allow further setting) before digging in.

For the crema batida (whipped cream), beat the crema (or crème fraîche), agave nectar and Mexican vanilla with an electric mixer until fluffy and firm.

serves 6-8


IMPORTANT NOTE: while I provide measurements in both grams and cups throughout my recipes, I tend to favour weighing the ingredients for greater precision. Measuring by cups depends on too many variables (starting with how you pour the flour) and can be imprecise. I therefore highly suggest following the metric measurements for best results.

a bit more #gnom-gnom:

(my) strawberry tart
(vegan) tipsy truffles
(polvorón) cherry tartlets
strawberry 'n basil frozen yoghurt

by Paola in desserts



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  1. November 15, 2012

    I love pumpkin anything, and this looks and sounds just wonderful.
    I anxiously wait for Thanksgiving each year, just for the pumpkin pie.

  2. Carla E. #
    November 15, 2012

    omg this looks so good. I LOVE the first photograph- it is making me drooooool

  3. November 15, 2012

    Hmm I don’t get all this fuss about pumpkin in desserts! Maybe it’s just an Australian thing I don’t know I just don’t think of pumpkin being used in sweets as appealing then again I’ve never tried it so I really shouldn’t judge LOL. But I have to admit, your pie looks delicious!


    • Paola #
      November 19, 2012

      I thought the same thing when I was younger- but after trying it I now love it! Pumpkin is just so good in breads, ravioli, pies… empanadas!

  4. Jenny @ItStyle #
    November 15, 2012

    I don’t know what I am loving more as of late, The PvdH Journal or gnom-gnom! This looks beyond amazing, I cannot wait to have pumpkin pie next week now!

  5. November 15, 2012

    What an amazing recipe and OMG the pictures you take are awesome. It’s really fantastic what you’re doing here!

  6. November 15, 2012

    just wow – your recipes & your photography are so inspiring! I need to make a pumpkin pie this year, and gosh, yours looks so good!

  7. November 15, 2012

    This pumpkin pie looks gorgeous! And it sounds like it might just be the best pumpkin pie recipe ever created… I’m normally not the biggest fan of anise flavor, but I love that you incorporated the hints of anise from calabaza en tacha.

    That next pumpkin is going to slaughter for a noble cause indeed! : )

  8. Allison S #
    November 15, 2012

    I found this through theKitchn, and I must say that I am not disappointed! This really does sound like a wonderful twist on the pumpkin pie staple- will definitely be incorporated some creme fraiche into mine next week, thanks!

    And what wonderful photographs as well. Congratulations on such a beautiful blog, I will surely be back.

  9. bakerbynature #
    November 19, 2012

    Oh mercy! How am I just finding your amazing blog?! I’m seriously swooning over it all! Gorgeous gorgeous!

  10. Catherine D. #
    December 8, 2012

    Just wanted to let you know that I tried this one out for Thanksgiving using creme fraiche (we couldn’t find Mexican crema up here in the US) but it turned out DELICIOUS! I was surprised how little cream it actually took compared to other recipes, and the tastes were really intense. Plus, no one complained about using whole wheat flour for the crust as they were fixated on how good the anise seeds in it were!

    I look forward to trying out more of your recipes! Thanks!

    • Paola #
      December 9, 2012

      Catherine, I am very glad you enjoyed it! And yes, the crust is incredible…! So I am thinking that you would LOVE my pumpkin empanadas (easier to whip up, but the same play on flavours in essence).

  11. November 26, 2013

    I love this recipe! I found your site last year and am making it again. My variation is using a gluten-free gingersnap cookie crust. The ginger kick works great complementing the spices in the filling. And good when I’m to lazy to make dough!

    • Paola #
      November 26, 2013

      I am glad you liked it! And thanks so much for the gluten-free tip fro the crust- sounds super good

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