Stovetop Pumpkin Pie with Graham Cracker Crust
I was told once that the American food that most fascinates foreigners is the Thanksgiving feast. The immutable menu of roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie has become an image that those in other countries long to experience. I was surprised when I first heard this, but really it makes perfect sense. Not only is this a meal that the American media has broadcast all over the world, but it may also be the best menu of truly American foods.
As a nation, we do not have a long culinary history. And much of the culinary history that we do have, and that we have spread all over the world, is embarrassing; it is the fast food hamburger, the bag of cheese powder-covered corn product, the nutritionless sugar cereal. It is hard to take pride in too much of our country’s cuisine. But the Thanksgiving feast is a meal that I think I can take pride in. And no Thanksgiving meal is complete without a pumpkin pie.
Living in the bus, without an oven, makes baking that pie a challenge. This is the first pie recipe that I concocted in the bus, for our first Thanksgiving on the road. It took a few tries to get it just right, but using a graham cracker crust turned out to be exactly what we needed to make the perfect buslife pumpkin pie.
There are instructions below, but also definitely check out my guide to stovetop baking before you get too far into it.
Stovetop Pumpkin Pie
(fills a 9” cake pan or pie pan)
Graham Cracker Crust:
11-12 graham crackers (around 1.5 cups of crumbs)
2 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp butter
1 can pumpkin puree
½ cup sugar
¾ tsp salt
1.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup evaporated milk
Graham Cracker Crust:
Add the graham crackers to a food processor and pulse until they are very finely smashed into crumbs. If you do not have a food processor, I would first suggest that you buy this little set that operates off of an immersion blender. If you really don’t want to, you can toss the graham crackers in a large ziploc bag and smash them by hand.
In a small pan, melt the butter and dissolve the sugar into it. Add this mixture to your graham cracker crumbs and combine well. It should now be a nice, sand-like texture.
Pour the crust mixture into your pie pan and spread it around evenly, then pack it down across the bottom and around the edges. This recipe is for a 9” cake pan (we couldn’t justify both cake and pie pans in our bus), and makes a thin and delicious crust.
Once you have packed the graham cracker crust in nicely, you can begin the filling.
Beat 2 eggs well and add them to a mixing bowl along with all of the other ingredients (pumpkin, sugar, salt, evaporated milk, and spices). Mix this together until it is smooth and pour it into the pie pan over your crust.
You can find my comprehensive guide to stove top baking here.
To bake the pie, begin by heating a large, heavy-bottomed pan, covered, over medium-high heat until nice and toasty. When the top is hot to the touch (can’t put a bare hand on it for more than around 3 seconds), reduce the heat to low and add the pie. Use a small wire rack or something similar to keep the pie tin off the bottom of the pot.
Temperatures for stovetop baking can be difficult to read, but we use a wood stove thermometer on the side of the pot. For this recipe, bake the pie at around 400 degrees. If you are doing it without a stove thermometer, the pot should remain nice and warm with a low flame on the bottom, but if it starts getting cold, feel free to increase the flame as necessary. All that really matters is that you pull the pie out when it reaches the temperature to set properly.
The pie is cooked when the temperature at the center reaches 175 degrees fahrenheit, but it will not be ruined if you go a little bit over. Try to remove it around 175-180, which should take something like 40-45 minutes.
Top with a little bit of whipped cream and enjoy!