closeup of slice of half-eaten pumpkin pie

Caramelized Pumpkin Pie

November 30, 2020

“Caramelizing pumpkin puree with maple syrup brings out the natural sweetness of the winter squash in this irresistible pie. That simple trick also concentrates the sweetness of the maple syrup, resulting in a decadent dessert that uses less than half the sugar of a traditional pumpkin pie recipe.”

closeup of slice of half-eaten pumpkin pie


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the pie crust with a round of parchment paper (cut to the diameter of the pan), then fill it with pie weights or dry rice. Bake for 15 minutes, then lift out the parchment and weights/rice and prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Return the crust to the oven and continue baking until it is golden brown; about 5 minutes longer. Cool completely.

Combine the pumpkin puree with the maple syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until slightly darkened and caramelized; 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool completely.

Add the milk, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, salt, and egg mixture and stir until well combined. Pour into the pie crust and smooth into an even layer. Bake until the top is slightly browned and the filling is set throughout; about 50 minutes.

Let the pie cool completely before slicing. Serve with whipped cream, if you like.

Note: If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice on hand, you can create a substitute by combining 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or ground allspice.

Excerpted from Half the Sugar, All the Love by Jennifer Tyler Lee and Anisha Patel, M.D., MSPH. Photographs by Erin Scott. Workman Publishing ©2019.


1 prepared (8-inch) pie crust, blind baked (baked unfilled)

23 ounces canned pumpkin puree (about 2 3/4 cups)

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup low-fat milk or almond milk

3 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (see Note)

2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk, gently whisked

whipped cream, for serving (optional)