It’s Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend.  The first time I’ve ever not celebrated it with my family.  I miss them, but I’m thankful I have people here who know it’s Thanksgiving this weekend and who will eat turkey and pie with me.

Growing up, this is the only kind of pumpkin pie I ever had.  Every year, my mom would grow pumpkins in the garden (or get one from the store – Sugar Pumpkins, not carving pumpkins) cook up the pumpkin and turn it into this delicious pie.  This is not your garden variety pumpkin pie.  Those are dense and baked (and delicious).  The first time I ate one of the pies from the store, I was shocked.  It was not what I was used to at all.  It took me a while to warm up to the idea.

This Pumpkin Chiffon Pie is light and fluffy and sweet and tasty and it might be the best thing at the my thanksgiving table I love it so much.  So, of course I had to make it for my friends here in San Francisco.  I also think more people need to know about it.

So here it is:  Woodward Pumpkin Chiffon Pie.

{The ingredients.  The shortening is missing from the picture because it’s cooling in the fridge.  Picture by me}

If you want to cook the pumpkin yourself, you can.  And here’s how you do it.  I’m generally to lazy and use canned pumpkin.  If you want to use canned pumpkin make sure you don’t get pumpkin pie filling.  That already has spices and stuff added to it.  You want just plain pumpkin.

To cook pumpkin:

What you need: 1 sugar pumpkin (sometimes called a pie pumpkin)

Cut off 1/8 inch inside and outside the pumpkin

Cut into pieces about half the size of a playing card.

Put in a bowl with 1/4 cup of water.  Cover with wax paper.

Cook in the microwave until soft and mushy (about 10 minutes).

Puree.  Add water if needed.

{My pie shell cooling by the window.  Photo by me}

Make a 9″ pie shell:

Some people are intimidated by making pastry.  It’s pretty easy, but you could just get one from the store.  That’s okay too.

Here’s my pastry recipe:

For a 1 crust 9″ pie:

1/2 cup shortening (I use crisco)

3/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cup flour (pastry flour is ideal, but all-purpose is okay too)

3 – 4 Tbsp water (Cold.  I usually put water in a glass with a few ice cubes.)

Measure flour and salt into a bowl

Cut in shortening until about the size of peas.

Sprinkle cold water into flour about 1 tsp at a time, tossing mixture up from bottom of bowl with a fork until it comes together.

Some days you’ll need more water than others.  You want it to just come together into a bowl.

(Some people chill their pastry dough first, but I’m usually not good at planning that far ahead.  Do, if you have extra time)

Tear off two squares of wax paper.  Put one on the counter, put your ball of pastry onto it and cover with the other square.  Roll the pastry between the two squares of wax paper until desired size and thickness.  I like my pastry pretty thin.  Peel back the top layer of wax paper.  Be careful not to tear the pastry if it sticks to the paper, use your fingers to keep it from ripping.  Turn the pastry over onto your pie plate.  Now peel off the other layer of wax paper.  Fit into pie shell and crimp the edges.  Be gentle with your pastry.

Bake at 450 until lightly browned at edges.  If you have pastry weights, put them in your pie shell before baking – they’ll keep it from puffing up in the middle.  I don’t have pastry weights, so my pastry just puffs up in the middle.  Whatever.  Not a big deal.  It takes about 20 minutes for the pie shell to bake.  Set it aside to cool.

{The pumpkin pie filling cooling before folding in the egg whites.  Picture by Me}

Pie filling:

2 envelope of gelatin (edit: The original recipe calls for 1 packet. But I think that makes it too runny. So my brother suggested I use 2 instead)

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg

Mix the above in a saucepan until there are no lumps left.  I like to use a whisk.


1 1/2 cups of pumpkin

3 egg yolks (save the whites for later)

1/2 cup milk.

Mix in.

Cook over medium heat until it just starts to boil, stirring the whole time.  The mixture will start to “pop”, and when it’s ready, your spoon will leave trails in the pumpkin mixture.  Take off the heat and let it cool.

{The beaten egg whites and sugar.  Photo by Me}

Beat the three egg whites with 1/2 cup of white sugar.  You want to beat the egg whites until slightly stiff first, and then add the sugar gradually.  Otherwise, the eggs won’t get very stiff.

Fold the egg whites into the cooled pumpkin mixture.

Pour into the pie shell what will fit.  Stick that in the fridge for about 15 minutes.  Now pile the rest of the pumpkin onto the top.

{The Pie before adding whipped cream.  I’m going to wait and add that just before dinner tomorrow.  Photo by Me}

Let it set, then top with whipped cream.

Devour with friends and family.