Pumpkin Pie with Vodka Crust

Okay so.

I made this blog like six months ago and I’m finally getting around to doing an actual post. What can I say, I’m really quite skilled at procrastinating. Anyways thanksgiving just passed a couple of weeks ago, and I really do love thanksgiving, maybe it’s because I just generally like eating , I’m not too sure.  Originally I was kind of bummed that I didn’t get to make a full thanksgivings dinner, however It gave me the opportunity/ time to make two pies – which ended up being even more fun!


I don’t have children …. but I feel like a proud parent when I look at this pie. 

It all started with this little guy. I actually had lots of people ask me:

“Sooo.. like pumpkin pie is from like pumpkins? woah…”

Which in all fairness isn’t a bad question. Yes they are from real pumpkins just pie pumpkins – not the ones you carve! They are super versatile and I was excited to use them.


To create the pumpkin purée it is very simple. You simple just have to cut the stem off the pumpkin and then cut it in half, and scoop out the insides or ” guts” as they are commonly referred to. You’re going to then take the pumpkin and lay it face down on a baking sheet lined with tin foil. Make sure your baking sheets have sides, this is to prevent any liquid from spilling over.


Then set your oven to 375 degrees for about 45 minutes. The pumpkins will be done when you can easily poke a knife into it.  After you take them out of the oven, scoop out the filling from the pumpkin(s) and discard the skins. I apologize for the lack of pictures coming up – my phone was MIA for most of this process (opps!)

*Side note: roasting pumpkins smells so fantastic so be prepared*

I chose to put the pumpkins in my food processor to give it a smooth and consistent texture- I would recommend you do the same. You can store  the puree in a container in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. It should look something like this :


So now onto the second most important part of the pie ( my grandma would have argued the most important part), that would be the crust. I’ve recently experimented with different pie crust recipes. I’ve been trying to figure out the best possible way to make pie, is it with:  butter, lard or shortening? Well turns out vodka was actually that ingredient. No I’m not kidding. No I’m not alcoholic either.

“Half of the pie dough’s moisture comes from vodka, which is 40% pure alcohol. The alcohol doesn’t promote gluten formation, so it helps the crust stay much flakier and more tender – a foolproof help to those of us who tend to overwork pie dough.” So there you have it, it’s basically science…

So pie dough is fairly simple as long as you strictly follow the measurements  for each ingredient. I’m saying this from experience of “eyeing” ingredients and having the crust to prove it.

First get all your dry ingredients ( flour, salt, sugar)  then put them through a flour sifter. If you don’t have a sifter just use a whisk, that will be just fine! All you’re trying to do is make the texture consistent without any clumps. After that combine the cold butter ( always make sure it’s cold when making crust), and I used shortening for this recipe. Combine with a pastry cutter , if you don’t have a pastry cutter you can use two knives or your hands ( using your hands can get pretty greasy).


Continue to mix it together until all your shortening and butter is only in pea sized balls – this will take about two minutes.  Do not overwork your mixture or the crust will come out very flat and not flaky at all!  This will allow the crust to have pockets of butter in it ( um… yum). Then you can add the water and vodka to it and fully combine the crust, using your hands.  Then form the dough, into a disk shape ball and place in the fridge for about two hours.

While you’re waiting you can now assemble the pie filling. Take the pumpkin purée you made earlier and transfer it into your kitchen aid mixing bowl or just a large sized bowl. Add purée and combine all other liquid ingredients. Once combined, put the filling into your fridge until you crust is ready to go.


Once your pie crust has been in the fridge for at least two hours you can take it out and start to roll it. Make sure you are using a well floured counter top AND rolling pin. Roll out to an even thickness.  After it’s all rolled out fold the crust in half and transfer into pie pan. Then unfold it. This makes it easy to transfer it , also avoiding tearing it when lifting it up. If you have any tears in your dough simply press it together or add any extra dough to that tear.

Once complete trim off any hanging edges of the pie pan (I like to tuck a little extra under ledge in case the crust shrinks at all). Pour the filling into the crust. I had some extra crust so I attempted to twist the extra dough along the crust to make it look a bit nicer. Most times though I just use a fork along the edge of the crust.  Put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, however I found it needed more like 40 minutes.


One thing I’ve read on other blogs about pumpkin pies is that people assume the pie filling needs to be completely set, for it to be done. The answer is : NOOOOOOOO . If your filling is completely set it will mean you pie will be severely overcooked. This means that when you gently shake the oven rack that your pie is on, the centre doesn’t giggle. The edges will appear to have a dry look, while the centre will still look wet. This isn’t a situation where a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean. This is not a cake , I repeat this is not a cake!

If all goes well your pie should look something like this:


But probably better looking because I’ve taken these pictures on my iPhone 3 : I know how retro, right?

Last but certainly not least , my inspiration for this pie : my Grandma. My Grandma showed me how to make my first pie among many other things. Thanksgiving  was one of my grandmas favourite holidays. She was a very thankful person for her big family and thanksgiving was another excuse for her to hang out with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. So this pie is a homage to her, I guess you could say. To the women who could always eat more than I could and gave me a love for baking and cooking.  I know she would probably have three slices, because pie was her favourite!


Homemade Pumpkin Pie


For The Crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 5 tbs butter cold, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 2 tbs vodka
  • 2 tbs cold water
For The Filling:
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 (14 ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Combine  flour, salt, and sugar using a flour sifter , or mix using a whisk.  Add the cold butter and the shortening  and mix together using a pastry blender , or two knives.
  2. Mix until they shortening and butter until they are pea sized balls. Do not over mix.
  3. Add the water and the vodka, using a spoon or your hands. Form the dough into a disk. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and chill until  firm, at least two hours.
  4. While the dough is chilling, add all the filling ingredients to a stand mixer, and mix on high until combined (you can also use a hand mixer if you’d like). Place in the refrigerator to chill until ready to use.
  5. Once the dough has chilled, unwrap and add to a well floured surface.
  6. Flour the top and roll to an even thickness. Then fold in half to make it easier to transfer to your pie pan.
  7. Transfer to your pie pan. If rips or tears appear, just push them back together or add a bit more dough to those areas.
  8. Push the edges using a fork or your fingers
  9. Pour your filling into the crust.
  10. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until the pie is set. This means that when you gently shake the oven rack that your pie is on, the centre doesn’t giggle. The edges will appear to have a dry look, while the centre will still look wet. This isn’t a situation where a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean. If that is the situation, you have seriously overcooked your pie.

Oh and don’t ever forget the whipped cream!

* Note: I doubled the recipe because I was making two pies and it turned out just as well! I even had some left over pumpkin purée*

( partially adapted from : http://domesticfits.com/2011/10/17/how-to-make-homemade-pumpkin-pie-from-scratch/)




9 thoughts on “Pumpkin Pie with Vodka Crust

  1. Sarah! This was amazing! I actually have a pie pumpkin that I now know how to cook…and I’m super excited to try vodka in my next pie crust. Thank you for sharing! xo

      • Thanks so much for a great recipe!! I’m adapting gluten free flours for the crust & well…several things you said ring true for me. I’m a professional procrastinator and I do drink…rum but hey if vodka makes a flaky crust, I’m in! OFF TO BAKE my first homemade pumpkin pie without fear of failure…and nothing store bought can replace my enthusiasm 🙂 I look forward to reading & cooking more! OH! Happy Thanksgiving to you !

      • good to know – my cousin is celiac. Good to now it turns out with gluten free flour I’ll have to make some stuff for her!! Hope it went well for you 🙂

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