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Plump for Pumpkins!

The name pumpkin originated from the Greek word for large melon: “pepon.” The French changed “pepon” to “pompon.” The English termed it “pumpion” or “pompion.”

Northeastern Native American tribes grew squash and pumpkins. The Native Americans brought pumpkins as gifts to the first settlers, and taught them the many uses for pumpkin. This led to serving pumpkin pie at the first Thanksgiving in America about 50 years later.

Francois Pierre la Varenne was a famous French chef and author of one of the most important French cookbooks of the 17th century, Le Vrai Cuisinier Francois (The True French Cook). It was translated and published in England as The French Cook in 1653. This cookbook contained a recipe for “Tourte of Pumpkin” that featured a pastry shell:

Tourte of Pumpkin – Boile it with good milk, pass it through a straining pan very thick, and mix it with sugar, butter, a little salt and if you will, a few stamped almonds; let all be very thin. Put it in your sheet of paste; bake it. After it is baked, besprinkle it with sugar and serve.

By the 1670s, recipes for “pumpion pie” began to appear in English cookbooks. The pumpkin pie recipes included spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Often the recipes added apples, raisins or currants to the filling.

Now that the autumn has well and truly arrived  try the Butterfly Loft’s really-easy-recipe for comforting, delicious pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin pie

Prep time: 0.75 hour

Cooking time: 1 hour


  • 425g tin pureed pumpkin
  • Chilled pie dough for one single-crust 9-inch pie (you can use defrosted ready-made pasty or make your own)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 65g light brown sugar
  • 175ml whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 0.5 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 0.25 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt


  1. Roll out the dough so that it is two inches larger than your pie dish. Gently press dough down into the dish so that it lines the bottom and sides. Be careful not to pull or stretch the dough. Trim dough to within half an inch of the dish edge. Fold edges of dough underneath itself, creating a thicker, quarter inch border that rests on the lip of the dish. Crimp edges. Refrigerate while you make the pie filling.
  2. Whisk eggs and both sugars together until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, cream, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and the salt. Stir until well blended.
  3. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Transfer pie shell to a baking sheet. Pour pumpkin filling into the pie shell. Bake pie at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick or thin knife plunged it into the pie, about two inches from the edge, comes out clean. Rotate once or twice during baking. If, while the pie bakes, the tops of the crust becomes too dark, cover with a thin strip of foil.
  4. Cool on a wire rack for two hours or until room temperature. Cut into wedges and serve alone or topped with whipped cream. To store, cover the cooled pie loosely with foil or plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator up to three days.

Getting it all sorted out

Some of the basic ingredients are already in the kitchenette, so check before you go shopping.

Within a minute’s walk of the Butterfly Loft is our pretty High Street where you’ll find shops selling everything you need for this recipe (and much more). We have a truly wonderful local baker Woodstocks (you’ll see the queue out of the door most mornings), an excellent local butcher (H Green & Son) plus a Budgens and McColls. Every Saturday morning there’s a traditional market in Timor Court featuring a large fruit and veg stall with good quality produce.

And (doing our bit for the environment) we provide Butterfly shopping bags so you can shop your socks off!

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