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Pumpkin pie recipe (from scratch): All Saints or Halloween?

Italian pumpkin pie recipe

For the first time, I made an American pumpkin pie to celebrate Halloween and All Saints’ Day.

In Italy, although Halloween related festivities are increasingly celebrated, the real holidays are All Saints Day (Festa di Ognissanti) on November 1 and All Souls Day (Giorno dei Morti) on November 2.

Italian pumpkin pie recipe

Not an Italian pie but the American pumpkin pie

This recipe comes from a collaboration with Agribologna, an Italian and local consortium of farmers.

I received some cooked squash and a request. Do you feel like making an American-style pumpkin pie? In Italy, this request means using lots of spices and cheese frosting.

I wanted to answer: “I’m sorry, I can’t. My blog is about Italian cuisine and traditions, especially those of Bologna and Romagna. Halloween is not part of them.

Then I thought back to my table, which I like to think of as welcoming and open.
And to the years when, in Bologna, I had Ann as my flatmate, the American recipes she shared. And to two traditions that met and discovered each other to be less different than you might imagine.

Hence the reason why this year, alongside more traditional All Saints’ Day desserts, I decided to cook-and welcome to the blog-an American recipe.

Halloween and All Saints’ day celebration

I still remember the late October dinners in the country home (where there isn’t heating).

Wearing more wool sweaters, we would mix American and Italian recipes to gather Halloween and All Saints’ Day around the same table.

A stretch? Not really, in fact, the two events have common origins. In the same way, many Americans have European roots.

Halloween is an old celebration of Celtic (hence European) origin, celebrated in the United States and Canada. And today, in many parts of the world. Although it corresponds to the autumnal equinox, many cultures celebrate and remember-though in different ways-their own dead.

This particular time of year is considered transitional. Traditionally, people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts.

Many years ago, even in the Italian countryside, people used to light bonfires on the night between October 31 and November 1 (All Saints’ Day). Somewhat like in America, Jack o’ lanterns keep evil spirits away.

Food always plays a central role. For instance, Bologna and Romagna have a typical Italian cookie called Fave dei Morti with a ritualistic meaning. In the same way Americans offer treats in exchange for prayers for the dead. It is the famous trick or treat ritual, now popular in Italy also.

Tortellini&CO, Bologna Food and Stories

Ann’s pumpkin pie recipe

To make this cake, I consulted Ann, who now lives in Vienna with her Italian husband and children. And, of course, it was an opportunity to laugh together since her family anecdotes are always tender but with a funny twist.

Ann’s mother did not like to cook or even eat. For Halloween, she made a pumpkin pie that was not very sweet and unappealing to Ann and her sisters, who, on the contrary, loved the one her paternal grandmother (an Irishwoman married to an Italian) made.

Ann and her sisters preferred their grandmother’s creamy pumpkin pie wrapped in shortcrust pastry and topped with lemon-cheese sauce to their mother’s pumpkin cheesecake.

Together we opted for the grandma’s version of the Pumpkin pie.
It is a dessert where spiced shortcrust pastry, pumpkin cream, and lemon frosting are perfectly balanced. To make and make again. Ann says this dessert finds a place on the American table from Halloween through Christmas.

Buona cucina, Monica

On the blog (HERE), Ann shared the story of her family’s Thanksgiving meals. One tradition upon which another has been grafted. It is a thing you can’t even imagine. Super recommended reading.

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Pumpkin pie recipe

Pumpkin pie recipe

serves 6
round pan, 15 cm diameter
List of the Ingredients

Shortcrust pastry

00 flour, g 200
1g baking powder for cakes
eggs, 1
butter in chunks, 100 g
sugar, 100 g
bitter cocoa, 5 g
cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon
cardamom, 1 pinch


cooked pumpkin pulp, 300g
1 egg
cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon
black pepper, a pinch
powdered sugar, 50 g

Lemon cheese frosting

150 g light cheese
60 g powdered sugar
30 g soft butter
a few drops of lemon


Lemon cheese frosting

In a bowl, combine all ingredients and blend using electric whips.
Transfer the cream to a pastry bag and store it in the refrigerator.

Shortcrust pastry

In a bowl, combine dry ingredients, mix, and add chopped butter and eggs. Knead until the shortcrust pastry is smooth and homogeneous.
Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for a couple of hours in the refrigerator.

Pumpkin cream

In a bowl mash the pumpkin with a fork. Add the other ingredients, mix, and set aside.

Pumpkin pie

Roll out the shortcrust pastry between two sheets of baking paper.

Arrange the shortcrust pastry on the mold lined with parchment paper. With the tines of a fork, prick the bottom of the shortcrust pastry.

Stuff with pumpkin cream, and smooth out the surface of the cake.

Bake in a preheated, static oven at 180 degrees for about 40 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool completely before topping the cake with a layer of frosting.

Store in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

Pumpkin Pie Recipe

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