Food Comments

How To Make The Perfect Gluten Free Halloween Pumpkin Pie

Written by: Ben Orkin



Halloween has never really been a big holiday that people celebrate in South Africa. Looking back on my Halloween childhood, I remember my sister and I walking around the neighbourhood, us being the only children in the area, and knocking on people’s doors for shouting “Trick or treat” with excitement. If we were lucky enough for people to even respond to our chants, we would get the worst replies a child who is deprived of sweets at home to hear: “Sorry, I’m just in the shower at the moment, could you come back later”, or “Go away, we don’t have anything for you” or my personal favourite “Wow, I can’t believe it’s already October. Had I of known, I would have bought sweets. Come back next year”. We were way too nice to even think of the trick part of the “trick or treat”. Maybe we weren’t, I think my father would just tell us that we weren’t allowed to trick anyone. Then we would walk, empty-handed, back to our healthy sweet free home… but when we arrived the smell of pumpkin pie intoxicating, in my opinion it was way better than any sweets.


You know a recipe is authentic when you find it handwritten in one of your mother’s old cookbooks.


You could so easily get away without the pastry crust. In fact that’s the way my mom makes it. I just added it for an extra decorative touch and crunchy texture. This is a traditional pumpkin pie recipe. So traditional, it has been in my life for as long as I can remember. I have adjusted the recipe slightly to make it gluten free. Basically all I did was replace the flour with gluten free flour. You can buy it at any health food shop, and I’ve seen some grocery stores including it in their health/alternative ingredients section. This is the kind of dish that could be eaten as part of your main course or as a pudding. I only ever remember eating it as a main. It’s quite nice to have a balance of sweet and savoury on your plate. The sweetness of the natural sweetness of the pumpkin is enhanced with a little extra sugar. The filling is velvety and smooth, which is complemented by a surprisingly crisp and crunchy gluten free pastry crust. It can be a bit rich if you eat too much, so pace yourself!

Have a happy Halloween!


Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

Serves 8-10 peopleIMG_2125


Pastry crust:

  • ¾ cups, chilled, chopped butter
  • ¾ cups castor sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups gluten free flour


  • 8 cups cooked, mashed pumpkin
  • 2 ½ cups gluten free flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups castor sugar
  • ½ cream


  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp castor sugar



Place the pastry crust ingredients into a bowl. Mix together until dough forms. Wrap in plastic wrap and place to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes (during this time you can prepare your pumpkin).

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease a 30cm by 18cm rectangular baking dish.

Once the dough has rested, remove from the refrigerator and divide into two equal pieces.

Place one half onto a clean floured (gluten free flour) surface and the other half back into the refrigerator. Using a rolling pin, roll out the piece that is on the floured surface. Roll it out about the same size as your baking dish. Place into your baking dish and spread across the sides of the dish with your fingers. You want the pastry to be as thin as possible. Using a sharp knife, remove any pastry that hangs over the sides of the dish.

Poke the base with a fork a few times, this will help air bubbled to escape. Place a sheet of baking paper over the pastry and pour some baking beans or rice into it. Place into the oven and leave to bake for 10-15 minutes. This is called blind baking. It prepares the base for the filling so that it doesn’t go soggy once baked together with the filling. Remove from the oven and discard of the baking paper, save the beans for your next pastry bake.



Place all of your filling ingredients into a bowl and mix until combined together.



IMG_2157Pour most of your filling into your pastry crust. You may find that you have a little extra. Don’t throw it away; simply bake it in a separate dish without the pastry crust.

Roll out your other half of pastry and slice long strips the same length and width size as your baking dish. Arrange them over the top of your filling in whichever way you like. You could make a criss cross, a lattice pattern or diagonal lines. Press the pastry to against edges of the baking dish.

Brush with your egg yolk and place into the oven to bake for 45 minutes to an hour. By that time it will have risen and turned a golden brown colour. Poke with a toothpick to check if it is cooked all the way through. If it comes out clean, you can remove it from the oven.

To serve, rub butter over the surface and sprinkle castor sugar and cinnamon whilst still warm.


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Happy Pudding Making!


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