For months last year, I ate canned pumpkin nearly every morning. During these months, I wondered why canned pumpkin was so rarely used in savory applications and so beloved in sweet applications. This past weekend I decided I would satisfy my curiosity. After paring through several options, I narrowed choices down to two: curry-pumpkin pie and nduja-pumpkin pie.

The choices were relatively simple from my perspective. Pumpkin and curry is one of my favorite combinations anywhere. The combination blends softly spiced flavor with a smooth and soft pie filling. Nduja and pumpkin are natural friends – both orange with similar textures, but unlike curry, the spreadable pork product brings heat in droves.


I took the recipe from the back of the can of pumpkin and adapted it to be savory – removing most of the sugar and replacing the pumpkin pie spices with appropriately savory counterparts. I had a quart of pumpkin which I had smoked. This extra push of flavor seemed to be good match for the curry pies, which needed a little bump. The nduja pumpkin pie already had pretty much all the flavor in its namesake ingredients, so I kept the remaining ingredients simple and few.


The crust was a matter what ingredients I had on hand and when you have Geechie Boy rye products, it almost is not fair. I mixed rye bran and rye flour with butter. Knowing that a little extra sweetness might work well in forming the crust, I stirred in a bit of molasses I cold smoked a little while ago. Of all of the new smoked ingredients, smoked molasses has proven to be the best match (black licorice, a close second). The combination of rye and molasses gave the crust a nice dark brown color and a delicious sweet, nutty flavor.


Once the crust was in place and the filling poured, the pies baked just as a regular pie would be baked. When finished, the pies looked like regular pumpkin pies, one clearly more yellow than orange. The flavors were accurately approximated by chief taster, L, as the curry-pumpkin pie being a good vegetable side and the nduja-pumpkin pie as more of a center of plate pie. To me, I think the curry-pumpkin pie would be popular as a Thanksgiving bringalong and I think Nduja-pumpkin pie as something to eat whenever you have canned pumpkin sitting around and you don’t need to please a wide range of palates.


Without regard for when these pies would be best received, I found savory pumpkin pie to be an easy one to make when put in pie context and the flavor combinations are far to customizable than most pies. Delicious and doable.

Curry-Pumpkin Pie

makes one small pie (about 1/4 recipe for a 9″ pie)

  • 1.75 ounces cold smoked canned pumpkin
  • 2 ounces canned pumpkin
  • 25 grams beaten egg
  • 100 grams evaporated milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon each garlic, tumeric, ginger, curry, salt, and sugar

Nduja-Pumpkin Pie

makes one small pie (about 1/4 recipe for a 9″ pie)

  • 1.25 ounces nduja
  • 2.5 ounces canned pumpkin
  • 25 grams beaten egg
  • 100 grams evaporated milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon each garlic, salt, and sugar

For both pies, beat all ingredients together until consistent texture.

Rye-molasses crust

  • 1/4 cup rye bran
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cold
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked molasses
  • Ice cold water

Step one: Cut cold butter into bran and flour.

Step two: In a food processor, add buttered bran/flour with salt and molasses. Process for 1 minute. Add water, a teaspoon at a time until you get wet sand.

Step three: Turn out the dough and knead until it holds together. Then roll thin with a rolling pin. Add to pie pans.

Step four: Preheat oven to 425.

Step five: Pour pie mixing into shells and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake until a toothpick stuck into pie comes out clean.