Japanese Kabocha Pumpkin Pie

Finally, the recipe. I’m keeping this post short and only talking about the pie itself.

I know kabocha because I grew up eating it. My mom always braises it in soy sauce and sugar, which is still my favorite way to eat it. However, kabocha is different from pumpkin. According to Wikipedia, it’s not even pumpkin; it’s winter squash. AND in some cultures, it’s even considered an aphrodisiac. Wow, who knew.

Image courtesy of tainongseeds.com

So how exactly is it different? Well, it’s thick and nutty like chestnut and becomes caramel-sugary sweet like a sweet potato when roasted.  So you can imagine how this might change the texture and taste of your traditional pumpkin pie: slightly more dense, sweeter and creamier. As for the rest of the pie, I used my favorite sweet pastry dough recipe from TipTopf cookbook from the crust and followed a recipe found on The Delightful Repast for the filling.


Kabocha Pumpkin Pie (adapted from TipTopf and The Delightful Repast)

printable recipe

Makes one 9-inch pie


Sweet Tart Pastry / Muerbeteig

7/8 cup (200 g) all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

6 tbsp, plus 2 tsp (100 g) very cold unsalted butter, diced

2-3 tsp sugar

zest of 1/2 an organic lemon, grated

1 egg, at room temp., whisked

2 tbsp cold water


3 large eggs

1 3/4 cups kabocha pumpkin puree

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

Sweetened Whipped Cream Topping


1tbsp maple syrup, optional


Sweet Tart Pastry

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add the butter and with your fingertips, gently rub flour and butter together until evenly combined.
  2. Mix in the sugar and grated lemon zest.
  3. Make a well in the dry mixture. Pour the egg and water into the well and with a fork, very quickly whisk the flour into the egg (working from the outside in). Once the dough starts forming, use your hands to gently pat it into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and freeze for 15-20 minutes. (Or you can press the dough into the springform first—I put a plastic sandwich bag on my hand to do this, in order to avoid sticking and overhandling—and then chill.)


  1. Preheat oven to 450 F. About 10 or 15 minutes into the oven preheating and pie shell resting in the freezer, make pie filling by mixing all above listed filling ingredients in the order given in a medium bowl. (I threw everything into the blender and mixed.) Set aside.

Assembly & Baking

  1. When oven is ready, remove pie shell from the freezer and pour in the pie filling. As soon as you put it into the oven, reduce the temperature to 425 degrees; bake pie for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 40 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. After you’ve made pumpkin pie a few times, you can tell just by looking whether or not it’s done. It should be fairly firm but still have a little jiggle left.
  2. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Serve with whipped cream sweetened with a few tablespoons of sugar and a tablespoon of maple syrup (optional).

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