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Classic pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick

Classic Pumpkin Pie with a Leaf Lard Crust

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This Classic Pumpkin Pie with a Leaf Lard Crust is a tasty adaptation of the famous Libby’s pumpkin pie on their canned pumpkin labels. No other pie will suffice when it comes to my family!

A few simple tweaks push this already delicious pumpkin pie recipe over the top!! This recipe makes the perfect pumpkin pie for your Thanksgiving celebration.

Classic Pumpkin Pie slice garnished with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick

The BEST Classic Pumpkin Pie Recipe

The boys and I are heading to Iowa to visit my parents for Thanksgiving.  Hubby is staying home with Katie as she recently got a job (hooray!), and needs to be at work at 3:55 AM on Black Friday.  I made a turkey breast and stuffing on Saturday night so the two of them would get some traditional holiday food.

Today, I made two pumpkin pies. One to stay and one to go. Around here it must be the classic, traditional pumpkin pie recipe on the label of Libby’s pumpkin can. No pumpkin mousse. No pumpkin souffle. No bruleed topping. But I have snuck in a few tweaks so that are subtle enough that the picky ol’ husband hasn’t noticed.

Classic Pumpkin Pie in a white ceramic pie plate on a red and white checked napin

Tips for Making a Classic Pumpkin Pie

Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe was my go-to Thanksgiving pie recipe for years. But a few tweaks have made it even better!

  • First up is to swap out the evaporated milk for cream. The cream has a bit more water than evaporated milk but adds a boost of richness and, of course, creaminess.
  • And to counteract that extra liquid, I bump up the number of eggs from two to three per pie. Again, more fat, more richness. It’s for Thanksgiving after all!
  • A touch of bourbon or Grand Marnier in the whipped cream along with pure vanilla extract also makes for a more elegant dessert, just use a quality liquor or liqueur.
  • Also, if you can muster the nerve to make a homemade pie crust, it will take your pie to the next level. Using lard makes for the flakiest crust ever, but don’t use those boxes of lard you can find sitting on the grocer’s shelves. Check your meat market for REAL lard, and even leaf lard if you can find it. That’s the absolute best lard for pie crust.
  • Note that crusts made with all lard are difficult to roll and shape, so I use part lard and part butter. See below for more information on leaf lard.

Leaf Lard Crust

I was lucky enough to score some leaf lard for my holiday pie crusts.  The last lard I purchased bore no resemblance to the lard my mom used to deep fry the annual Christmas rosettes. The real deal gave the house a vague smell of pork for a couple of days, but the fragile, crispy cookies sprinkled with powdered sugar were worth that inconvenience.

Beware of lard that is sitting on the shelf next to the Crisco. It’s not good stuff!  My friend, Jill, took me across the Indiana countryside to the Ladoga branch of Moody’s Meats.  The hospitable owners, Adam and Lucy, greeted us, and we got a behind the scene tour.

The lard is hand-rendered on site, and I could hardly wait to use it for my pie crust.  They have four stores in the Indianapolis area. A top-notch leaf lard crust made this pumpkin pie one of my best. I use a butter and lard recipe that was printed in the New York Times. You’ll love this Libby’s classic pumpkin pie on steroids!!!

Wishing all my readers and friends a most wonderful Thanksgiving. As always, I am blessed and humbled that so many of you take the time to stop by and check out my recipes.

How Do You Keep a Pumpkin Pie from Cracking?

Even though my family does not care if there is a crack in our pumpkin pie, I’d prefer to have a picture-worthy holiday dessert. Here are a few ways to minimize cracking.

Pumpkin pie will crack when the eggs in the filling are overcooked. This could be due to a too hot oven or too much time in the oven. Note that even a pie that’s pristine when it comes out of the oven can still crack. The pie continues to cook due to residual heat, even out of the oven.

Start with a good, well-tested recipe.

Use an oven thermometer to make sure your oven temperature is accurate. Preheat your oven and let it come to temperature before putting your pie in the oven.

Bake on the lower rack.

You can use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature in the middle of the pie (aim for about 170 degrees). But piercing the pie can encourage cracking. If you’re baking two pies and are willing to risk one of them, this trick will let you know the proper timing for your oven.

Alternatively, pull the pie out of the oven with the middle still jiggles like jello. According to the King Arthur Flour website, when the middle 4 inches of the pie jiggles, but the rest is set, your pie can come out of the oven.

Lambeau the lab checking out the pumpkin pie crust cutouts

Tip of the Day

If your pie filling happens to crack, make sure to bake up some pumpkin or leaf cutouts with your extra pastry dough. These can be artfully arranged atop your pie and no one with ever know! 

More Pumpkin Desserts You’ll Love:

Used in This Recipe:

Classic Pumpkin Pie

Classic Pumpkin Pie

Libby's pumpkin pie recipe on steroids! Make a half batch for one pie.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Yield 16 servings



  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 large can of pure pumpkin, 29 ounces (without spices added)
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 unbaked 9-inch pie shells (there is enough filling for two deep-dish pies)
  • Whipped cream for serving (sweeten with some sugar, and add vanilla to taste. A slosh or Grand Marnier or bourbon will make your topping even more festive!)


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 12 tablespoons cold butter, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 8 tablespoons lard, leaf lard preferred, cold, and cut into pieces similar size to the butter.
  • 6-8 tablespoons ice water or enough till crust just holds together when pinched between your fingers

Glaze for the crust:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon of cream


  1. In a food processor, pulse together flour, salt and sugar to mix. Add butter and lard and pulse 3-5 times, till mixture resembles cornmeal, with a few chick pea sized chunks of fat. Add ice water one tablespoon at a time, till dough just holds together.
  2. Form dough into two rounds. Wrap in plastic and form into disks. Refrigerate one hour or longer. Roll and fill pie tins with dough. Place in refrigerator till filling is made.
  3. Preheat oven to 425º.
  4. Whisk together egg yolk and cream to make glaze for crust.
  5. Make filling by whisking dry ingredients together in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Add pumpkin and dry ingredients. Gradually stir in cream. Pour into crusts. Brush exposed crust with egg yolk/cream mixture. If you have leftover filling, pour into ramekins and bake till set...removing before pies are finished.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes then decrease oven temperature to 350º. Bake for 40-50 more minutes, till center is set and knife inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Cool pies on rack for a couple hours, then refrigerate or serve with whipped cream.


Makes two pies

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 455Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 137mgSodium: 338mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 2gSugar: 24gProtein: 6g


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17 comments on “Classic Pumpkin Pie with a Leaf Lard Crust”

  1. There is nothing like pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. Your pie crusts are just beautiful and I bet they taste just as good. Be safe on your trip and have a great Thanksgiving.

  2. I love pumpkin pie. And you know it is fairly calorie friendly as far as pies go? In my opinion, just can’t beat the recipe off the can of Libby’s pumpkin. Have a wonderful trip.

  3. Those little pumpkins on the crust are just too cute. Your pumpkin pie rocks!

  4. Love the little pumpkins on the crust–brava! And nothing beats a pie dough made with lard.

    Safe journey.

  5. Thanks, everyone!!! Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

  6. Carole, this was the easiest crust to roll out…I think I’ve finally got it!!! WHEW! I was thrilled that the pumpkins didn’t fall off…you’ve heard about all my crust disasters 🙂

  7. Looks fantastic Liz!!!!!
    Love those little pumpkins on the crust! Did you used a mold or cutter to make them??

  8. Vanesa, I used a cutter from Williams-Sonoma, but someone artistic like you could probably do it by hand 🙂

  9. Your dog is just too cute! And this pie looks soooo good; this would be the perfect pie for Thanksgiving or anytime 😉 Thanks for sharing!

  10. Dear Lizzy, Pumpkin Pie is one of my favorite holiday dessert. This looks absolutely perfect and delightful. xoxo, Catherine

  11. Your pumpkin pie looks wonderful. My mom always says to make a good pie crust that you must have lard. Lizzy, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  12. the perfect pumpkin pie this is gorgeous! Have a blessed holiday!

  13. The best looking pumpkin pie I’ve seen! Love the tweaks you made to this recipe! It’s a must for the Thanksgiving dessert table!

  14. An amazing classic for the Thanksgiving dessert table!

  15. Does this recipe call for 6 eggs since we’re bumping up the eggs by 1 to account for the watery cream substitution?

    Going to try this out this thanksgiving 🙂  

  16. I like the tip on using lard! This came out absolutely perfect! 

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