Thanksgiving: a day of gratitude, a day of tradition, a day of family, and (most importantly) a day of decadent mountains of food. What's not to love? Since my days of little blond curls, I have cherished this holiday. Years later, the warm, nostalgic smells from the kitchen don't fail to make me squirm with delight. My grandmother Cathy, adoringly known as Caki, has been commander and chief of nearly every Turkey-day meal I've attended; none of which would be complete without her unique tradition of pumpkin pie.

Although Caki appears a rather conventional lady, her radical Thanksgiving pie whips (pun intended) the norms of all standard pumpkin desserts. The delicate, mousse-like filling of Caki's Pumpkin Chiffon Pie had my entire family re-thinking why we had ever ended a heavy meal with a dense dessert. 

This fall, after some convincing, Caki passed down her infamous pumpkin pie recipe to the next generation; and, with grandma's approval, I'm sharing it with you. Who knows, maybe this untraditional pumpkin pie is just the tradition your buffet needs this November!

Caki's Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

  • Prep Time:3 hrs
  • Cook Time:25 mins
  • Total Time:3 hrs 25 mins
  • Servings:8
  • Medium


  • 2 envelopes gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 eggs separated at room temperature
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pint whipping cream
  • Pre-made 9" graham cracker crust
Molly Farrell
  • Step 1

    Soften gelatin in cold water.

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  • Step 2

    Mix well and set aside.

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  • Step 3

    Beat egg yolks in a medium-sized saucepan.

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  • Step 4

    Add brown sugar, milk, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and salt to the yolks in the pan. Cook over low heat, stirring slowly constantly until the mixture is thick. About 5-7 min.

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  • Step 5

    Once the mixture has come together, remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the congealed gelatin.

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  • Step 6

    Pour the filling into a large bowl and chill in the fridge until thick. About 30 min.

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  • Step 7

    While the pumpkin mixture chills, begin the second half of the filling. In a medium bowl, beat the whipping cream until the liquid stiffens and soft peaks rise. The cream can be whipped with a whisk attachment on a stand mixer, using a hand beater or, if you're feeling strong, opt for a hand-held whisk and go to town. Once the cream sufficiently stiffens, set aside.

    Caki's Cooking Tip: Chill the bowl in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before adding the cream in order to shorten the whipping time.

    Molly Farrell
  • Step 8

    In a large clean bowl, beat egg whites until they are stiff. (Like whip cream, you'll know they're set when soft peaks form.)

    Caki's Cooking Tip: In order to ensure perfectly beaten egg whites:
    1. Wipe the interior of the bowl with a lemon before adding the whites to get rid of any excess oils
    2. Only whip egg whites at room temperature.

    Molly Farrell
  • Step 9

    Remove the pumpkin mixture from the fridge and gently fold into the egg whites one spoonful at a time.

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  • Step 10

    Once the egg whites and pumpkin are mixed, fold in the whip cream slowly. Ensuring not to flatten the egg whites.

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  • Step 11

    Mix until fully combined.

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  • Step 12

    Take out your premade crumb crust.

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  • Step 13

    Pour the filling into the crust and spread until even. Allow the pie to set in the fridge for at least an hour before digging in.

    Molly Farrell
  • Step 14

    Feel free to top the pie with a dollop of whip cream or a dash of cinnamon for presentation. The pie can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for 2-3 days before serving.

    Molly Farrell

Year after year, this recipe has my family singing praises and saying, "Oh my, I want a piece of pie!" 

Happy Holiday Season from Grandma Caki and I!