Life of Pumpkin Pie (aka Tiger Pumpkin Pie)




About: Math lover. Engineering communicator. Mad-lib enthusiast. Total nerd. I work at TELUS Spark as a champion of engineering communications. I love to fill my brain with stuff, especially math problems. When I'...

To celebrate Pi Day this year I opted for a pumpkin variety of pie, but took it one step further: tiger stripes. Yes, I'm referring to Yann Martel's book-cum-movie, "Life of Pi". I don't have a pastry chef's flair for presentation, unfortunately. I'd love to see if this can actually look like tiger stripes. If you try it, please share pictures of your attempt!

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Step 1: Ingredients

Gather the ingredients:

  • 1 9" pie crust (see Step 2 for a recipe... or get one from the store)


  • 1 can (18 ounces or 540 ml) pumpkin pie filling*
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp allspice

* your can of pumpkin may have a different recipe, feel free to use that... I won't judge.

Topping/Tiger Stripes:

  • 7 tablespoons all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar, for dusting

Step 2: Pie Crust (optional)

(Skip this step if you already have a pie crust)

Sift together 6 cups all purpose flour, 1 tablespoon white sugar and 2 teaspoons salt. Cut in 1 pound Tenderflake lard (cubed and chilled) and 1/2 cup butter (also cubed and chilled) with a pastry cutter or a pair of butter knives. Once the mixture is crumbly, slowly mix in 1 cup of cold water and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice until the mixture forms a ball. Be careful not to over mix. Divide into four portions. Roll each into a ball, wrap with saran wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Store the unused dough in the freezer for up to 2 months.

When ready to make pie, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it's slightly larger than the pie tin. Carefully lift it into the tin. Lift the edges so that the dough fills the corners. With a sharp and damp knife, cut off the excess dough. Pinch the edges as you'd like for decorative effect.

Step 3: Blind Bake the Pie Crust

Preheat oven to 425˚F.

Put aluminum foil over the pie crust, ensuring to cover the edges. Fill to the brim with pie weights, dry beans or pennies. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the crust looks just golden.

Carefully remove the pie weights. Return the crust to the oven for 5 minutes so that the bottom can cook a bit more.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Lower the oven's heat to 350˚F.

Step 4: Pie Filling

In a medium bowl, stir together the pumpkin pie filling, evaporated milk, eggs, cinnamon, salt, ginger and allspice. Mix until smooth. Pour into the prepared pie crust.

Step 5: Topping

In a medium bowl, sift together the all purpose flour, cocoa powder, sugar and baking powder. In a separate bowl mix the vegetable oil, egg and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir together. The mixture might be a bit moist, but should still form into a ball. Roll out onto a lightly floured surface to about 1/8" thick. Using a very sharp knife, cut tiger-like stripes. Place the stripes on top of the pumpkin filling.

Bake for 25-30 minutes in the 350˚F oven. When done, allow to cool completely, then sprinkle the part not covered by stripes with icing sugar to look like a tiger's tummy. Serve and enjoy.

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    2 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Did you make this " tiger pumpkin pie" based on Richard Parker the tiger in " Life of Pi"? :-)

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago

    Absolutely! All the Pi I could get!