Pumpkin Pie “Pioneer Style” – No Oven Needed

Pumpkin Pie “Pioneer Style” is both a delicious recipe and a memorable experience. Making this campfire dish is a tradition I hope will last for generations in my family.

Pumpkin Pie "Pioneer Style"
Pumpkin Pie “Pioneer Style”

Pumpkin Pie Over a Campfire: A Perfect Way to Unplug

When our pumpkins are ready for harvest, we place all our electronics in a basket and leave them behind. Then we head outdoors to make a fire and this delicious recipe!

Since families are bombarded with texts, calls, messages, snapchats, we have to make an intentional effort to get back to the basics sometimes. We all need to re-connect with our families and disconnect with gadgets to “see” a little more clearly and know each other a little more deeply. However, I’ve noticed that unless we set times for connecting, they often just don’t happen.

The hot coals give exactly enough heat to cook the entire pumpkin.
The hot coals give exactly enough heat to cook the entire pumpkin.

I am sharing this recipe and experience from my latest book, Stacy Lyn’s Harvest Cookbook, in hopes that you will enjoy your family, the outdoors, and God’s great bounty.

Watch me make Pioneer Pumpkin Pie for the Outdoor Channel’s Thanksgiving feast here:

Learning to Love Pumpkin

To be honest, I have not always loved pumpkin desserts or pumpkin in general. But Scott, my husband, has always adored pumpkin anything. Therefore, I learned to prepare it in ways that I would like it, too.

I have shared my Pumpkin Butter Recipe with Bonnie Plants. Truly, it is my favorite pumpkin butter recipe of all time. I feel that it has just enough spice but is not overpowering. I think that has always been my problem – the overload of spice, not the pumpkin itself.

Pumpkin Butter is just to die for..well...almost.
Pumpkin butter is just to die for..well…almost.

I have always had pumpkin out of the can until I started growing my own. Pumpkin actually has a fantastic flavor on its own with very little need to enhance the flavor. This experiment with pumpkin pie “pioneer style” was quite exceptional. As the editors of Sur LaTable said, “Finding the right balance of texture and flavor can be a challenge and it takes some practice to get it right. You can always try cooking it the way the settlers did: Pioneer Style Pumpkin Pie ” referring folks here. Isn’t that cool!

It was one of those nights that will go down in my memory bank as a nostalgic moment. Everything seemed to be so perfect.

If you wonder what we are eating while waiting for the pumpkins to get done, we are having bean soup with sausage. Yummy!
If you wonder what we are eating while waiting for the pumpkins to get done, we are having bean soup with sausage. Yummy!

When the settlers came to their new nation they obviously were living off the land. They had to learn from the Indians and enjoy the foods that they natives enjoyed. The had no electricity and cooked quite differently than we do in this modern age. I thought that it would be great fun to cook pumpkins straight on the smoldering coals of a once nice fire just as the settlers did.

Do you ever find yourself staring at the embers of a fire? It is almost like it is hypnotic (if you believe in that kind of thing).
Do you ever find yourself staring at the embers of a fire? It is almost like it is hypnotic (if you believe in that kind of thing).


Courtesy of Stacy Lyn’s Harvest Cookbook.

You will need to start your fire about an hour before you want to start cooking the pumpkins so that you will be placing them on hot coals as opposed to a blazing fire.

Start your fire early!
Start your fire early!

To prepare the pumpkin, the kids and I removed the tops of 4 medium-sized pumpkin and scraped the seeds and stringy insides out of the pumpkin’s cavity.

In a small bowl, I mixed 4 cups of heavy cream, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground ginger, 1 cup of sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

I poured one cup of the mixture into each pumpkin and then took them outside and put them on the hot coals. 

Some of my coals happened to be hotter in spots and my pumpkins varied in size. As a reult, the pumpkins were not done all at the same time. On average, it took about an hour for the pumpkins to bake to completion.

I carefully removed the cooked pumpkins from the fire and placed them in a small cast iron skillet. Be very careful not to puncture the skin because the mixture will begin to leak from punctured areas.

Now comes the fun part; mixing the cream mixture and the pumpkin.
Now comes the fun part; mixing the cream mixture and the pumpkin.

Mix the tender pumpkin with the cream mixture. You can eat this straight from the pumpkin or remove it to a large bowl and puree it even further for a smoother texture and use it for a base for pie filling.

I served our “pumpkin pie” straight from pudding bowls. My family loved it.

Please note that when it is not puréed, the pumpkin mixture has a texture that resembles a soft spaghetti squash. My family are used to eating my “experiments,” but if you are used to eating the canned pumpkin or the puréed pumpkin, the squash-like texture may not be your favorite.

Perfect Pumpkin Pie "Pioneer Style"
Perfect Pumpkin Pie “Pioneer Style”


Simply mix 2 cups of the pumpkin purée in a large bowl with 2 eggs, 1 yolk from a third egg, , and ½ teaspoon lemon zest. Place the mixture into an unbaked pie shell, then bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes.

All in all, this night was one to be remembered and I will “bake” my pumpkins from now on right over hot coals. The time is well spent with family as we talked, ate our outdoor dinner, and waited for our pumpkin desserts. I hope this gives you an idea for your family and that you enjoy them and the outdoors as much as I did that wonderful simple night.

Stacy Lyn’s Pumpkin Recipes

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  1. It sounds like it would be very good.

  2. vivienne smith says:

    This sounds amazing! Thanks so much for the share.

    1. Stacy Harris says:

      You are welcome! I hope that you can use this with your family. It is the same feel as a marshmallow roast but with a little more nutrition!

  3. I bet this idea would also work for acorn squash or other squashes. My grandma used to make the acorn squash (cut in half, then pierced multiple times with a fork to let the seasoning soak in) with salt, pepper, butter, brown sugar and then the last few minutes she would throw in some marshmallows to make it palatable for kids. :-).
    I can’t wait to try this in our fire pit. Great post!

    1. Stacy Harris says:

      Your grandma seems like a smart lady. I am going to have to try that. So uncomplicated, but so great! Thanks for the comment.

  4. Catherine says:

    We did these in the fireplace on a chilly evening last week. It’s a new favorite!

  5. I don’t think my 3-year old would wait until this was done, but she would sure squeal with glee to see our pumpkin experiment…. and the husband would just eat the pie afterwards 🙂 Sounds like great family memories.

    1. Stacy Harris says:

      It is great fun! I would love to hear your 3-year old squeal. That is such a fun time. I have a 4-year old and she makes me smile constantly. Your husband would truly truly love this. You have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing with me.

  6. Sounds great! I’m going to try to do this at home in my oven. 🙂 This will be my very first time to use a pumpkin in the kitchen.

    1. Stacy Harris says:

      Hope you like it Marie!

  7. I did something very much like this in our oven once. It was wonderful and I didn’t have to worry about messing up pie crusts.

  8. Shannon Dufresne says:

    When I read the header that said I could skip the oven I immediately went to and image of a dutch oven. my favourite way to bake in the summer when it’s too hot indoors. This is a fantastic idea and I will be trying it. My family is also used to me food experiments haha!

    1. I’m so glad to hear that Shannon! I LOVE my Dutch Oven too!!

  9. My daycare kids love to have fires outside in the fall. This would be a wonderful, healthy alternative, especially since we were gifted with a lot of pumpkins this year! Thank you for sharing!

  10. Stephanie Nuce says:

    I have some pumpkins and I am definitely doing this! How fun! We eat pumpkin pie all year round – what a creative twist! Pioneer food at its best!!!

    1. Thank you, Stephanie!! I hope you have a great time.

  11. Since we live in a neighborhood that doesn’t allow fires (although it might be ok to have a fire pit) I think I’m going to try this in my charcoal smoker. I think I might like the texture of this more than the canned, especially with the minimal cinnamon. Thanks for the recipe!

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