This spiced pumpkin ruffled milk pie has a beautiful crispy phyllo top surrounded by a comforting pudding like bottom.
Ever since I discovered the pumpkin ruffled milk pie from my friend Bella’s blog many years ago, it became a fall dessert staple at our house and fall gathering. I brought it to a Thanksgiving dinner and it became an instant hit. Since then, friends requested for the spiced pumpkin ruffled milk pie every year. While Bella’s version is vegan, I went all out with heavy cream, butter, and eggs. This spiced pumpkin ruffled milk pie is a fall riff on the classic Greek galatópita, or milk pie. For this milk pie, sheets of phyllo are brushed with butter, scrunched into accordion-like strips, arranged in spiral, and baked directly into a pumpkin custard. The top of the milk pie stays buttery and crispy while the bottom turns into a delicious pumpkin pudding.
- Pumpkin: I roasted red kuri squash for the pumpkin puree but feel free to use canned pumpkin if you want to save time. Red Kuri squash is a Japanese squash with small, red-orange skin without the deep ridges in the sides. It has bright orange fresh with a sweet, nutty flavor perfect for baking. Kabocha is a great alternative to red kuri squash.
- Phyllo dough: also known as filo dough in Greek, is a paper-thin pastry dough made by rolling together layers of dough and often used in a variety of Greek and Middle Eastern recipes.It’s layered and used in desserts like baklava and savory dishes like spanakopita.You can find it in the frozen section at the supermarket.
How to Roast Squash
Roasting enhances the flavors of red kuri squash. During roasting, the water evaporates and the nutty taste intensifies. Slice the squash, scoop out the seeds, brush both sides with olive oil, then roast it at 400°F for 30 minutes.
Tips for Working with Phyllo Dough
- Thaw frozen phyllo for about 8 hours or overnight in the fridge. Keep the package closed when thawing. Rushing the process will lead to cracks and tears. Bring the packaged phyllo to room temperature for 1 hour before opening and using.
- Phyllo dough sheets tend to dry out quickly. When exposed to air, they can crack and tear easily. Keep them under a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper followed by a damp towel. Avoid using a damp towel right on top, since the delicate sheets will become gummy and stick together. As you remove one sheet at a time, cover the remainder.
- Prepare all ingredients ready before working with the phyllo sheets. In order to get golden, brush each layer of phyllo with butter or oil with a pastry brush. Each sheet needs around 1 tablespoon of fat so plan accordingly.
- For any leftover phyllo sheets, rewrap them in plastic and freeze.
How to Make the Pie
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly brush an oval baking pan with butter.
- Place 1 phyllo sheet on a work surface, with one long side parallel to edge. Lightly brush phyllo with butter.
- Using your hands, loosely ruffle phyllo by pushing long sides toward each other to create a long accordion shape, about 1 ½ to 2 inches tall.
- Roll the ruffled phyllo into a spiral. It's important to keep the spiral loose so they bake all the way through.
- Place upright in center of prepared pan. Repeat process with remaining sheets, continuing until bottom of pan is covered.
How Long to Bake Pie
Brush remaining butter over tops of phyllo ruffles in pan. Bake until golden brown, 25 minutes at 350°F. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool while making filling. If they seem underbaked, flip the phyllo spiral over and bake for another 5-7 minutes until lightly golden brown.
How To Make Filling
- Scoop out the cooled red kuri squash flesh and add it to a food processor and blend until smooth. Reserve 1 cup for the pumpkin ruffled milk pie and refrigerate or freeze the rest for another dessert.
- Add eggs, heavy cream, sugar, vanilla, spices, and salt and blend until well combined.
- Transfer the pumpkin filling into a measuring cup or pitcher.
- Pour the pumpkin filling into the pan with baked phyllo.
- Use a spoon to drizzle the filling into the nooks and crannies of the phyllo spirals.
How Long to Bake
Bake the spiced pumpkin ruffled milk pie at 350°F for 40-45 minutes until filling is set.
How to Serve Pie
You can keep it simple and serve the spiced pumpkin ruffled milk pie with a generous dusting of confectioners' sugar. My favorite way to enjoy it is still warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Store any leftovers in a lidded container in the fridge for up to 48 hours. Rewarm in the oven for 5-7 minutes before serving.
Spiced Pumpkin Ruffled Milk Pie
- 1 red kuri squash, about 1.5-2 pounds, quartered and seeds removed
- 10 tablespoons clarified butter or ghee, melted
- 12-14 store-bought phyllo (each 14 by 18 inches), thawed in fridge overnight
- 1 cup red kuri squash purée (or canned pumpkin puree)
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
- vanilla ice cream
- Heat the oven to 400°F. Brush both sides of the squash slices with olive oil and lay them in a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast until the become soft and the edges start to caramelize, about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly brush a 9x12-inch oval baking dish or a 9-inch round cake pan with clarified butter. Line pan with parchment paper and brush parchment.
- Place 1 phyllo sheet on a work surface, with one long side parallel to edge. Lightly brush phyllo with clarified butter.
- Using your hands, loosely ruffle phyllo by pushing long sides toward each other to create a long accordion shape, around 1 ½ to 2 inches tall.
- Loosely the ruffled phyllo sheet into a spiral. Place spiral into baking pan.
- Repeat process with remaining sheets, continuing until bottom of pan is covered.
- Brush remaining clarified butter over tops of phyllo ruffles in pan. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
- If the bottom of phyllo spirals look unbaked, flip them over and bake for another 5-7 minutes. Flip them over after baking. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool while you make the filling.
- Scrape out the squash flesh, transfer to a food processor, and pulse until smooth. Reserve 1 cup of squash puree. Refrigerate or freeze remaining squash.
- Combine squash puree, eggs, cream, granulated sugar, vanilla, spices, and salt and puree until well combined.
- Transfer mixture to a measuring cup or pitcher. Gradually pour over baked phyllo, evenly covering surface. Use a spoon to pour mixture into the nooks and crannies.
- Return pan to oven and bake until filling is set, 40 to 45 minutes.
- Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
- When ready to serve, sprinkle confectioners' sugar over the pie. Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired.