Pumpkin bee sting pie

Pumpkin Bee Sting Pie is not a Mexican dessert, but the baker in me, with memories of past yuletide dinners, wants a traditional table for the holidays that includes a pumpkin pie. Mexico has all the ingredients: over-sized squash that stand in for canned pumpkin, dark honey, and coconut. This pie variation of Bienenstich, the German Bee Sting Cake, will be our dessert for Christmas dinner, when memories of snowy Christmases and holiday dinners from the past make me nostalgic for a Christmas where the waves don’t lap on the beach, where the palms don’t rustle in the breeze, where the only white I see is snow, not sand. With this recipe, my holiday baking and cooking has commenced. The twinkling stars next to a recipe designate dishes for the holidays.

What is special about the Bee Sting Cake is its crunchy topping of honey and almond slices. The Pumpkin Bee Sting Pie recipe that was in U.S. newspapers across the country just before Thanksgiving adds coconut to the topping. This final addition proved irresistible to me, coconut lover that I am.

If you live north of the border, make it easy on yourself and buy a can of Libby’s pumpkin. Their canned pumpkin is so consistently good, that it is not worth the effort to steam, scrape and purée your own. But if you are south of the border, buy a Mexican squash, the kind that are so huge and oddly shaped, they look prehistoric.

Cut it into manageable pieces, scrape out the seeds, steam or roast the squash until tender, scrape the flesh from the skin, purée, then freeze. See what I mean about it being easier to buy a can of pumpkin? The only time I would advocate cooking it yourself is if you have an organic pumpkin. Or if you live in Mexico and can’t find canned pumpkin or can’t bring yourself to pay $8 for it when you do. Otherwise, go with Libby.

The flaky cream cheese pie crust recipe is in The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum and found on  Epicurious, the wonderful recipe compendium for Bon Appetit and the late, lamented Gourmet magazine. I used fifty percent whole wheat flour, and did not have the usual problem of a whole wheat crust being difficult to handle. The vinegar and baking powder ensure a tender pastry, while the cream cheese adds enough structure to prevent shrinking and cracking. Take it from me, someone who has struggled with pie pastry, this recipe is fail-proof.

The pie filling follows the standard recipe in the newspapers, but my method differs, following Rose’s instructions for cooking the pumpkin with spices, then pureeing in the food processor for maximum smoothness. As always, I reduced the sweetness, decreasing the honey in the filling by half, since to my taste most desserts are much too sweet.

Pumpkin Bee Sting Pie

  • 1 9″ pie shell
  • 1 15-oz. can pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup organic heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup dried unsweetened organic coconut
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons organic butter, melted
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 deg. F. (180 C.)
  2. In a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, stir together the pumpkin, honey, spices and salt. Stirring constantly, cook for 5 minutes after the mixture starts to bubble.
  3. Spoon the mixture into a food processor and blend for one minute.
  4. With the motor running, add the cream and vanilla, processing until incorporated.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, processing for a few seconds with each addition.
  6. Pour the mixture into the unbaked pie shell, and bake for 45-50 minutes, until almost completely set, and the center still jelly like.
  7. In a small bowl, combine almonds, coconut, honey and butter.
  8. Spread almond mixture evenly over  pie and return to oven for 10-15 minutes, or until topping has lightly browned. Cool on rack before serving.

More Reading:

How to Cook a Fresh Pumpkin (Southern Food)

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12 thoughts on “Pumpkin bee sting pie

  1. Angie

    I want to try this recipe sometime in the next few weeks. It sounds and looks so delicious! Also, I was tickled to find the combination of your whole wheat crust with the cream cheese crust recipe on the Epicurious site. I’ve been looking for a good whole wheat crust recipe for a long time. They seem to differ so much. Yours in the picture looks delicious!

    1. Hi Angie, I haven’t looked at this recipe in a long time. In fact, I haven’t even thought about it in a long time. Now that you’ve brought it up, it’s looking like a good candidate for Thanksgiving dessert. I’m now trying to do pie crusts with all whole wheat. Maybe the cream cheese in this one will make it more doable. It is a very good pie, and I hope you try it.

  2. I’ve never heard of bee sting pie before! Sounds delicious and I like the idea of using cream cheese in pie crust too. Merry Christmas to you Kathleen! Thanks for the inspiration all year long. I look forward to trying out some more of your recipes.

  3. acuaticamontero

    Wow, Kathleen! It looks incredible! Remember me, next time you need an additional taster when I’m in town. Understand that, of course, I’m only doing it to help you out, certainly not for any selfish, self-serving reasons of my own.

  4. Pingback: PUMPKIN PROTEIN COOKIES | Causes of high cholesterol Blog

  5. Laurie

    Thank you for including a link to a foolproof and flaky crust…thank you so much! I’d given up on crusts anymore, this will be a lifesaver. Just in time for Christmas!

  6. Vicki in GA

    Wow! A nice change to the boring pumpkin pie that everyone serves….worse yet is the frozen pies with Cool Whip! Okay, I won’t go there!

    The squash you showed in the photo is the kind of squash I buy at local farmers’ markets. I like it much better than canned pumpkin.. In the fall, I bake different kinds of pumpkin and squash, mash it, package it in seal-a-meal bags, and freeze. One year I canned pumpkin and squash for pies – it turned out good, too. The canning rules have changed – when I was a kid, my granny canned everything – now, the canning gurus say don’t do this and don’t do that because of possible food poisioning. I’m surprised us old timers have lived as long as we have with all these new developments!! Okay, I won’t go there, either!!

    Speaking of rules: Living in Mexico is wonderful because the precautions are few and common sense can guide a person better than the FDA. Okay, I won’t go there.

    Hugs to you from Georgia.

    1. Hi Vicki,
      I’m told that even canned pumpkin is a vegetable that is a large squash, not what we use for the Halloween pumpkin.
      Mexico is more free-wheeling, which has it pros and cons. But things are becoming more restricted, as everything becomes computerized here, too.
      Stay warm and hugs back to you.

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