Pay de Calabaza

This Pay de Calabaza is brimming with fall flavors and is sure to delight your family and your guests. Homemade pumpkin pie is surely a favorite for the season!

Pay de Calabaza in a baking dish and decorated with whipped cream and pecans.

About

This pie de calabaza recipe is just like your old fashion pumpkin pie but with a Mexican spin: Crema Mexicana. This simple twist to the traditional recipe makes it worth a try.

Calabaza means pumpkin in English and Pay refers to pie. Anyway, you can say out loud that this is not a traditional Mexican recipe.

Just the same way people in the US have fallen in love with many Mexican dishes and have transformed them to their tastes and preferences is also the other way around.

There are many US classics we’ve adopted AND adapted to our Mexican taste and this pay de calabaza is just the proof.

Why You Should Make It

  • Is a no-fail recipe. If you’re not familiar with the popular pumpkin pie from the US, this is the perfect recipe because is really easy to follow.
  • Can be made ahead. You can make it two or three days before and keep it in the refrigerator, it really saves you from the stress of cooking large meals on the same day you have to serve them.
  • It has the perfect texture. It is thick, nicely set, and creamy, all without adding cornstarch, thanks to the Mexican cream!
  • It is delicious. It has a sweet and delicious pumpkin flavor and a very creamy texture. Really, there’s nothing that calls more autumn than this earthy, aromatic, and flavorful pumpkin pie.
Pay de calabaza sliced and served in plates.

Ingredients Needed

  • Flour: I used all-purpose flour, but the dough can also be made with your favorite gluten-free flour mixture.
  • Butter & lard/shortening: I decided to use a mix of lard and butter because it makes the dough more flavorful and gives it the perfect crumbly texture. You can use only one of those ingredients.
  • Sugar: Just need a bit for the dough.
  • Salt: A pinch of salt to bring out flavors.
  • Water: Make sure you use cold water, so the butter won’t melt when kneading.

For the filling:

  • Pumpkin purée: Feel free to use your favorite brand of pumpkin puree or make your own puré de calabaza with any winter squash available to you.
  • Eggs: Use 2 medium eggs.
  • Milk: I used whole milk, but you can easily swap it for coconut milk or for condensed milk for a creamier texture.
  • Cream: I like the flavor of Mexican crema but feel free to swap it for sour cream.
  • Brown sugar: Brown sugar adds a deeper taste, in my opinion.
  • Pumpkin spice: This is a key ingredient, if you can’t find it, substitute with a mixture of ground spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and whole cloves.

How To Make Pay de Calabaza

Make the dough:

  1. Place flour, butter, lard, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
  2. Transfer to a floured working surface and add water, then knead quickly to make the dough come together.
  3. Form a ball, wrap it with cling film, and place it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  4. Roll the dough into a thick sheet and carefully place it into a 9.5-inch pie dish.
  5. Trim the excess dough just a little bit, then fold the overhanging dough back into the dish to form a thick rim with your fingers (check the video).
  6. Place in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes.
A collage with 4 steps showing how to prepare pay de calabaza dough.

Make the filling & finish the pie:

  1. Place eggs, brown sugar, and milk in a mixing bowl. Mix to combine.
  2. Add Mexican crema, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin spice. Mix until everything is nicely combined.
  3. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the pan and bake in a preheated oven at 392°F/200°C for 15 minutes.
  4. Low the temperature to 350°F/175°C and continue baking for 30-40 minutes or until the pie is nicely set.
A collage with 2 steps showing how to prepare pay de calabaza filling.

Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack, allow to cool down completely before slicing and serving.

How To Serve

You can serve pay de calabaza at room temperature the day it’s made or chilled with a big dollop of whipped cream and crushed pecans.

At home, we love to serve it drizzled with Mexican caramel (cajeta) and a big cup of Café de olla at the end of our meal, is just the way we Mexicans love to eat pastries and baking goods!

How To Store

Pay de Calabaza can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days, so is perfect to make ahead. You can leave it in the baking dish, just cover it tightly with cling film.

To prevent your pie from sweating in the refrigerator, make sure it is completely cooled at room temperature before storing it.

You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. I like to do that with leftovers by first slicing them into small portions then wrapping them with cling film and placing them in a storage box.

When you are ready to enjoy a slice of pumpkin pie, just thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and then place it on a plate, covered, and allow it to reach room temperature before eating.

FAQ

How to prevent cracks in a pumpkin pie?

Do not overbake and make sure you follow the instructions for baking, the first 15 minutes are intended to add a burst of heat, then the temperature should be lower for the remaining baking time.

I can’t find pumpkin purée where I live, what can I do?

You can make a quick homemade pumpkin puree by steaming fresh pumpkin and then blending it. Place the puree in a strainer for 1-2 hours to get rid of the excess moisture and there you go: Homemade pumpkin puree!

How do you know when the pie is cooked?

The calabaza pie is done when is nicely set on the sides but still a bit jiggly in the middle.

More Pumpkin Recipes

Love pumpkin spice flavors? Try also our other recipes featuring this amazing spice mix, such as…

Watch How To Make It

Pay de Calabaza Recipe.

Pay de Calabaza

author Maricruz
6
This pay de calabaza, aka pumpkin pie, has a delicious Mexican twist: Crema Mexicana. Try this popular fall recipe!
prep 20 minutes
cook 45 minutes
chilling time 50 minutes
total 1 hour 55 minutes

Equipment

  • 1 pie dish about 9.5 inches /24cm

Ingredients 

For the crust

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup butter
  • 3 Tbsp lard (or shortening)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 1 tsp salt

For the filling

  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 2 medium eggs
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 7 fl oz milk (a bit less than a cup)
  • cup Mexican crema (or sour cream)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice

Instructions
 

Make the dough:

  • Place flour, butter, lard, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
  • Transfer to a floured working surface and add water, then knead quickly to make the dough come together.
  • Form a ball, wrap it with cling film and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  • Roll the dough into a thick sheet and carefully place it into a pie dish.
  • Trim the excess dough just a little bit, then fold the overhang dough back into the dish to form a thick rim with your fingers (check the video).
  • Place in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes.

Make the filling & pie:

  • Place eggs, brown sugar, and milk in a mixing bowl. Mix to combine.
  • Add Mexican crema, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin spice. Mix until everything is nicely combined.
  • Pour the pumpkin mixture into the pan and bake in a preheated oven at 392°F/200°C for 15 minutes.
  • Low the temperature to 350°F/175°C and continue baking for 30-40 minutes or until the pie is nicely set.
  • A collage with 2 steps showing how to prepare pay de calabaza filling.
  • Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack, allow to cool down completely before slicing and serving.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 518kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 106mg | Sodium: 606mg | Potassium: 237mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 7023IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 111mg | Iron: 3mg
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