Traditional recipes

Best Wines for Pumpkin Pie

Best Wines for Pumpkin Pie

End your meal with 2 unforgettable wines

This is no time for underachievement.

You could end Thanksgiving with pumpkin pie and coffee. You could also drive 30 miles per hour in a 50 stretch, listen to music with cheap earphones, and go to bed early Saturday night. But, hello, it’s Thanksgiving. This is no time for underachievement.

So, we have two wine ideas that will take that pumpkin pie to a whole new level. In fact, we’ve watched it happen many times this year: the right wine can elevate the flavor of a dish. 1 + 1 = 3, so to speak. Our kind of math.

The first is the famous light, honied Hungarian dessert wine Tokaji Aszú. Tokaji (pronounced toe-KIGH) was once the most famous dessert wine in the world, until decades of Communism put Hungary behind an Iron Curtain. Today, Tokaji is back, and it’s pure magic with the dried fruit, rich pumpkin, and nutmeg flavors in pumpkin pie. The Royal Tokaji Company makes several of our favorite ones.

With Thanksgiving’s top pie, we also love PX — a must-try for any wine lover. To make PX, pedro ximenez grapes are picked and laid out on mats in the scorchingly hot, bright sun of southern Spain. The grapes shrivel and turn brown like raisins, concentrating the sugar inside. The wine that results is mahogany-colored, syrupy in texture, and oozing with decadently rich flavors reminiscent of molasses, dried apricots, and black figs. Amazingly, given such atomic density of concentration, the wine is also ethereally elegant. Toro Albalá; is our favorite producer.

There you have them — two wines to end Thanksgiving with a bang, not a whisper.

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Top pairings

Nothing proclaims autumn more clearly than squash and pumpkin but what wine should you pair with them? It depends whether the dish is savoury or sweet obviously but here are a few options that might help

Wines to pair with roast or baked squash

Butternut squash in particular comes in a lot of guises but is fundamentally sweet, especially when you roast it. In general I favour rich whites like oak-aged chardonnay, Rhône varietals such as viognier, roussanne and marsanne and old vine chenin blanc either on its own or in a South African Cape white blend.

If you want a red I&rsquod go for a warming Côtes du Rhône or similar wine made from Rhône varietals like grenache, syrah and mourvèdre.

Beerwise I&rsquod be thinking of a saison or amber ale as I&rsquove suggested with this fabulous baked squash recipe from Claire Thomson

Wines for pumpkin or squash ravioli

A popular dish in Italy often served with crisp-fried sage and brown butter. Again the wines above would do the trick, but you might want to make them Italian. I&rsquom thinking a good Soave or a rich Sicilian white like a fiano though I've also paired a Douro white successfully with pumpkin ravioli. The same advice would apply to butternut squash lasagne and butternut squash risotto too. I&rsquove also had some success pairing pumpkin gnocchi with gewurztraminer so you could try that with pasta too.

Wine with pumpkin or butternut squash soup

Again I&rsquod be looking out for those smoother richer whites - chenin blanc, viognier and chardonnay - but perhaps slightly lighter-bodied than you&rsquod pick for a roast squash recipe. If it were a spicy soup like this pumpkin coconut and lentil soup I&rsquod go for an more aromatic white wine like the ones below

Wines for butternut squash or pumpkin curry

Butternut squash can handle quite a bit of spice and works well in a curry, especially with coconut milk. I&rsquod choose a pinot gris, riesling or a light, maybe Chilean, gewurztraminer. Or our friend viognier again.

Butternut squash salads

Butternut squash in salads tends to be less about the squash and more about other ingredients such as feta, pesto or pumpkin seeds. Go for a brighter, crisper white such as Italian Greco or a Falanghina.

The best wine pairings for pumpkin pie

As much about the spices that are used as the pumpkin. Personally I like a rich moscatel but consult this post for other options.

Photo by Tatiana Vorona at shutterstock.com

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Gourds Gone Wild: 9 Pumpkin Cocktails For This Fall

Before you do the “pumpkin? seriously?” eye roll, just wait a second. Yes, businesses everywhere overload their offerings with pumpkin. (We would not be surprised if dentists started offering pumpkin flavored fluoride treatments.) But fall weather, or at least whatever fall weather is turning into with the whole climate change thing, does kind of turn us all into temporary gourd vampires. It’s the same collective seasonal madness that propels us toward shiny red hearts in February or rocket pops at the Fourth of July: for a few months out of every year, we collectively crave the very particular, very peculiar flavor of pumpkin, wherever we can get it.

One of the best, and generally least offensive, pumpkin delivery systems is the cocktail. We might insist on putting it in pies and lattes, but pumpkin also works beautifully in a mixed drink. Most often you’ll see it with bourbon or whiskey, and if you’re lucky you might get one of those creamy liquid-intoxicant-pumpkin-pie type of drinks, but we gathered as many different recipes as we could. You’ll find tequila, bourbon, vodka, and even cachaça mix well with pumpkin. And you’ll love it. Seriously, every time you see a jack-o’-lantern this year, you’re gonna be tempted to pour some liquor in and start drinking.

Pumpkin Pie Martini from WeAreNotMartha.com

Just because this website has the very prominent “not Martha” disclaimer doesn’t mean its not taking care to make a delicious cocktail (it’s a good thing). The most complicated part is making a pumpkin pie caramel syrup. But then you’ll have a pumpkin pie caramel syrup, so it’s pretty much a win.

Pumpkin Pie Caipirinha from PopSugar.com

We’ve lived our entire lives fairly confident we’d never see the words “pumpkin pie” and “Caipirinha” this close together, and yet here it is, a pumpkin-infused fall take on what’s arguably a strictly summer drink. Fresh ginger acts as a sort of bridge between the citrus, cachaça and pumpkin. Definitely a unique flavor profile, for pumpkin lovers looking for a new edge?

Pumpkin Spice Gin Sour from VinePair

Yeah, tooting our own horn a bit, but this is also a super simple, ultra sleek and fairly distinctive pumpkin cocktail. Instead of the canned puree, you’re gonna be using pumpkin butter. Just that, some gin, lemon, and egg white. (Don’t fear the albumen!!)

Apple Pumpkin Beer Cocktails from CookingandBeer.com

“It’s like pumpkin pie and apple pie got together and had a beautiful baby.” We couldn’t have said it better. Another easy prep recipe: just combine more bourbon, apple cider, and pumpkin beer. And seriously, stop hating on pumpkin beer.

Pumpkin Irish Cream from ArisMenu.com

What’s cool about this recipe is you can make a whole bunch of it at once. Oh, yeah, it also tastes like delicious, spicy fall creaminess in a glass — and a little bit healthier when you use almond milk. Definitely a good dessert drink option.

Spiced Pumpkin Punch from DomesticateMe.com

Pumpkin puree and bourbon work pretty well together, maybe no surprise. Here they’re mixed with honey and citrus and laced with fall spices before getting a final kick of ginger beer. It’d be tempting to figure out how to make this in mass, punch quantities (and then hog it all, clearly).

Pumpkin Spice Whiskey Cocktails from DishingUptheDirt.com

This recipe looks complicated, but you’re basically making a maple simple syrup with pumpkin puree and a bunch of spices. Then it’s just a quick dose of whiskey (she uses bourbon, though rye would be just as nice), a stir, and some soda water.

Pumpkin Beertail with Tequila from FloatingKitchen.net

Plenty of pumpkin cocktails use whiskey, generally bourbon, but in the right recipe, like this one, you can pair it with tequila, plus some spiced rum, plus, yeah, some pumpkin beer. It’s a whopper of a drink, so probably don’t knock this one back before trick-or-treating with the kids.

Pumpkin Margaritas from TheSkinnyConfidential.com

More tequila and pumpkin (hooray!). But what’s actually cool about this recipe is it doesn’t pack on as many calories as a lot of pumpkin cocktails do (though let’s face it, creamy pumpkin drinks are fantastic). But yeah, this one’s nice and fresh with a hit of pumpkin and some warming seasonal spice, so you can pretty much enjoy well before the leaves start putting on their show.


Share All sharing options for: Ask a Somm: What Kind of Wine Pairs With Pumpkin Spice

Inspired by the cult documentary film Somm, Uncorked is the new Esquire series that follows six sommeliers as they prepare to take one of the toughest test on this planet, the final level of the Master Sommelier exam. So, Eater caught up with the show's cast Jack Mason (Marta, NY), Yannick Benjamin (University Club, NY), Jane Lopes (Eleven Madison Park, NY), Dana Gaiser (Lauber Imports), Josh Nadel (NoHo Hospitality Group, NY) and Morgan Harris (Aureole, NY) to talk about the flavor of the season: pumpkin spice. Below, each offers thoughts on wines to pair. Meanwhile, check out Uncorked when it premieres on November 10 at 10/9c. Spoiler: Some passed, others did not.

Q: What kind of wine pairs best with pumpkin spice?

Dana Gaiser: As for pairing with pumpkin spice, my first thought would be Alsace Pinot Gris from a producer such as Domaine Weinbach, Cuvée Sainte Catherine ($50). The richness of Pinot Gris with a combination of stone fruits and sweet citrus pairs up well with the rounder flavor of pumpkin and can handle the fall spices. Try a drier style of Pinot Gris with your savory dishes and a sweet version like 1999 Domaine Weinbach Tokay Pinot Gris ($90) with your desserts.

Josh Nadel: Alsatian wines are my go-to for pairing with the rich, aromatic spices of fall cooking. The ripeness of grapes achieved in Alsace, combined with the unbridled flavors of the Riesling and Pinot Gris grown there, are a great match. Furthermore, these wines are unadulterated by oak, which is a big part of food pairing. Finally, there is a weight to the wines which, after the crisp and mouthwatering wines of summer, is a welcome change of pace. Some of my favorite producers are Albert Boxler ($36), Domaine Weinbach ($33), Rolly Gassmann ($30), Domaine Schoffit ($28), Domaine Barmes Buecher ($40).

Jane Lopes: I would say 2012 J. Hofstätter Gewürztraminer Kolbenhof ($52). Gewürztraminer is heavy on spice notes echoed by the pumpkin spice flavor, and this wine has enough residual sugar to match the sweet preparations that normally go along with the spice.

Yannick Benjamin: 2012 Château de Fosse-Sèche "Arcane" ($30) is one of my favorite Chenin Blancs on the market. Depending on the amount of pumpkin spice, this is a dry Chenin that can fool you into thinking that it could be sweet just based on the nose. An explosion of baked apple and dried honey with a hint.

2014 Cascinetta Vietti Moscato D'Asti ($15) is not your bottom shelf Moscato d’Asti. Vietti makes some the best Moscato d’Asti, and I have to admit it is my absolute guilty pleasure. It has intense aromas of peaches, rose petals and ginger. On the palate it is delicately sweet and sparkling with modest acidity, and would be a magical pairing with the pumpkin spice.

When I think of Port wine and the smell of pumpkin spice, I automatically think of the fall and the winter season. Pumpkin Spice on warm bread or a freshly baked cake. A vintage Port, like 2000 Fonseca Vintage Port ($100), is an automatic match made in food and wine pairing heaven. Vintage Port often gets forgotten in the back of the wine shop, but go ahead and pick yourself up one for your next dinner when you feature your pumpkin spice-infused dessert.

Morgan Harris: Pumpkin spice and Alsace Pinot Gris is a match made in heaven. The wines have a great mix of all the spiced cinnamon, clove, and mace and cardamom flavors you find in pumpkin spice the pairing is very like-with-like. For something savory like butternut squash soup with pumpkin spices, try a dry wine like Domaine Zind-Humbrecht's Rotenberg ($49). As you move into sweeter dishes like pumpkin pie, or pumpkin spice ice cream, picking up a sweeter wine like Domaine Schoffit Clos St. Théobald Rangen ($45) will be the move, as the sugar levels between wine and the dish will be more harmonious.

Jack Mason: Generally, pumpkin spice flavor has some sort of sweetness associated with it and therefore you need wines with different levels of sweetness to match. Here are three different options for food items with varying levels of sweetness ranging from dry to dessert level. For a more savory preparation, like a pumpkin ravioli, I really enjoy Wind Gap’s Trousseau Gris ($23). Notes of apple cider, bruised pear, and spice all with a textured mouthfeel make this dry wine an amazing pairing with all things autumn.

When your dinner or snack has a hint of sweetness, nothing screams pumpkin spice like a good glass of off-dry Chenin Blanc. Bruised apple and pear, sweet cider with hints of beeswax, the refreshing acidity and sweet finish of 2009 Domaine Huet Vouvray ‘Clos du Bourg’ Moelleux ($42) is an amazing accompaniment to spiced pumpkin soup or even a pumpkin scone!

With a pumpkin spice dessert, such as a classic pumpkin pie with a flaky, buttery crust, a great dessert wine I like to pair is the 2009 Falchini Vin Santo del Chianti ($31). A blend of white grapes aged in a small barrel in the attic of the winery produces a sweet, slightly nutty dessert wine with notes of baking spices. The combination of a sweet attack, hints of allspice and subtle nuttiness, makes this an ideal wine for the flavors of fall.

Have a wine-related question you'd like answered? Hit the comments.


Quick Drop of Knowledge

Your Thanksgiving pie or dessert traditions may be different! Our best suggestion is to find a wine that complements the specific flavors in your dessert. If your dessert is more spice driven than find a wine that has those similar baking spice qualities.

Likewise if the dessert is super sweet – a bubbly and/or sweet wine is a great way to go.

There are also wines that are versatile! These wines are great for every part of your Thanksgiving meal – appetizer to dessert & everything in between.


Why We Love Pumpkin Spice

In order to know which wines to try, it helps to understand what you enjoy about this flavor combo.

Contrary to the name, “pumpkin spice” flavored treats often do not contain pumpkin. Take, for instance, the beloved pumpkin spice latte. When you hold this warm beverage to your nose, the reason it’s like sniffing a freshly baked pie is because of the “spice.”

This spice mix is a combination of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice. So, you’ll want to keep an eye out for wines that have some of these flavor notes . Often, notes of baking spices come from oak aging.

If you have a sweet tooth, you may also want to look for a dessert wine or “late harvest” wine with notes of spice.


PUMPKIN-PACKED – Where pumpkin is dialed up to 11

Schlafly Pumpkin Ale – CATEGORY BEST


Unabashedly proclaims itself “a beer that tastes like pumpkin pie”— if only pumpkin pie were also 8% ABV. Despite, or because of the claim, the people seem to love this one, and with pretty good reason. Won’t taste like dessert in a bottle, though a nice full-body and some not-too-aggressive sweetness make a fair argument for the pie association. Spices are classic—cinnamon, nutmeg, clove—and integrate well with the malt and strong squash flavors.

Weyerbacher Brewing Co. Imperial Pumpkin Ale


Another pumpkin beer that’s not afraid to go full-gourd, and (not surprisingly) with a high ABV to match (8%). Made with real pumpkin as well as cinnamon, nutmeg, and a judicious pinch of cardamom and clove (anyone who’s ever used too much of either knows why), the beer tastes as big and bold as a grinning, toothy Jack-o-Lantern. Not a sweet pumpkin beer—more emphasis on the complexity of spices, with even a bit of (not unpleasant) bitterness on the finish.

Cigar City Brewing Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale – SWEETEST


Maybe it’s no surprise the Imperial style works well for the unabashedly gourd-forward beers. Everything is dialed up in an imperial style, so a strong dose of fresh pumpkin and a smattering of fall spices have a lot to work with, as here, though depending on your perceptions of sweet flavors, you might find the beer a bit too close to dessert territory. (In which case, move over pie, I’m drinking my dessert.)

Southern Tier Brewing Company Pumking

A typically aggressive seasonal entry for the lover of pumpkin-packed beer. Made with pureed pumpkin and spices, though some people seem to taste a lot more of one or the other, not to mention sweetness. Good news is the high 8.6% ABV can at least attempt to meet the spices halfway and give the pumpkin flavor some rounded balance. Gotta love fall flavors for this one, but if you do, you’re set. Plus, it pours orange. Like a pumpkin.


Perfect-for-Fall Pumpkin Recipes

Autumn is the best time to embrace the flavors of the fall harvest. Though most of us are familiar with pumpkin pie and pumpkin-flavored coffee drinks, there are many more ways to use this delicious winter squash, including in savory dishes.

To make the most of pumpkin season, try out one of the following delicious recipes!

FLUFFY PUMPKIN MUFFINS

These moist, airy muffins are simple yet utterly delicious. Fans of pumpkin pie are guaranteed to enjoy these, particularly as a breakfast treat. Health-conscious bakers can easily reduce the sugar for a healthier version of this recipe.

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

15 ounce can of pure pumpkin puree

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Instructions

1.) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) Line your muffin baking pan with 12 paper liners.

3.) Measure the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking soda, spices, and salt. Put them in a medium-sized bowl, whisk them together, and set them aside.

4.) If your coconut oil is cold, let it melt or warm it up. Then, in a separate bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla extract together.

5.) Pour the wet ingredients into the medium bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix the ingredients together, but be wary of over-mixing. Simply stir until the dry and wet ingredients are blended together.

6.) Using a large spoon, scoop the batter into the 12 muffin liners. Try to distribute the batter as evenly as possible. The batter should be enough to almost fill each liner.

7.) Bake your muffins for approximately 20 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center of a muffin to check if the muffins are done.

8.) Let the muffins cool and enjoy!

CURRY PUMPKIN SOUP

This curry pumpkin soup draws its inspiration from Thai cuisine. Spicy red curry and mouth-watering ingredients like ginger, coconut milk, and lemongrass make this a pumpkin soup unlike any other. Squash can be substituted for pumpkin if desired.

Ingredients

3 pounds and 5 ounces of peeled and roughly chopped pumpkin

3 1/2 cups of vegetable stock

1 3/4 cups (generally 1 can) coconut milk

4 teaspoons sunflower oil

1 tablespoon grated ginger

1 lemongrass, lightly bashed

3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste

1 red chili, sliced, for topping (optional)

Lime juice and sugar to taste (optional)

Instructions

1.) Heat your oven to approximately 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the oven preheat.

2.) Coat the pumpkin with half of the oil and seasoning. Place the pumpkin in a roasting tin and roast it for 30 minutes or until tender and golden.

3.) Pour the remaining oil into a large pot with the ginger, onion, and lemongrass. Fry over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until the ingredients have softened.

4.) Stir in the curry paste for 1 minute. Next, add the roasted pumpkin, stock, and all but 3 tablespoons of the coconut milk. Bring this to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes before removing the lemongrass.

5.) Let the mixture cool for a few minutes. Next, blend until smooth using a hand blender (or in batches using a large blender).

6.) Return the soup to the pan and heat it through. Season it with salt, pepper, sugar, and lime juice to taste.

7.) Serve the soup. Drizzle each bowl with the remaining coconut milk. Sprinkle the slices of red chili over the soup (if desired) and enjoy!

HEALTHY PUMPKIN SMOOTHIE

If you love the flavor of pumpkin but feel guilty about sipping a latte, try this sweet, flavorful pumpkin smoothie! Greek yogurt and skim milk fill this rich drink with protein. Autumnal spices and a touch of maple syrup add that extra touch of fall flavor to this healthy yet indulgent smoothie.

Makes: 2 standard smoothies or 1 extra-large smoothie

Ingredients

2/3 cup of pumpkin puree, fresh or canned

1/2 cup Greek yogurt, vanilla or plain

1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Instructions

1.) Place all of the ingredients in the blender, preferably placing the frozen banana and Greek yogurt on the bottom and adding the skim milk and pumpkin puree last.

2.) Blend the ingredients for a minimum of 3 minutes. Weaker blenders will require more time. Scrape the smoothie off of the sides of the blender when necessary.

3.) If the smoothie is too thick, add milk. For an even thicker texture, add ice cubes to your smoothie. If desired, add additional cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.

4.) Pour your smoothie into a glass and enjoy!

Whether you prefer sweet or savory pumpkin flavors, there are dozens of great recipes worth trying this fall. Visit your local market or grocery store to pick up some pumpkins today!


Secret Pumpkin Pie Recipe

This recipe was submitted by Pietro Siciliano of Tombolino Italian Restaurant, located in Yonkers, NY. The recipe is as unique as its taste and its sure to make a big hit for Thanksgiving or any other time you may be in the mood to enjoy a fine seasonal dessert. I thank Pietro, because most of the times its difficult for a Chef to disclose a secret.

Tombolino’s Pumpkin Pie

1 & 1/2 Cup of Pumpkin

1 & 1/2 Cup of milk

3/4 Cup of sugar

1 Teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon of salt

2 Teaspoon of melted butter

1 & 1/2 Cup of flour

6 Tablespoons of cold butter

3 Tablespoons of Crisco

34 Tablespoons of ice water

1/2 Tablespoons salt

Step 1: Beat together the pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt and butter.

Step 2: Pour into the shell of the crust

Step 3: Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes or until golden in color

I went a step further and found an instructional pie crust video on You Tube by Howdini and a Pumpkin Pie recipe demonstration by Martha Stewart and her niece Sophie from a Family Recipe.

The University of Illinois, has a wealth of information on Pumpkins. For example, did you know that References to pumpkins date back many centuries. The name pumpkin originated from the Greek word for “large melon” which is “pepon.” “Pepon” was nasalized by the French into “pompon.” The English changed “pompon” to “Pumpion.” Shakespeare referred to the “pumpion” in his Merry Wives of Windsor. American colonists changed “pumpion” into “pumpkin.” The “pumpkin” is referred to in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater and Cinderella.

Native Americans dried strips of pumpkin and wove them into mats. They also roasted long strips of pumpkin on the open fire and ate them. The origin of pumpkin pie occurred when the colonists sliced off the pumpkin top, removed the seeds, and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey. The pumpkin was then baked in hot ashes.

You can read more at the University of Illinois Extension, where they cover all about “Pumpkins and More” like, Pumpkin History, Varieties, Nutrition, Recipes, Education, Pumpkin Farms, Halloween Links, Pumpkin Facts, Growing Pumpkins, Selection & Use, Pumpkin Fun and Festivals.


Cook's Notes:

If your pumpkin is large enough, you may double this recipe to make two pies.

To prepare the mashed pumpkin: Use 1 1/2 pounds of skin-on, raw pumpkin to yield 2 cups of mashed. Halve pumpkin and scoop out seeds and stringy portions. Cut pumpkin into chunks. In saucepan over medium heat, in 1 inch of boiling water, heat the pumpkin to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or until tender. Drain, cool and remove the peel. Return pumpkin to the saucepan and mash with a potato masher or use a food mill.

Aluminum foil helps keep food moist, ensures it cooks evenly, keeps leftovers fresh, and makes clean-up easy.