You can’t go wrong with this spectacular holiday pie. Not only do you have a creamy, spiced pumpkin base, but you also have TONS of fluffy brown sugar meringue mounded mile-high on top!

For the pumpkin layer, I like to use Festal brand canned pumpkin. This golden pumpkin puree is made just for pumpkin pie and is specific to the Midwest. Seneca Foods purchased the brand in 2003 making it a bit difficult to find, but if you can locate a can or two, snatch it up. Otherwise just use your favorite brand of pureed pumpkin.

pumpkin pie

How to Make Brown Sugar Italian Meringue

For the top, there’s only one way to go: my brown sugar Italian meringue. This type of meringue is a bit more time-consuming to make and requires some tools like a candy thermometer, but it is well worth the effort. The egg whites actually get “cooked” by adding the hot sugar syrup to the whipped egg whites, making the meringue safe to consume without hours of baking like a French meringue. Plus it is a more stable meringue, so it can be mounded and toasted several hours prior to the arrival of that Thanksgiving crowd.

Pumpkin Pie, Thanksgiving, Holiday favorites, Christmas, Meringue
Dessert, Pie
Yield: Makes one pie or tart
Mile High Pumpkin Pie

Mile High Pumpkin Pie

Prep time: 45 MinCook time: 1 H & 20 MTotal time: 2 H & 5 M
You can’t go wrong with this spectacular holiday pie. Not only do you have a creamy, spiced pumpkin base, but you also have TONS of fluffy brown sugar meringue mounded mile-high on top!


  • One 9-inch blind-baked pastry-lined pie or 10-tart shell
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin, preferably Festal brand
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Brown sugar meringue
  • ¾ cup (6 large) egg whites, room temperature
  • 1½ cups packed brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar


Prepare the filling
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the pumpkin into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the eggs, sugars, cream, salt, spices, and vanilla. Pulse to blend. Alternately, the ingredients can be placed in a large mixing bowl and combined using a wire whisk.
  2. Place the blind-baked pastry-lined pie or tart pan crust on a baking sheet pan. Transfer the pumpkin mixture into the pie shell and bake until the pie is slightly puffy and mixture is firm to the touch, about 45 to 50 minutes. Remove and let cool to room temperature. The pie can be refrigerated for several days at this point.
  3. Prepare the meringue: When ready to the finish pie, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Remove top racks of the oven so there is plenty of room for the final baking of the meringue. Place egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment. Place brown sugar and water in a small saucepot over medium heat. Heat mixture to high soft-ball stage (245 degrees). Use a candy thermometer to check the temperature. Do not stir the mixture, however you can “swirl” the pan now and then to remove any excess sugar buildup on the pan side.
  4. While the sugar mixture is cooking, start whipping the egg whites on medium speed. When the whites are foamy, add the cream of tartar. Increase speed to high and beat until egg whites are fairly stiff. Turn the mixer to medium speed and slowly pour the hot sugar mixture into the whites. When all the sugar is added, increase speed to medium-high. Beat 5 to 6 minutes. The mixture should be very stiff but still slightly warm. You can tell when the meringue is done by placing your hands on the bottom of the bowl. If it is no longer hot, the meringue is cooled enough to use. If your meringue is ready before the sugar water reaches temp, just turn the mixer down to low so the whites get a little action. When ready to add the sugar mixture, just increase the speed to medium.
  5. Place the pumpkin pie on a baking sheet pan. This makes moving the pie to the oven easier. Using a large rubber spatula, spoon all of the meringue on top of pie, forming a high dome effect. Use the back of a spoon to create peaks in the meringue. Make sure the meringue goes completely around the edge with no pumpkin pie exposed. Place pie in the preheated oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Meringue should set and turn a light brown.
  6. Remove and let cool for 20 minutes or up to 2 hours. Use a small kitchen torch to brown the meringue right before serving.
Did you make this recipe?
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October 13, 2021 — Mary DiSomma