Black Sesame Pumpkin Pie


A silky stovetop pumpkin custard sits on top of a layer of nutty black sesame paste in this delicious twist on a classic pumpkin pie.

Black Sesame Pumpkin Pie
Photo: Photo: Victor Protasio /Food Stylist Torie Cox /Prop Stylist Claire Spollen
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs
8 to 10 servings

In this twist on classic pumpkin pie, pumpkin custard gets extra richness from the addition of mascarpone cheese. Instead of the classic chocolate base of a black bottom pie, a layer of nutty black sesame paste complements the lightly spiced, sweet pumpkin. Cooking the custard on the stovetop ensures a creamy texture and no risk of unsightly cracks on top of the pie. Keep it casual and loose with the sesame seed garnish, or sprinkle it into a lattice pattern using folded strips of aluminum foil as a stencil. Black sesame paste is available at most Japanese grocery stores or online at This pie can be made in any prepared piecrust; we love it in our Granola and Marshmallow Piecrust (pictured), which has a nice crunch that offsets the custardy pumpkin pie filling.


  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (from 1 [15-ounce] can)

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar

  • ¼ cup cornstarch

  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1 (8-ounce) container mascarpone cheese

  • 1 ½ tablespoons jarred black sesame paste (such as Kadoya)

  • 1 (9-inch) prepared piecrust

  • 2 tablespoons mixed black and white sesame seeds


  1. Whisk together pumpkin, egg yolks, egg, and vanilla in a large heatproof bowl until smooth. Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl; whisk into egg mixture until well combined. Set aside.

  2. Bring milk to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium, stirring occasionally. Gradually add hot milk to egg mixture in large bowl, whisking constantly. Pour milk-egg mixture into saucepan. Cook over medium-low, whisking constantly, until thickened and bubbly, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in mascarpone.

  3. Pour pumpkin mixture into a separate large bowl; press plastic wrap directly onto surface of mixture. Let cool at room temperature 30 minutes.

  4. Remove and discard plastic wrap from pumpkin mixture. Transfer 1/2 cup pumpkin mixture to a small bowl, and stir in black sesame paste. Spread black sesame paste mixture onto bottom of piecrust in an even layer. Top with remaining pumpkin mixture, and spread evenly. Press clean plastic wrap directly onto surface of pie. Chill until set, at least 4 hours or up 1 day (24 hours).

  5. Remove plastic wrap from pie. Decorate top of pie with mixed sesame seeds.

Make Ahead

Pie can be made up to 1 day in advance. Decorate with sesame seeds just before serving.

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