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To Cook or Not Cook the Pumpkin Filling 1st.......

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I have never made a pumpkin pie (hard to believe!).

A recipe from Cook's Illustrated (Nov/Dec 1993) has you cook the crust blind, then cook the pumpkin filling in a saucepan, then pour into the crust and bake for 25 mins.

Has anyone done both the plop the pumpkin mixture into the crust (all uncooked) AND the method mentioned above? If so, which made the better pie?

TIA :)

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  1. I have never cooked pumpkin pie either. Nevertheless, the recipe I have from Ruth Levy Birmbaum (from one of her "Bibles") says to cook the filling first for a smoother and more mellow pie.

    1. Well, I always make the recipe off the Libby's can, and that's what it says to do. I've never had a problem with it. I've never made a pumpkin pie from a real pumpkin, though. That might make a difference.

      1. Whenever I make pie, I always blind- or par-bake the crust, which prevents the bottom from getting soggy due to the wet filling. Given that pumpkin has so much water content, I would definitely take the time to incorporate this extra step.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Carb Lover

          OOPS...totally misunderstood your question. About the filling--if using fresh pumpkin, then I would cook over heat first before putting into the crust. This will help to smooth out the filling and reduce water content. When baking, I always adhere to the recipe unless I have a lot of prior experience w/ it.

        2. After years of making the recipes from Cooks Illustrated I have found that when it comes to things I don't usually make (pies, cakes, cookies, etc) it is always better to follow their recipes to the letter. They do so much "testing" that the results are almost always perfect. If you were not an experienced baker I would caution against improvising.

          1. Just made 2 pies. Didn't blind bake the crust, just poured the filling in and baked. They were 2 of the prettiest pies I've ever made. (course the crust was homemade) Keep it simple.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Doreen

              I find that placing a baking sheet into the oven before preheating and letting it get really hot will cook the bottom layer of crust good enough to prevent the soggies.

            2. I made the CI cooked pumpkin pie with a homemade crust and fresh roasted pumpkin. The other pie was an Epicurious recipe. For the latter I used a can of Libby's and a Marie Callenders crust.

              Everyone agreed the latter was the better pie!!

              Conclusion: I realize pumpkin pie is not my favorite (made for someone who loves pumpkin). Even though I never have pre-made items on my Thanksgiving table, next year I will just buy a good quality pumpkin pie (for the fan).

              I will go back to making unusual bread puddings (like white-chocolate cherry), now that is a Thanksgiving dessert worth the trouble!

              1. I also made the CI pumpkin pie recipe (from their web site), followed precisely except for adjustments to the spices. Their rationale for precooking the pumpkin was to improve the flavor of the canned stuff and to avoid sogginess. It worked great. My quarrel with the recipe was the abbreviated cooking time (25 minutes). The pie, although silky and delicious, did not firm up as promised. Next time I will cook it longer.

                1. I've tried the Cook's Illustrated recipe both ways: precooking the pumpkin mix and not. You can't compare. When it wasn't pre-cooked, the filling was watery and less tasty. The cooking concentrated the flavors and evaporated the extra moisture. DEFINITELY worth it.