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tried + true pumpkin pie?

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I'm a long time lurker and first time poster. I LOVE this board! Anybody care to post about a tried and true pumpkin pie recipe? I'm not looking for chiffon, mousse, pecan-apple-pumpkin delights, frozen, cheese-y or otherwise - just a lovely, crisp-bottomed, custardy, spicy traditional pumpkin pie. I'm willing to make my own puree, although I'd probably use butternut squash instead of pumpkin, and either drain the puree or cook off the extra liquid (suggested in an old book I love by Mme. Jehane Benoit). It's been years since I made a pumpkin pie, I no longer remember which recipe I used, and I have Thanksgiving guests coming with high expectations. I'd hate to disappoint! Also, would evaporated milk and heavy cream be interchangeable in a recipe such as this? What is the point of using evap. milk instead of organic heavy cream? Thanks so much...

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  1. I use the basic pumpkin pie recipe in my 1953 edition of the Joy of Cooking. It says either whipping cream or evaporated milk can be used. I always use cream. It is a great pie. I have used canned pumpkin as well as drained butternut squash puree. The canned pumpkin makes for a firmer pie with a bit more intensity of pumpkin flavor. I'm never going to go to the trouble of pureeing squash again for pumpkin pie.

    1. The recipe inside the label (you cut the label off the can) of the Libby's pureed pumpkin is very good. This is not an unusual occurrence. They want you to buy their product, so their home economists spend time perfecting recipes that are achievable in home kitchens and are pretty much fail safe.

      If you plan to make your own puree, here's a tip: bake it, don't steam it. Steam it makes it far too wet. If you bake it you're baking out some of the moiture.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Dorothy

        I was going to suggest the Libby's label recipe also - I use it every year and wouldn't dare change to something different. Just be sure you buy the plain pumpkin, and not the "pumpkin pie filling" label which has spices added.

        1. re: Barbara

          I will "third" this recommendation...the recipe on the back of the label is excellent and my sister also has used that recipe for years. Sometimes, these recipes ARE the best...I think my pecan pie recipe is also from the back of the label of Karo syrup...wait, no...it is from the back of the label of pecans, same difference.

          1. re: Val

            Oh yes, the pecan pie recipe - those are the standards at my house - pumpkin, pecan, and apple (recipe from the old Better Homes cookbook). I'm not allowed to mess with the classics.

      2. I use the cook's illustrated recipe. It's worked pretty well for me, and it's quite tasty. I actually have one on my counter right now; I used it as an excuse to make my first pie crust from scratch.

        You can sign up to get a free two-week trial at their website, in order to get access to the recipe.

        Link: http://www.cooksillustrated.com

        1 Reply
        1. re: ryan

          I tried a CI pumpkin pie recipe last year. I'm not sure if it's the linked recipe, because I do not subscribe to the service. Be careful about the cooking time. My CI recipe called for only about 25 minutes in the oven, and that was not long enough. This year I am going back to an old favorite, the "Ultimate" pumpkin pie from Epicurious (although I may make a different crust. The one in the recipe is hard to work with). Good luck!

        2. I've used the Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie recipe from Martha Stewart Pies & Tarts for years and it is hands down the best I've ever had (and I do cheat and buy the crust)

          1. Every year I make Horn of the Moon Cookbook Pumpkin pie. It's great. Start w/ a pie pumpkin, which you cut in half, plop face down on a cookie pan and bake. Remove the seeds, scoop flesh into food processor and voila! No canned pumpkin needed!