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Why does my pumpkin pie always crack?

I have a great recipe that I love but every time I make a pumpkin pie the custard cracks as it cools. Please help me improve my pie aesthetics this Thanksgiving!!!

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  1. There are a couple of reasons your pumpkin pie custard cracks as it cools - and one is the drop in temperature... it swells in the oven, then shrinks as it cools. Another could be over cooking it.
    Mine crack a little too, but I think it looks kinda nice...it certainly didn't effect the taste.

    1. You might try putting a pan of water on the rack beneath the pie eg. pie on the middle rack water pan on the rack below - this works for cheesecakes, not sure how it would affect the texture of the crust though. If all else fails just pipe on whipped cream on and make it pretty ;)

      1. Decrease the cooking time by 5 minutes. The custard will continue to cook after you pull it from the oven, so it won't be undercooked, and it won't crack either.

        1. I would guess it's either overcooked or cooled too quickly. It's a custard so you want to take it out before it's done, should be soft in the middle. I'll bet you could treat it like a cheesecake, too, where you turn off the oven (when pie is soft in middle), leave it open a crack w/ a wooden spoon, and cool the pie in the oven.

          4 Replies
          1. re: chowser

            how long would you allow it to cool in the oven with the door cracked before removing it? 30 minutes? an hour? i've done a waterbath with a cheesecake before, but not oven cooling so i'm unsure as to the timing. thanks for your help!

            1. re: LAcupcake

              For a cheesecake, I do it for an hour so I'd start at 30 minutes for pie and go until it feels warm and you can handle it easily.

              1. re: chowser

                Thanks for your advice and pie wisdom (and thanks to everyone who responded). Seeing as I want these to try all these new techniques and I love pumpkin pie, I think I'm going to devote the next few weeks to practice pies.

                1. re: LAcupcake

                  I don't make pumpkin but a lot of sweet potato, they do continue to cook once you pull them. Its really a matter of practice, jiggle the pie, and if it moves a little yet, take it out. Just like a custard.

          2. I agree; lower the oven temp by 25 degrees, and turn off the oven when the edges are set and slightly wrinkly looking, bu the very middle still has a slight sheen to it. It should jiggle just a bit in the center. Open the oven door, turn off the heat and let it sit in the cooling oven for 10 minutes. It will finish cooking and cool slowly a the same time. Treat eggs and milk g-e-n-t-l-y. The texture will also improve.