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pumpkin pie question

addicted2cake Feb 27, 2012 08:50 AM

I know we're way past Thanksgiving, but I love pumpkin pie. Yesterday, I made the recipe on Libby's can. Tastes very good, but the consistency is mushy. I've read to take the pie out when center jiggles, so I did that. Put it in fridge after cooling several hours then had some this morning. It's mushy!! What causes this? This isn't the first time my pumpkin pies have turned out mushy while following recipes (almost) to the letter. I used soymilk instead of condensed (lactose issues). Sometimes, my pies firm up after a couple days, but I'd really like to have a firm slice from the get-go. Is the soymilk the culprit? I cooked pie for an hour. Any thoughts??
p.s. would adding a little cornstarch help or totally mess up the pie??

  1. j
    Janet from Richmond Feb 27, 2012 09:11 AM

    I would guess the soymilk is the culprit. Condensed milk is very different in consistency from soy and probably bakes differently as well. I have no experience with soymilk, but I would think adding another egg would help more than cornstarch, but I'm not an expert baker.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Janet from Richmond
      wyogal Feb 27, 2012 09:19 AM

      I agree. There is information online that does indeed say that using soy milk will gibe you a different texture. There was also some comment about not liking cornstarch in it.

    2. hotoynoodle Feb 27, 2012 11:04 AM

      try coconut milk instead of soy milk. it has the fat that will help set up custard better.

      1. c
        ChiliDude Feb 27, 2012 01:30 PM

        I'd use tapioca as a thickener instead of cornstarch. Not tapioca pudding mix, but tapioca granules. I've used it in the past.

        1. c
          chow_fun Feb 27, 2012 01:40 PM

          I'm not sure what you mean by mushy. Mushy inplies not set?

          Before you start using thickeners, I would use an extra egg in the recipe to see how it turns out.

          To check if the pie is done, I usually use the toothpick test. Insert a toothpick in the center of the pie, if it comes out clean, the pie is done.

          Another alternative is to use, lactose free whole milk.

          7 Replies
          1. re: chow_fun
            CanadaGirl Feb 27, 2012 01:53 PM

            I use lactose free milk in everything. I've yet to have a problem, and in some cases the lactose free dairy performs better.

            1. re: chow_fun
              addicted2cake Feb 28, 2012 06:14 AM

              The pie is set, it's just that the filling doesn't have that firm, silky texture I associate with custard. When I cut into the pie, the filling spreads a bit onto the plate and has a mushy, thick pureed kind of mouth feel (can't really describe it any better). I've used 3 eggs in this recipe and the result is always the same. I haven't used the toothpick test, though, as I've always taken out the pie from the oven when the center is a little wiggly. Thanks for your suggestion about lactose free milk. I've tried it on cereal and don't like the taste, but maybe it would work fine in pumpkin pie.

              1. re: addicted2cake
                LJS Feb 28, 2012 06:23 AM

                I agree the challenge is the soy milk...esp. if the original calls for 'condensed' milk (are you sure it is condensed milk that is cited? it is thick, sweet and viscose-using that recipe may also have resulted in a pie that was lacking both in ustard texture AND sweetness, and the eggs would not help).

                As the chief cook for a family of cow's milk allergic and celiac folk, I have found that recipes that call for EVAPORATED milk (as is the case with MY go-to pumpkin pie version) adapt very well when I substitute almond milk...and in our case, I use almond meal to susbstitute for flour in the crust, too.

                Soy milk is fine for many milk-based sauce recipes but you do have to adjust the balance of the entire recipe...almond milk seems to substitue better where a custard effect is called for.

                1. re: LJS
                  addicted2cake Feb 28, 2012 07:28 AM

                  I could try almond milk as a sub for soy milk. Thanks, LJS!

                2. re: addicted2cake
                  chow_fun Feb 28, 2012 08:43 AM

                  It sounds like you're not cooking the pie long enough to set the filling. Wiggly is kind of a subjective way of gauging doneness. How wiggly is wiggly? The toothpick test is more definitive.

                  1. re: chow_fun
                    hotoynoodle Feb 29, 2012 12:53 PM

                    however with custard, if the toothpick comes out clean it's overcooked.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                      chow_fun Mar 2, 2012 01:54 PM

                      That may be true, but the OP used the Libby recipe. I believe the recipe calls for the toothpick test. If the OP skipped that step, that can explain why the results were mushy.

              2. a
                addicted2cake Feb 28, 2012 06:20 AM

                Thanks, all, for your replies. I could also try coconut milk or tapioca granules and see how things turn out. Perhaps I'm not baking the pie long enough. I read on Libby's site yesterday that I could add a tablespoon of corn starch if I'm using soy milk. I have several cans of pumpkin puree on hand, so I'll experiment with some of your suggestions. I appreciate your help!

                1 Reply
                1. re: addicted2cake
                  danna Feb 28, 2012 01:47 PM

                  Although I normally don't like to use processed products, I find the recipe on the EAgle Brand Condensed Milk can (of course using it's product) to be superior in texture/taste to the Libby's recipe. (although honestly don't care for squash based dessert regardless). I'm thinking that small amount of super-cooked milk might be OK on your stomach. it doesn't bother mine.

                2. paulj Feb 28, 2012 08:55 AM

                  Surely there are 'vegan' pumpkin pie recipes, ones that have already been tested using soy, or other alterantive, milks.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: paulj
                    wyogal Feb 28, 2012 08:58 AM

                    Yes there are, found several online when I googled this problem. But, OP does use eggs. Here's a search:

                    1. re: wyogal
                      paulj Feb 28, 2012 01:33 PM

                      The poor lactose intolerant, caught in a no man's land between 'normal' and vegan.:) Fortunately my own intolerance is mild enough that I can use milk in cooking, just not for 'bulk' drinking.

                      1. re: paulj
                        artemis Mar 2, 2012 02:26 PM

                        The no man's land of "no dairy but yes eggs" is thankfully occupied, though sparsely, by parve recipes. While I haven't tried this recipe, her other recipes have been excellent:


                        Looks like her trick is soy milk powder!

                        1. re: artemis
                          wyogal Mar 3, 2012 05:53 AM

                          That first recipe looks good! Interesting website, too.

                          1. re: artemis
                            addicted2cake Mar 3, 2012 08:59 AM

                            I've come to this website in the past as I'm definitely in the "no dairy but yes to eggs camp". This adapted CI recipe looks good. Maybe I'll give it a try sometime. Thanks for reminding me about the site!

                        2. re: wyogal
                          addicted2cake Feb 29, 2012 08:23 AM

                          The vegan recipes I've seen on line wouldn't really work for me as I love eggs too much. I'll keep experimenting with alternative milks or lactose free milk and cook my pie longer. I have a feeling my problem might be taking out the pie too soon. I will definitely try the toothpick test next pie.

                          1. re: addicted2cake
                            wyogal Feb 29, 2012 08:27 AM

                            Have you tried the extra egg? The lactose free milk might do the trick, too. The reports online say that soy milk does indeed change the texture, making it too soft.

                            1. re: wyogal
                              addicted2cake Feb 29, 2012 08:37 AM

                              Yes, I have tried an extra egg in the past for this recipe, but the results are no different than when I use just the 2 eggs. Perhaps the soy milk is making the pie too soft, but I'm beginning to think that I'm undercooking the pie as well. It will be interesting to see what happens next pie with longer cooking and soy milk. If I'm still not getting the texture I'd like, with the longer cooking time and toothpick test, then I'll scrap the soy milk going forward. Thanks, all, for your thoughtful replies. I really do appreciate them!

                              1. re: addicted2cake
                                danna Feb 29, 2012 08:42 AM

                                anything you find helpful here?


                                1. re: danna
                                  addicted2cake Feb 29, 2012 08:51 AM

                                  Thanks, danna. Interesting site. Some good links to check out, too!

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