Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Feb 27, 2012 08:50 AM

pumpkin pie question

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. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 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

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

      1. 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. 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

            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

              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

                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

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

                2. re: addicted2cake

                  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

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

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      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. 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

                  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.