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some pumpkin pie crust questions

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I would like to bake a pumpkin pie with a graham cracker crust. Some recipes say to prebake the crust for about 10 minutes in a moderate oven then cool before filling, others say to just chill the crust for at least 20 minutes before baking. What is the likelihood that the crust, if not prebaked, will not hold, dispersing into the filling before I've gotten it into the oven? Will chilling really prevent this from happening? Also, at what temp should I bake the pie with a graham cracker crust? I don't want to have burnt graham crackers on the edges of the pie. Last question, I tasted some organic pumpkin puree from a can with an expiration date of 2014. It tasted a little bitter. Does this mean the puree is a bit off, maybe too old to use? Most likely, I won't do anything until I (hopefully) hear back from some of you experienced pumpkin pie makers. Sorry for the long post and thanks for any advice.

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  1. If it were me, I wouldn't prebake or pre-chill the crust. I would treat it as I would if I were baking a cheesecake and just bake it straight out when it's filled. Bake it at 325-350F. degrees for 45 minutes to an hour depending on your oven and whether it is a deep dish or regular size crust.

    The pumpkin is probably okay but it probably just need more sweetener. I don't used canned pumpkin, I prefer fresh.

    1. If it doesn't taste good don't expect it to make a good pie.
      I like to chill graham cracker crusts for ten minutes in the freezer but it is no big deal either way.

      1. Really not a response to your questions but I always use Ginger Snap Crumbs rather than Gram Cracker for Pumpkin Pie.
        I also would not use Pumpkin that doesn't taste good to start with.

        1 Reply
        1. re: chefj

          Yup, I prefer ginger snap crust too. If you use cold butter, you shouldn't need to chill it.

        2. I would consider cooking them separately. Bake the crust all the way, then cook the custard the way you would any custard pudding. Pour into the crust and cool, then chill.

          2 Replies
          1. re: sandylc

            This is really unnecessary with a crumb crust. Just makes extra work.

            1. re: magiesmom

              I disagree. It isn't hard and produces a better product.

          2. I really love a crisp graham cracker pie crust. For me, it has to be crisp, so I bake the morning I'm going to serve the pie. It will still taste good in the following days, but it won't be crisp. If it doesn't snap, I don't want to eat it! And the spices really compliment the pumpkin flavor. I think they just take the crust from ordinary to delicious. You completely bake this crust before filling and baking the pie.

            Here's my recipe. The crust is an adaptation from the Cooks Illustrated Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe.

            10 oz. graham crackers
            6 T. sugar
            1 t. ginger
            1 t. cinnamon
            1/2 t. cloves
            6 T. butter, melted

            Adjust rack to lower middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees.

            Pulse all dry ingredients in the food processor until finely ground. Put crumbs into a bowl and add the melted butter. Work the butter in with a rubber spatula until the mixture is evenly moistened.

            Pour the crumbs into the pan, and spread them out evenly. Find something flat to press the crumbs together on the bottom and the sides. The use a spoon to get everything even and tightened up.

            Bake it until the crust starts smelling done, and is a little brown on the edges, about 15 minutes. Let it cool on a wire rack while you make the filling.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Heidi cooks and bakes

              I agree with Heidi - this is just what I'd do.

            2. Thanks everyone for your helpful replies. I think I'm going to try chilling the crust first, see how that works out. Hopefully, the crumbs will stay together and not break up into the filling. I've ditched the canned pumpkin. It didn't taste right to me. Maybe I"ll try fresh. And thank you Heidi for your recipe. Much appreciated!