Pumpkin Pie Update

I did not try to pass my from scratch pumpkin pie off on my friends as the same they always had, but instead asked them what they thought of it.  Different good, different bad,  or heck I can’t tell the difference, so why bother.

To keep this on the level playing field I used my favorite recipe the one on the canned Libby’s pumpkin label.   I really think their use of can milk makes it least likely to curdle.   I used my standard pie crust as well.

Before baking it, I can tell you that my 15 ounces of pumpkin was not as orange as Libby’s.   Mine was like pudding compared to the stuff from the can which holds shape like jellied cranberries.   I was worried, was it too moist?  They both were silky smooth.

Baking was essentially the same.   Same time.   Looked essentially the same.

Taste test was fun because my friends have not problem being brutally honest.   No one wants their chief pie baker to get a swollen head.    Here is what was decided:

  • Libby’s pumpkin pie really only tastes like the spices you put in it, the cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.   The homemade had another pumpkin squash taste.  Not bad, but definitely different.   Most everyone thought it was kind of cool to definitely have a taste of pumpkin in their pie.
  • The homemade was not as sweet as Libby’s.  Whatever secret hybrid that the Libby’s people use it is sweeter than the sweet pie pumpkin variety I got.   If you have a massive sweet tooth this could be a problem.
  • Texture was the biggest difference. Using the canned pumpkin you get something like a pumpkin flan or custard, more gelatinous.    With the homemade pumpkin despite it having been run through the food processor and appearing to be the same as the can it did not cook up the same.   It wasn’t gritting or anything like that with it.   The best way we could come up to explain it was can pumpkin was like skim milk, and the homemade was like whole milk.   There was something more substantial about it in the mouth, but you really can not explain it.

The from scratch pumpkin pie from  was different, but still to the group a pumpkin pie.   It wasn’t lot a lot of work and if I have pumpkins I will definitely do it again.

The Pie Baker

Oh She Glows Blog is full of great instructions and photos.

I have loved to bake pies all my life.   I would rather bake a pie than any other dessert or sweet.    I have tried all sorts of pies over the years.   I honestly have not single favorite pie, and  I am always trying something new.  I love them all, old recipes and new recipes alike.

Last year my experimental recipe  was a pecan pie that used real maple syrup. I was trying to find something that made a great pecan pie without ending up with a gooey sweet filling.    It was a great result much richer and smoother than my traditional pecan pie.   It was definitely a keeper.

This year I happened to have two sugar pumpkins on hand and decided to try my hand at homemade pumpkin pie.   I remember as a kid my mother once had done this and the pumpkin was very moist and it present problems.    Like everyone today, I went to the internet looking for an option that looked promising.  The first thing that I found out is that the pumpkin in the can is likely not pumpkin, but some other kind of squash.   Now my interest was definitely piqued. Was there a difference if I used real pumpkin?  Will anyone notice?  I found an option that looked good on the Oh She Glows blog.   I have finished roasting my pumpkins, run them through the food processor until smooth as anything you will find on the grocery shelf.   I put it in a food mill and let the excess water drain out; lesson learned from my mother.  It now sits in my refrigerator ready for pie baking tomorrow.

I will post again later after the pie has been baked and ate by the family.   The other pies I am bake this year besides pumpkin is the requisite chocolate, an apple and a banana cream.

Official Pie Baker – Secrets Revealed

The women of my family have a long history of making great pies.  My grandma cooked pies when she worked at the county home, when she volunteered at the shelter and for her family.    One of the things that made her so well-known for her pies was her ability to make great crusts every time.    It is one of those things she gave to me, the ability to make good pies and enjoy doing so.

Now I am the pie baker of choice  for the holidays with my Montana adopted family.  Each year for Thanksgiving I am asked to bring the pies.   There is always the required pumpkin pie, with my secret ingredient Penzy’s cinnamon.  What makes this cinnamon so special is that it is a mix of  different cinnamon’s giving it a depth of flavor not found in your run of the mill store cinnamons.   I struggled with fruit pies at this altitude and have discovered they turn out much better if I par-cook my fruit.  This year I repeated my highly sought after apple filling cooked in cider, brown sugar and butter.  The cider gives it a really great apple flavor and yet not too sweet.    The kids  demand a chocolate pie, and each year I turn up with a version of chocolate.   I am always on the look out for a new one for each year.   This year I settled for an old-fashion chocolate cream pie with a crust of crushed “Famous Chocolate Wafers”.   Three is usually my limit, but this year I had a hankering for pecan pie.  Knowing full well this was not a nut crowd, I made my pecan pie  anyway.   Real maple syrup is my secret  ingredient.  It makes a rich filling that isn’t that gooey sweet, I attribute to the corn syrup I used to use.  Real maple syrup is not overwhelming with maple flavor and most folks don’t even realize it is in my pie.   In this case only two of us ate it.   It won’t likely be a repeat performance for this crowd.

At the end of the night, the only pie left was my pecan pie, though the nut eater took home an extra piece.   I took my leftover pie home and will be eating it the next few days, and then I will be satisfied.   I got my slice of pecan pie and then some.