Instructables

Pumpkin Pie

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Pumpkin pie is the king of Thanksgiving and Christmas desserts, and this recipe will easily get even your most over-stuffed guests thinking about a second slice.

This pie is adapted from a Cook's Illustrated recipe (Nov. & Dec. 2008, #95), and contains a couple of secret ingredients that are delicious and will ensure requests for your tricks. In the crust: vodka; in the filling: candied yams, maple syrup, and a little bit of apple cider.

Since no one can tell the difference between fresh and canned pumpkin in a pie, this recipe uses canned pumpkins, and other ingredients you are sure to find at any grocery store.

This is an award winning pie! It won the Instructables intra-company Thanksgiving bake-off, taking home Best Pie in Show!
 
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Step 1: The Pie Agenda

Picture of The Pie Agenda
Here's the overview and schedule of baking this awesome pie:

Mix up crust ingredients
Wrap up and chill crust for 45 minutes
Mix up and cook filling ingredients on stove top
Strain filling
Roll out pie dough, and place in pie pan, chill for 15 minutes
Continue straining filling, if necessary
Cook pie crust for 10 minutes with weights, 5-10 minutes without
Pour filling into crust
Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes, 300 F until done
Cool for approximately 2 hours
Eat
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Mihsin10 months ago
Exquisite defenition of Pumpkin Pie. Your recipe has inspired my wife to begin baking three of 'em right now. We are not brought up to such baking, (We're from Lebanon), however we have good taste(buds) and we appreciate such art work as your's.
Excellent recipe.
morrieD3 years ago
for those of us in countries without access to canned pumpkin, assuming I can replace canned pumpkin with fresh pumpkin, how much does a can of pumpkin weigh?
chrwei morrieD10 months ago
3 cups of cooked puree (by volume) makes 2 pies. You can also use butternut squash and it taste about the same. I've read that canned pumpkin is actually a butternut/pumpkin hybrid and not a traditional pumpkin variety.
goodgnus11 months ago
6th year in a row making these about to commence! Can't wait to taste the finished product!
jkeehn234511 months ago
The edge of the crust will come out less burnt if you place aluminum foil over the edge for the first half of the baking time. The pie looks great, never tried it with vodka. I will try that with the next pie. Don
emystrange4 years ago
you can also use dried beans to weigh down the pie crust, i would recommend that instead of heating up a bunch of change :p
gkowski emystrange11 months ago
I have used the same beans over and over again. I keep them in a plastic bag and store them with my pie baking supply. Works great.
 I thought the change was a brilliant and original idea; better than wasting good beans!  It's not very eco-friendly to waste food, emystrange!
im just saying there are other options, some of us dont have $10 in change laying around like that :P
I suppose it's possible to just eat the beans, but I wouldn't want to spoil my appetite for the pie...
chrwei11 months ago
the updates are a nice touch! and whipping before pouring in the shell is something I need to try now.

I make mine with a can of coconut milk instead of evap milk or cream and I like the texture of that a lot better, plus it means my lactose intolerant friends and family can have some. Do you think curdling would be an issue if there's no milk in? I've still always done the 400/300 stages, but 350/375 for the whole time would sure be nice.

I think we have the same set of mixing bowls. Thanks for the very thorough instructable.
goodgnus1 year ago
I know it's Thanksgiving when I'm making this pie. 5th year in a row. Smells so good!
Im making this over in germany for my host parents from scratch. looks amazing :) lets see how it goes in metric :D
seamaas3 years ago
How well does this pie recipe compare to the pumpkin pies from Costco?
It doesn't. Costco pumpkin pies are fine and all, but this one is so much better and worth the effort. In a few weeks I'll be making several of these for the 4th year in a row.
dchall85 years ago
We had a pumpkin pie from Sam's Warehouse over the weekend and it was amazing. If it was really average I wouldn't mention it because it's tacky to send people to Sam's, but it was really good. And now that you mention it, it had a maple taste to it. I was trying to figure out that flavor, but that seems right. I think this recipe might be The One. The reason you re-chill the crust is to ensure that the butter is solidified. When you roll it out, the chunks of butter will remain intact if it is solid to begin with. Otherwise it will blend into the flour. When the butter forms solid globs in the dough, those globs will melt out at a relatively low temperature but leave open holes in the crust. Those holes will heat up separately and cook into very flat bubbles. When we eat the crust we distinguish each little bubble as a "flake" of crust. It is as if the crust consisted of lots and lots of layers, but it is really the little holes left where the butter was. If you allow the butter blobs to melt into the crust before cooking, you get a very dense crust. So you want to have ice cold ingredients going into the crust and do not over mix it. When you roll it, roll it on a chilled surface with a chilled roller. Do it fast and put it into a chilled pie plate, then back into the fridge. Doing all that fast takes practice but each pie crust will be better than the previous one. Also take the phone off the hook and don't get distracted. Time and heat are the enemy of pie crusts. I like the idea of using money to weigh the crust down. They sell stones for that purpose but they cost more than your pocket change and you can't do anything else with them.
Thanks for the tips. Now I was considering the heat here was mostly my problem and you confirmed it. I was so disappointed that I could no longer make a Pate Brisee, but I will be very diligent about keeping it cold next try.
goodgnus3 years ago
3rd time around! Almost done making 2 of these for 2010. Probably make a few more around Christmas. Believe it or not, I burned out my immersion blender making homemade dog treats about a month ago, bummer! Just going to use a regular handheld power mixer, we'll see how it turns out.

If you are contemplating making this pie, stop contemplating, just make it! This year I'm sipping on home brewed Blackberry Belgian Wit beer instead of some wine as I make it.
One more note, I'm using pre made pie crust dough from Trader Joe's this year rather than making crusts. It's too time consuming. I'm also skipping the crust pre-bake. I'll report on how it turns out this way.
Crust pre bake not really necessary. Electric mixer worked well but I think immersion blender yields smoother airier pie. Subbed cinnamon spiced pear cider for apple cider this year. Tasty tasty tasty!
ewilhelm (author)  goodgnus3 years ago
Awsesome! I just put mine in the oven. I'll have a few more notes to share shortly.
bmsovick3 years ago
can you keep the dough in the fridge for a few days?
ewilhelm (author)  bmsovick3 years ago
Yes. This past weekend, I made crusts for this Thanksgiving.
my family and i made a pumkin pie... we used a real pumkin becuase we had an extra one after halloween that no one wanted to carve... i myself dont like pumkin pie, but my family said it tasted great....even though it was grey. They didnt put any squash in it to give the orange colour.

i guess i'll have to show them this recipe so they dont make concrete coloured pie ever again.
I made this recipe, but used prepared crusts, due to time. The one thing I missed, I think, was what size pie pan to use. I ended up with enough filing to make two pies, one 9" and one deep-dish 10". I didn't have the apple cider, either, regretfully.

I also set aside a dollop of the filling and microwaved it in a small glass bowl, fridged it, and tasted - heavenly transport complete. These will be gone in a heartbeat... to serve with whipped topping/cream would be gilding the lily... and who woudn't want that???
Marsanni4 years ago
I have to say, your pie recipe is very delicious :) I substitute the apple cider with apple juice and the vodka with pumpkin juice (for the kids) and get the same taste.
ewilhelm (author)  Marsanni4 years ago
Thanks for your comment! Do you have pictures of the one you baked?

Please note that the vodka (and specifically the alcohol in the vodka) is used to create the proper liquid-balance in the pie dough. Substituting something other than alcohol will result in an inferior dough that has too much water. All of the alcohol evaporates during baking, so you need not be concerned about serving the pie to children.
This looks AMAZING!!!
Deminots4 years ago
Goood
Jayefuu4 years ago
I think I might have to make this. I've never had it. Not sure I can get tinned pureed pumpkin in the UK. Will have a look!
Saturn V4 years ago
I'm not a big fan of Pumpkin Pie, but I may just have to give this a shot!
I seem to have a problem I see pumpkin pie but I cant seem to get my fork to the pumpkin pie. help me please!!
my simone4 years ago
Actually it's a question, how do you prevent the filling from separating from the crust, am I using too much or not enough of something, or is this normal?
ewilhelm (author)  my simone4 years ago
You might be cooling too quickly.  When I put pies outside in the cold, for example, the filling can crack and pull away from the crust.
Darcy7774 years ago
Interesting. I will have to try it once. Try everything once.  My problem with pies is that the ring of crust always gets burnt by the time the pie filling is perfect.
PggRgg Darcy7774 years ago
You can fashion a ring of aluminum foil and bend it around the rim of the pie crust if it's looking too brown before the pie is done.  Or you can buy a pie crust shield but they don't seem to be easy to find.
goodgnus5 years ago
I made this last night, very good, but all told took me 3 hours.

A few notes:

To those would make this, the dough when finished doesn't resemble ordinary dough. I thought I did something wrong so I checked and double checked that I added all the ingredients in the correct quantities. It looks more like a big ball of cake icing instead of dough.

Instead of rolling it out I simply but the chilled doughball into a chilled glass pie pan and used my hands to work it into a crust shape. Put it in the freezer to get the dough colder faster and return it to the freezer for 10 minutes after shaping the pie crust. As dchall8 states below, don't worry about small chunks of butter. Weighing the crust down is necessary. I used a disposable aluminum pie tin that I reshaped with my hand, inserted and held down by a heavy pyrex bowl.

You mentioned adding apple cider but no mention of how much, I didn't buy any so I skipped it.

Instead of pushing everything through a strainer I used a KitchenAid immersion blender, much quicker and made the filling exceptionally smooth and airy.

I did 10 min. at 400, 25 at 300 and then bumped up to 350 to finish when a toothpick in the center came out *almost* clean then took the pie out assuming it would finish baking the center as it cooled. Easy to slice and serve when cooled!

Oh, and every recipe should have a Step 0 that states: Open a bottle of your favorite wine.
ewilhelm (author)  goodgnus5 years ago
Awesome! The immersion blender is an interesting technique. I did notice that there wasn't much actually left on the strainer, so was definitely questioning the necessity of that step.
Immersion blenders are the b0/\/\b! Pretty much the coolest kitchen gadget I pwn :P
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