Overall pumpkin pie has got to be my favorite Thanksgiving dessert. I haven’t had it in a very long time because my husband is not a fan of pumpkin. I’m not going to lie… it does make me sad : ( but! This year, I’ve decided to make one early for the food blog and enjoy it as a type of pre-Thanksgiving treat hehe And wow, what a great pumpkin pie it was!
I have to warn you, this is a Cook’s Illustrated recipe, which means TWO things. 1- It’s a little bit more labor intensive. And 2- it’s incredibly delicious. They don’t go too far with the extra steps in this recipe, but it is a little more effort than whisking together all the ingredients in one bowl and pouring them into a crust.
The flavor is SO smooth and creamy! And the canned yams that are cooked into the filling add a great boost of flavor.
I had a few bumps along the way of making this pie, but hey! That’s why I make the recipe first and then tell you about my experience with it. So you can improve upon the steps of a recipe as you make it yourself : ) Honestly, I think it’s a great system. I wish I had somebody telling me how to avoid mistakes in the kitchen… oh well, mistakes happen. They’re “learning experiences”. Haha at least that’s what I tell myself with my cupcakes come out like gum…
As with all pies, you want to begin by prepping your crust- rolling it and shaping it to a pie plate.
I’ve said this before, but I think its worth saying. Fluting the edge is much prettier than fork marks! Just sayin’
Anyways, at this point, cover the crust with foil or plastic wrap and set it in the fridge for 15 minutes.
You’ll want to blind bake the pie slightly before pouring in the filling so the crust isn’t soggy.
To do that, line your pie shell with foil and the use rice or dried beans (or both in my case ha) to weigh it down.
This prevents big bubbles from forming, so yes it is necessary.
Bake it with the pie weights for 15 minutes.
Carefully remove the foil and weights and return crust to oven for another 5 to 10 minutes or until brown.
I took half the bottom crust with me when I took the foil off. So seriously… be careful.
See, how the bottom is quite “rustic” looking… yeah, that’s be not being careful with the foil.
Aside from that mess, note how much the crust shrank down on the sides.
To avoid that from happening to you, just don’t cut the sides as short (refer to first photo of raw crust).
This prevented my from using all the pie filling : (
See, how my mistakes are snowballing?! It was a sad day…
*TIP* You’ll have leftover egg white from the custard. Thinly brush egg white over the crust as soon as it comes out of the oven.
Gently! The whites will cook and create a seal to prevent extra sogginess of the crust.
I actually started the filling making process in between the chilling/baking of the crust.
You’ll want to start by dumping the pumpkin, 1 cup canned yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in to a large saucepan.
It’s going to sputter and spit at you like spaghetti sauce so you will need the length in the sides of the pot.
Can I tell you a secret..? I added the entire can of yams. The recipe clearly says 1 cup. I ignored it. Don’t do that.
I believe that’s why my filling came out slightly loose and I had a ton of leftover filling. Whoops.
Anyways, use a whisk to beat the sweet potatoes into the mixture, smoothing it out as much as possible while it cooks.
This mixture thickens on the stove for about 15 minutes. Pretty simple.
Even more simple is the custard. Whisk together the cream, milk, eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla.
I did this when the pumpkin mixture was cooking.
This is what the pumpkin mixture looked like after it cooked on the stovetop.
VERY slowly, pour the custard mixture into the pumpkin mixture, whisking the whole time.
If you want to be really serious about the smoothness in the filling, you’ll want to press it through a sieve or strainer into a bowl.
Really not very difficult, just annoying because that’s one more dish.
I did it with my pie and it definitely helped amp up the silky smoothness.
Pour the filling into the warm pie shell and bake for about 30-40 minutes.
Doesn’t it look just perfectly silky and creamy?
The pumpkin flavor was very strong and definitely enhanced by the yams. Cook’s Illustrated is so smart that way.
Overall, quite a delicious pumpkin pie : D
Even though I messed up a significant amount of times… haha oh well.
- one 9″ pie crust
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk (or sub 2 cups ½ & ½ for both)
- 3 large eggs, plus 2 yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
- 1 cup drained candied yams from 15 oz can (reg canned yams can be substituted)
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 tsp fresh grated ginger ( or ½ tsp ground)
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp table salt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out and shape dough to 9″ pie plate. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Remove pan from fridge, line crust with foil and fill with pie weights, dried beans or rice. Baked on rimmed baking sheet 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights and bake an additional 5-10 minutes or until crust is golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven.
- While pie shell is baking, whisk cream, milk, eggs, yolk, and vanilla in medium bowl. Combine pumpkin puree, yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in large saucepan. Bring to simmer (will sputter) over medium heat, about 5 minutes. Continue to simmer, whisking to break down yams and make smooth, about 10 to 15 minutes or until thick and shiny.
- Remove pan from heat. Slowly whisk in custard mixture until fully incorporated. Strain mixture through fine mesh strainer over medium bowl, pressing with spatula to pass mixture through. Re-whisk mixture and transfer to warm pie shell. Return pie on baking sheet to oven and bake ten minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees F. Continue baking until edges are set, 20 to 35 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack and cool to room temperature, 2 to 3 hours. Pie finishes cooking through residual heat at room temperature.