Personally, we think that there is nothing more perfect
than a pumpkin pie. Over the years we've baked more of them
than we can count! We
bake them for friends, family, co-workers, and, of
our selves. Below are some tips we've
found over the years to be helpful when baking the
perfect pumpkin pie.
important to understand that baking pumpkins are a
completely different variety from the one we carve into Jack
O' Lanterns. While you could make a pie from a carving
pumpkin, the meat is very stringy, and it would not have the
same flavor, smooth consistency and baking characteristics
of a baking pumpkin.
sometimes called Sugar Pumpkins, are much smaller than
there larger cousins and have nice smooth outer shell with thick
walls on the inside. A
typical sugar pumpkin weighting four to five pounds will
provide about one and a half cups of mashed pumpkin,
which is just enough for one pie.
Pie Crust Cutting
If you make your pie crust by scratch, roll it out with a
rolling pin into a 12" circle, about an 1/8th of an inch
thick. Lay your pie pan upside down on the crust and cut
around it leaving an edge of about 2 1/2 inches.
Ready-Made Pie Crust
Pillsbury ready-made pie crust which can be found in your
grocery stores freezer section is a great substitute for
home made crust. It comes with two ready to use crusts that
have to be thawed for 15 minutes, then unrolled carefully
and lightly dusted with flour. Lay one in a 9 inch pie pan
and center it. Don't cut off the over hanging crust, fold it
over and use a fork to score it to make the edging crust
around the pie pan. Then it's ready to pour your pumpkin mix
in and bake. Leave an inch between the pumpkin mix and the
rim of the pan because the pie filling will expand when it
bakes, then settle back down when it cools. Pillsbury also
makes a pie crust mix that just takes some water, mixing and
rolling out to prepare. Both are fine, it just depends on
how much time you have to spare.
By using small Wilton Autumn Leaf cookie cutters, you can
cut shapes from pie dough and lay them around the edges of
the pie crust to give it a more festive look. Use an extra
sheet of pie crust and cut out the different leaf shapes,
use a small pastry brush and egg white to attach, just brush
the egg white on the rust and stick the leaf on. It makes a
nice finish to your pie. You can find the Wilton mini cookie
cutters at most mass market retailers during the fall
Protecting the Crust
important to protect the edge of the crust from burning
while it cooks. You can use aluminum foil folded around the edges or an aluminum pie pan shield or
protector like the one pictured at the right. We've used
both and they both work fine. It just depends on what you
have. If you have foil to work with, , tear of a sheet
around 10 inches long. Cut it into 3" wide strips and
carefully form over the edge crust and wrap under the bottom
lip of the edge. It may be a little loose but as you add
another strip around, you can tighten them together and
they'll stay put. Do this until the whole crust edge
is covered. Or if you have crust protectors, just sit them
on the pie pan over the edges. Remove the crust protectors
during the last 15 minutes of baking so the edges can brown.
Is it done yet?
The most common way to check to see if a pumpkin pie is done
is with either a knife blade or a tooth pick. Usually a
pumpkin pie bakes at 425degrees for 15 minutes, then gets
turned down to 375 degrees for 45 minuets to an hour. You
can check to see if it's ready by sticking a toothpick or
the blade of a knife in the center of the pie. If it comes
out clean, the pie is done. If pumpkin sticks to either one,
it's got a few more minutes to bake so check it often until
The presentation of any dessert adds to its appeal and this
includes pumpkin pie We always serve ours on our seasonal
dishes and never on a paper plate. We have two sets of
Halloween dishes and three sets of Thanksgiving/Autumn
dishes so this is never a problem for us, but if you don't
have any jus serve it on a real plate or china. Pumpkin pie
is too special to serve on paper plates, unless you are
having a big dinner and that's what you are using just to
save dish washing time. But, hey, that's what dishwashers
were invented for!
Homemade Whipped Cream
many people use compressed whipped cream in a can for its
convenience, but this is quite expensive, as you get very
little product compared to the high cost.
use an imitation whipped topping that uses
hydrogenated vegetable oils instead of real cream for its
consistency. We like to make our own real whipped cream on
our pumpkin pies, its
easy to make and a very tasty.
Add one half pint heavy whipping cream,
three tablespoons white sugar and one teaspoon real vanilla
extract to a mixing bowl. Start the mixer on medium speed, whip
until the mixture begins to stiffen, then
increase the speed to whip. Be careful not to over beat or it will
become too thick. Refrigerate
in an air tight container.
Decorative Whip Cream
Most people just dollop out a spoon full of whip cream onto
or beside the slice of pie, but there is a fancier way
that's easy, but looks really special.
Using a pastry bag and a star tip, spoon your whipped cream
(either home made or store bought) into the pastry bag and
squeeze out in a circle over the peice f pie. Start with a
dot on the center, then just keep going around and up to
make a nice, pretty show of whipped cream on top. To make
Pumpkin Pie Storage
Once your pie has cooled to room temperature, it should be
stored in the refrigerator to prevent bacteria from forming.
To store, you can cover the pie in its pan with plastic
wrap, or use a pie keeper.
several plastic pie keepers on the market. We really like
the Avon Bake and Carry Pie Pan and Lid combination. It
comes with a nine inch diameter carbon steel pie pan and a
plastic detachable lid with carry handle. Its currently not
available, but we hope they bring it back.