Questions and Answers about Making Pumpkin Pies


How do I tell when my pumpkin pie is done?

The easiest way is to stick a knife in the filling just off center.  If it is done, it will come out clean or nearly so.  With experience, you can tell by the jiggle; only the center will still be jiggly.

Can you use a thermometer to tell when it’s done?

Yes.  Stick your insta-read thermometer in the center of the pie.  The proteins in the eggs coagulate to firm up the filling.  That takes place at about 170 degrees.  If it reads 170 to 175 degrees, it’s done.

Why is it important to use a dark pan?

To avoid soggy crusts.  A dark pan absorbs heat and does a much better job of baking the crust.

What happens if I use milk instead of evaporated milk?

Nothing.  You’ll still have a fine pie.  Fresh milk is thinner and does not lend the cooked milk taste of condensed evaporated milk.  Half milk and half cream comes closer in consistency.

Why do my pie crusts turn out hard as a rock?

If you are making them from a scratch recipe, the butter or shortening probably melted before baking.  Be sure to keep you crust cold to avoid that.  (It’s much easier to use one of our crusts; they don’t have to be chilled.)

Why are my pies different colors when I’m using the same recipe?

It’s the canned pie filling.  Different brands have different colors, from golden to orange to brownish, and lend a different color to the pies.  They will all taste the same.

Can I use fresh pumpkin and cook it and puree it myself?

Definitely.  Often it will be runny and not quite as concentrated.  For the best pies, cook the pumpkin to evaporate some of the extra water and condense the flavors.

If I want to add yams, how do I cook them?

Just stick them in the microwave until they are soft.  If they are thoroughly cooked, we don’t bother to mash or strain them.

I like the idea of slipping the cooked pie out of the pan and onto a plate for cutting and serving but isn’t that hard to do?

Not if your pan has a good nonstick surface.  Just tip the pan up on angle and slip the pie onto the plate.

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