Monday, November 19, 2012

Pumpkin Pie. THE Thanksgiving Tradition

Okay, you can probably make a case that the turkey is the main attraction at the Thanksgiving feast, but you have to admit it -

even when you're stuffed, pushing yourself back from the table, planning your after-dinner-dishes-duty escape, you're still going to grab at least one bite of that pumpkin pie.

Maybe two.

(Unless your name is Jenny and you live in Australia!)

Today is Pumpkin Pie Day. After all, Thanksgiving is only three days away!

And this is an easy-peasy recipe.

First you need an empty pie shell. Go here to see my recipe, or here for Ruthy's version.

Or buy a frozen pie shell from the store. I won't tell.

Now that you have your pie shell, you need to make your filling.

I use the recipe on the back of the Libby's pumpkin can. I've tried others, but this is my family's favorite, hands down.

Oh, by the way, do you see the pie vulture lurking in the background?

Here are the ingredients you need:

(Before I forget, preheat your oven to 425 degrees!)

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz) Libby's canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
1 can (12 fl oz) evaporated milk

In a small bowl, stir sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves together until blended.

In a larger bowl (I like to use my 2 quart pitcher from Pampered Chef - the pouring spout is so handy!), beat the eggs. Next, whisk the pumpkin and sugar mixture into the eggs. Blend well, and then stir in the evaporated milk. Make sure everything is well blended.

Pour the filling into your pie shell.

Protect the edges of your pie from browning too quickly by using strips of foil to cover it.

Bake it for 15 minutes at 425, and then reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes.

And here's the most difficult part - how to tell if your pie is done.

The pumpkin is a custard. One fool-proof method for custards is to stick a knife in the filling halfway between the edge and the center. If the knife comes out clean, it's done.

However, I really don't like to serve a pie with holes in it. So I use the jiggle method :) When you're reaching the end of your cooking time, jiggle your pie slightly. If the center moves like it's a liquid, it isn't done yet. But if it stands up to the jiggle, it's done.

 When you take the pie out and remove the foil, it will be puffed up and look like...

WAIT! The Pie Vulture again!

Shoo! Shoo!

Whew. He left. I reminded him he has a paper due.

Anyway, when you take the pie out and remove the foil, it will be puffed up and look like this. As it cools, the filling will fall some and look like the picture at the beginning of the post.

Simple, right?

Except for one more thing. This pie is for Thanksgiving, right?

So lets make it pretty :)

Here's one way to do it:

And here's another:

(disclaimer: take your pie out of the oven when you put the embellishments on to avoid the slightly crooked look...)

So how do you add embellishments and make your pie all purty?

Start with mini cookie cutters. We have a bit of a collection - the autumn shapes are from Pampered Chef, and I picked up the letters years ago when Jell-O was giving them away so you could make alphabet jigglers (remember those?).

Now make an egg wash by beating an egg with a couple tablespoons water.

Use the egg wash on the edge of your pie first - before you pour in the filling. Just brush it on gently. Don't worry if some of the egg drips down into the pie - it'll just mix into your filling.

Now, roll out your extra dough and brush it with the egg wash.

If you're adding shapes to the top of your filling like I did, bake the pie up until about 15 minutes before the end of the baking time - long enough to partially solidify the filling, but still with enough baking time left to bake the shapes. Take the pie out of the oven, place your pie crust shapes on top, and then return it to the oven for the rest of the baking time.

But this is only the beginning!

It's time to have fun! Embellishing your pie can take any shape from my simple additions, to some of these ideas I pinned on my Pinterest board.

Aren't they beautiful?

Oh, and you have to watch this short video about stenciling on your pie crust.

And you can also paint the crust for a colorful embellishment!

Have fun, and Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. Hey i'm famous! love the top of the pies. Im sure you will all enjoy it. I will be thinking of you all Thursday (I will be enjoying the first day of the cricket). I may not get on much in the next week.

    1. Cricket season is starting?

      I would imagine there are professional leagues in Australia just like we have for baseball and football. Do you have a favorite team?

      Have a good week, Jenny!

    2. Yes we have state teams and there are 6 teams I follow the Warriors from Western Australia. but the game I am going to see is a test match this is international Australia v South Africa. The other games have been going since mid Sept. This one is a much bigger match cos its international. I really love watching South Africa but I do want Australia to win. My favourite player is a South African but unfortunately he no long is in the South African team that is touring.

    3. Now you have me wondering if I can watch a game on the internet...

  2. hahaha! Pie vulture! That hand made your pie look like it was a super mini tiny itty bitty pie!

    I haven't clicked on the Pinterest links (love your toppings, btw) because I get sucked in. I wander over there and stay for an hour, just looking at pretty doorknobs and crafts.

    Great post, Jan! I'm learning everything I need to know about pies, and I have all these ingredients... HM. Tomorrow just might be pumpkin pie day!

    1. Yes. The Pie Vulture hand. Think of your two-year-old. That's how I still think of this guy.

      BUT - the looming hands? All perspective. The magic of photography.

      And I try to stay away from Pinterest, too, except every once in awhile I make a board for Amish related stuff. (Okay, I've made two boards. But that's "once in awhile", right?).

  3. LOL -- so do you still have a pie? Or did the pie vulture finally accomplish his covert mission?

    I love pumpkin pie but missed it for my Canadian Thanksgiving. I think I might have to make one to celebrate yours. I usually buy one at the bakery so this will be something new for me. But you've made it look fairly easy -- especially appreciate the photo of the expanded pie because I would have panicked and figured I'd done something wrong!

    1. Kav, I've made four pies in the last week and there are three pieces left (reserved, with names on them - and none of the names are mine!).

      The Pie Vulture has eaten his allotment, and will wait politely for more pie. He will. Under threat of NO MORE PIE.

      But I'll be making at least two more pies for Thursday - an apple and another pumpkin.

      Yes, my family loves their pie :)

    2. There's a children's story somewhere in that Pie Vulture phenomenon! The perfect Thanksgiving story in picture book format! There aren't enough good Thanksgiving stories to go around. :-)

  4. Oh, this is just a marvelous rendition!

    Jan, I love using pastry cut-outs to decorate pies... Or cutting pictures into the top of a two-crust pie!

    You've made me very happy today! :) And yes, there's always room for pie... and then more pie... and then yes...

    More pie....

    And maybe some turkey with cranberry orange relish!!!

    Just a smidge.

    1. Isn't pie the best?

      I love savory pies, too.

      Put anything in a pie crust and I'll eat it.

      Well, maybe I should add the word "edible" to that comment.

  5. I'm hungry!

  6. I love Pumpkin Pie! =)
    Yours is so pretty!!

  7. Jan, amen to the Libby's recipe! That's what we've always used, too. You just can't beat it!

    I love your decorations! I have those Jello cutters, too! LOL

  8. Also meant to say I love your pie vulture!!! Totally cracked me up because my kids have popped into several of my cooking photos, too! Next time, I'll leave them instead of fussing. :)

    1. You hang around my life, you just might end up as a character in a book.

      You hang around my kitchen, you just might end up in the cafe!

    2. I think having those true-to-life pics makes the cafe a hoot.... It's so fun to see glimpses of everyone's reality.

  9. Mmmm, these pies are beautiful and delicious looking! I'm definitely getting a little smell-o-vision. ;)

    We're opting for pumpkin roll over pie this Thanksgiving. Hey, at least it is pumpkinny! But pumpkin bread is one of my top five favorite baked goodies year round! I will be doing that around Christmas.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Whitney, we do a pumpkin roll with cream cheese frosting filling...

      It's like the perfect blend of texture, sweet and creamy flavors. I love it THIS MUCH!!!!

  10. Love pumpkin roll myself! Is there a recipe coming? :)

    Those cutouts are mighty cute, but they don't last long in my family to decorate the pie. We are always sprinking stuff on them and eating them before the pie--we are crust addicts.


  11. Jan, I LOVE pumpkin pie. Okay, I love most things pumpkin, but pie is my absolute fave. And he Libby's recipe is a given. Several years ago I got some leaf cookie cutters, so I do the edges with leaves. Looks so fancy. Ha!