For such a seemingly simple dessert, pumpkin pie can be tricky to get right. Over the years, I’ve tested at least a dozen recipes, and each one was plagued with either a filling that wouldn’t set properly, a massive crack down the center, or a lousy crust (i.e., soggy, doughy or shrunken). Whoever coined the term “easy as pie” had obviously never baked a pumpkin pie!
Part of the challenge with pumpkin pie is that there are a lot of variables. First, there’s the type of pan you use: ceramic, glass, and metal all behave differently. Second, no homemade pie crust is ever the same — and crust by nature is just finicky. Finally, pumpkin pie filling is a custard, which means you have to remove it from the oven while it’s still a little jiggly, which makes it difficult to gauge doneness. Take it out too early and it never sets up; cook it too long and it cracks down the center (or, take it out at just the right time and still have it crack down the center!).
For this foolproof recipe, I use my favorite homemade pie crust, which tastes buttery, holds its shape, and is easy to work with. And to prevent the crust from becoming soggy, I blind bake it until it’s completely dry before adding the filling. To prevent those unsightly fissures in the filling, I modify the traditional recipe by adding a little flour, replacing some of the whole eggs with egg yolks, and baking the pie at a low temperature. The result is a pristine pumpkin pie, even if you accidentally leave it in the oven a few minutes too long, and it’s delicious to boot!
What you’ll need to make Pumpkin pie
Step 1: Blind Bake The Pie Crust
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and place it on a baking sheet (this makes it easy to move in and out of the oven).
Cover the crust with a piece of parchment paper and fill it about three-quarters full with dried beans or pie weights.
Bake for 20 minutes. Take the crust out of the oven and remove the parchment paper and beans/pie weights.
Bake for another 20 minutes, until the dough is dry and golden. Don’t worry if the bottom puffs up; just press it down gently with a flat spatula, such as a pancake turner, taking care not to puncture it.
Step 3: Make The Filling
While the crust finishes cooking, combine the pumpkin pie filling ingredients in a large bowl.
Whisk until smooth.
Step 4: Bake the Pumpkin Pie
Pour the filling into the pre-baked crust.
Bake the pie for 50 to 60 minutes, until the filling is just set. It should look dry around the edges and the center should jiggle just slightly if you nudge the pan. The pie will look a little puffed when it comes out of the oven, but it will settle as it cools.
Cool the pie on a rack (leave it on the baking sheet) to room temperature, a few hours. Slice or refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!
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