Last week my house was heavy with the scent of warm pumpkin pie. I know, I know. Who makes pumpkin pie a week before Thanksgiving? Me, that’s who. When my pie craving hit, I scoured the cupboards, convinced I had evaporated milk, but alas, there was none. I was going out to the store to get eggs and butter, and could’ve picked some up, but decided a pumpkin pie recipe sans the canned stuff might be more useful to all of you (spoiler alert: it was the best pumpkin pie, ever). We’ve all been there, at some point, a craving that seemingly can’t be fulfilled because of one missing ingredient, right? One day I might try making my own evaporated milk…(I can see Mikey doing an eye roll from above). For now, I decided to give it a try with heavy cream. I scaled back the amount of liquid, since my research told me it would be way too much cream if I just subbed in an equal amount for the missing evaporated milk.
The resulting pie filling was incredibly light. More a mousse-like texture than the standard pumpkin custard filling you might be used to. In my next round of testing, I decided to add an extra egg to achieve a more custard-like filling. Bingo! I also used granulated maple sugar, instead of cane sugar, to give you all a refined sugar free-option. The sweetness level is perfect for my palate, but if you prefer super sweet desserts, you might want to use more (and if you do indeed want to use cane sugar, then that amount would be 3/4 cup / 150 grams).
A mishap while transferring the pie to the oven made part of my crust flop over (see the photo in the middle). Am I the only one who does that with the thumb of the potholder?). And yes, the pie cracks a bit in the center (okay, maybe more than a bit on this one). It happened with all of my tests, and never did with the evaporated milk version. No worries; it still tastes amazing, and I feel much better knowing the ingredients are more simple (have you ever read the ingredients on a can of evaporated milk?).
There’s also a video to go with your helping of pie. I’ve been on a tear with shooting them lately, and love it. They really show the ease of it all. So, tell me. What would you like to see in the future?
Best Pumpkin Pie
I’d forgotten how much I loved the Smashing Pumpkins until listening to a best of the 90s podcast on All Songs Considered (or was it Soundcheck?) this past summer. Say what you want about them jumping the shark, and die-hard fans think Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness was an over-produced album (and there’s also the Corgan factor). I say boo to all that, and am glad to have rediscovered a bit of my youth again.
Music Pairing: Tonight, Tonight by Smashing Pumpkins
Makes one 9-inch (22-cm) pie
One single pie crust (I used half of this recipe)
3/4 cup (112 grams) granulated maple sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) ground cloves
1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground ginger
15-ounces pumpkin puree
¾ cup (187 ml) heavy cream
Whipped cream, to serve (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).
Generously grease a 9-inch (22-cm) pie plate (regular, not deep dish). Tear bits of dough off, and press it against the sides of the pan (making sure it covers from the top to the bottom of the sides). It should be about 1/8-unch thick. Once the sides are covered with dough, press the remaining dough into the bottom of the pan. Set the pan in the fridge to stay chilled while you prepare the filling.
Add the sugar, eggs, salt, and spices to a deep bowl. Whisk until the eggs are a bit fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the pumpkin puree. Whisk in the cream..
Pour the filling into the pan with the crust. Bake for 45 minutes, until the filling puffs up slightly (don’t worry, it’ll fall soon after coming out of the oven), and the center looks set. Let cool for at least 1 hour before cutting. May be refrigerated overnight, and served cold, or at room temperature the next day.