Libby’s Classic Pumpkin Pie

  • Serves: Makes one 9-inch pie
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 425 intially; then 350
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  • Comments: 10

Variation: Easy Pumpkin Pie Tart; Healthy Oven Pumpkin Pie; Homemade Pumpkin or Hubbard Squash Pie; Pumpkin Streusel Pie, Sweet Potato Pie; 

This is the famous Libby's pie recipe, with my ingredient addition for a creamier filling! I also added another special ingredient to the pie recipe to help prevent the gritty, sandy, or grainy texture some experience with the Libby's recipe, usually triggered by overbaking. Find out what I did and enjoy my improved version of this classic Thanksgiving dessert.
PIE RECIPE HELP

QUESTION: I would like to make Pumpkin pies in advance and freeze them. Is this possible?
SARAH SAYS: It's not a good idea to freeze a pumpkin pie; the quality of a freshly baked homemade pumpkin pie is usually higher than a frozen one -- Freeze the pumpkin pie filling separately for up to one month. Defrost the pumpkin filling, then pour it into the frozen crust (no need to thaw) and bake as usual. See also Healthy Oven Pumpkin Pie Recipe.

Sarah's
Secrets

I added and extra egg yolk for additional filling custard creaminess, and cornstarch to help prevent the curdled and clumpy texture that some have reported occurring with pumpkin pie fillings. I have discovered that too much heat (overbaking) causes the protein in the eggs to clump, hence a curdled texture. If a recipe contains starch thickeners (flour or cornstarch) it HELPS to prevent the eggs from overcooking (the starch molecules slow egg protein coagulation) and gives more lead way between success and failure of the egg-rich mixture (making the egg proteins more resistant to overcooking and curdling or clumping).

Sometimes the gritty, sandy, or grainy texture found in a pumpkin pie recipe, I believe, is caused by lactose crystals forming from the milk solids in the recipe, especially when using evaporated milk. I have added a heavy cream and whole milk substitute, below, to help prevent this. The corn syrup will help prevent any sugar crystallization that can also cause a gritty texture. This is usually triggered by overbaking.

INGREDIENTS
1 recipe unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell from Sarah's Perfect Pie Dough

INGREDIENTS
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 can (15 oz.) or 1 3/4 cups LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin; do not use Pumpkin Pie filling
1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk, well shaken; *SARAH SAYS: To eliminate the gritty, sandy or grainy texture in pumpkin pies, use 3/4 cups heavy cream plus 3/4 cups whole milk, plus 2 teaspoons corn syrup, instead of 1 can (12 fl. oz.) Evaporated Milk. 

NOTE: Substitute 1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon, ginger and cloves

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Position an oven shelf in the lower third of the oven and preheat it to 425 degrees F.

2. Beat eggs and egg yolk lightly in large bowl until just combined - do not whisk together to produce a lot of air bubbles.


3. Stir in the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt.


4. Stir in the pumpkin - do not whip the ingredients together. You do not want to beat air into the ingredients.


Make sure the ingredients are well-combined.


5. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.


Use a rubber spatula to finish combining the ingredients.


6. Not shown in the photo. Take care not to overfill the pie shell which causes spillovers and cracking.

To do, I pour the pumpkin pie ingredients into a pitcher or ladle them right from the mixing bowl into the pie shell.
I place pie shell on a foil-lined baking sheet, pull out the oven shelf part way and place them on the oven shelf. I then pour the filling into the shell and push the shelf back into the oven.

7. Bake pie for 15 minutes at 425 degrees F. Reduce temperature to 350° F. Bake for an additional 40 to 50 minutes or until when lightly tapped with a wooden spoon on the pan's side, the pie's filling will jiggle slightly and appear to be set. Do NOT overbake as the pie will crack.

8. Cool the baked pie thoroughly (takes about 2 hours) on a wire cake rack. Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 - 4 hours, preferably overnight, to allow the filling to set before serving.

STORAGE
Because all custard pies are HIGHLY PERISHABLE, which includes Pumpkin Pie in the category, store well covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator. If you don't want to mar its top, place the pie under an inverted bowl in the refrigerator.

Pumpkin Pies don't have a long shelf life; they last a few days in the refrigerator. When in refrigerated storage, sometimes they will "weep" or water will collect in the bottom of the pie.

Do NOT freeze. In theory, baked pumpkin pies can be frozen for 1 - 2 months and then thawed in the refrigerator. But, I have found that the quality of a freshly baked homemade pumpkin pie is usually higher than a frozen one. Whenever I have frozen a baked pumpkin pie, I have never liked the results -- custard pies, which include pumpkin pies, can get watery after thawing, ruining the filling and the crust. With pumpkin pies, the texture of the filling suffers -- it loses its custard-like and delicate texture and becomes more dense and sort-of heavy and unappealing.

SARAH SAYS: If you purchase an unrefrigerated pumpkin pie, refrigerate it when you get to your destination. Keep it refrigerated.

VARIATIONS
Easy Pumpkin Pie Tart

Healthy Oven Pumpkin Pie
Homemade Pumpkin or Hubbard Squash Pie:  
Instead of pumpkin puree, you can use 1 3/4 cups homemade pumpkin or hubbard squash puree

Pumpkin Streusel Pie 


Sweet Potato Pie:
Instead of pumpkin puree, you can use 1 3/4 cups cooked sweet potatoes, peeled, boiled and drained and mashed.
NOTE: If using fresh cooked sweet potatoes, and they are stringy, with long fibers, push the cooked potatoes through a fine mesh strainer or food mill to remove them before using as an ingredient in the pie.

More Variations:
FOR 2 SHALLOW PIES, substitute two 9-inch (2-cup volume) pastry pie or graham cracker crusts. Bake in preheated 425 degrees F. oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F.; bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until pies test done as indictaed in Step #4, above.

FOR LOWER FAT / CALORIE PIE, substitute NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Lowfat Evaporated or Fat Free Evaporated Milk.

FOR HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING (6,000 feet): Deep-dish pie- extend second bake time to 55 to 60 minutes. Shallow pies- no change needed.

- Substituting one 12-oz. can (1½ cups) CARNATION® Evaporated Lowfat 2% Milk OR CARNATION Evaporated Fat Free Milk for CARNATION Evaporated Milk produces acceptable results. However, the pie will be slightly darker in color and will have a slightly more pronounced cinnamon, ginger and clove flavor. The texture will be similar to a pie made with regular CARNATION Evaporated Milk.
- Substituting one 14-oz. can of CARNATION Sweetened Condensed Milk for CARNATION Evaporated Milk produces acceptable results; however, the pie texture will be more firm and the taste will be slightly sweeter. Omit the granulated sugar from the recipe.
- CARNATION Nonfat Dry Milk: reconstitute according to package directions. Substitute 1½ cups milk for one 12-oz. can (1½ cups) CARNATION Evaporated Milk. Nestlé Kitchens recommends mixing 1 tablespoon cornstarch with the granulated sugar and spices. Prepare pie as directed. This milk will produce acceptable results, but the pie texture will be softer than a pie made with evaporated milk. However, the cornstarch will aide in firming it up. The pie will also have a slightly more pronounced cinnamon, ginger and clove flavor.
- Whole Milk, 2% Milk, 1% Milk OR Skim Milk (Fat free): Substitute 1½ cups milk for one 12-oz. can (1½ cups) CARNATION Evaporated Milk. Nestlé Kitchens recommends mixing 1 tablespoon cornstarch with the granulated sugar and spices. Prepare pie as directed. These milks will produce acceptable results, but the pie textures will be softer than a pie made with evaporated milk. However, the cornstarch will aide in firming it up. These pies will also have a slightly more pronounced cinnamon, ginger, and clove flavor.
- Soymilk: (brands such as SILK® Soymilk, Plain or Unsweetened) – Substitute 1½ cups milk for one 12-oz. can CARNATION Evaporated Milk. Soymilks produce acceptable results. Soymilk pies will be slightly darker in color, the texture will be just slightly softer and maybe slightly sweeter than a pie made with evaporated milk.
- Lactose-Free Milks-Whole, 2%, Fat Free- (brands such as LACTAID®) Substitute 1½ cups milk for one 12-oz. can (1½ cups) CARNATION Evaporated Milk. Nestlé Kitchens recommends mixing 1 tablespoon cornstarch with the granulated sugar and spices. Prepare pie as directed. These milks produces acceptable results, however, pies will be slightly sweeter with a softer texture.
- NESTLÉ COFFEE-MATE® Liquid Coffee Creamer: Produces an acceptable pie, however color is darker. Add 1 Tbs. cornstarch to sugar.

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