Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pie vs. Pie - Wife vs. Husband for the Best Pumpkin Pie by Cleo Coyle #Thanksgiving



Although my husband and I met in New York City, we were born and raised in small towns outside of Pittsburgh, PA, where our mothers cooked up big, beautiful Thanksgiving dinners. While Marc's mom served different side dishes than my mom, turkey (no surprise) was always the main event. And both dinners ended with big hunks of pumpkin pie. Just not the same pie.

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My mom used the popular recipe found on Libby's canned pumpkin. Marc's mom used another recipe, the one found on the can of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk.

For years, my husband insisted that his mom's version was better. The truth is, he's not a big fan of pumpkin pie. But I am! So for years I made my mom's favorite recipe and baked up a pecan or apple pie for Marc. Still...I never forgot his comment about his mother's pie, and I always wanted to do a "pie vs pie" bake off. Well...

I finally did it!


Which pie came out the winner? 

Let's start by baking up both recipes...




 PUMPKIN PIE #1


Libby's® Pumpkin Recipe*

*Recipe slightly adapted by Cleo Coyle, using her own order of ingredients and description of directions.

INGREDIENTS:

2 large eggs 
1 can (15 oz) Libby's ® 100% Pure Pumpkin
3/4 cup granulated (white) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 
1 can (12 fl. oz) Carnation® Evaporated Milk
1 unbaked, 9-inch (4 cup volume) pie shell

DIRECTIONS: 

(1) MAKE YOUR FILLING: First preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Allow it to preheat a good 30 minutes. While waiting, whisk the two eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the canned pumpkin, sugar, salt, and spices. Slowly stir in the entire can of evaporated milk. Mix  well, until the filling is thick, smooth and all ingredients are blended together. 

(2) PREP YOUR PIE SHELL: Loosely curl aluminum foil around the crust's edges as a shield against the high heat. This will prevent your crust from over-browning or burning. OR you can use a baker's pie crust shield like the ones you see here. (Note: While many pie recipes tell you to apply the foil or shield near the end of the baking process, I think it's a hazard to do this with a very hot pan and much smarter to shield the crust edges before the pie goes into the oven. Just sayin'....it works for me!)

(3) BAKE: Pour the pumpkin filling into the pie shell. Bake at 425 degrees F. for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F. and bake for an additional 40 to 50 minutes. Remove foil about ten minutes before pie is finished baking. Pie is done when top is set and no longer liquid (jiggly) and/or a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.






PUMPKIN PIE #2


Eagle Brand® Recipe

*Recipe slightly adapted by Cleo Coyle, using her own order of ingredients and description of directions.

INGREDIENTS:

2 large eggs 
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (about 2 cups)
1 (14 oz) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 unbaked, 9-inch pie shell

DIRECTIONS: 

(1) MAKE YOUR FILLING: First preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Allow it to preheat a good 30 minutes. While waiting, whisk the two eggs in a large bowl. Add the canned pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, salt, and spices. Whisk vigorously, until the filling is thick, smooth and all ingredients are blended together. 

(2) PREP YOUR PIE SHELL: Loosely curl aluminum foil around the crust's edges as a shield against the high heat. This will prevent your crust from over-browning or burning. OR you can use a baker's pie crust shield like the ones you see here(Note: While many pie recipes tell you to apply the foil or shield near the end of the baking process, I think it's a hazard to do this with a very hot pan and much smarter to shield the crust edges before the pie goes into the oven. Just sayin'....it works for me!)

(3) BAKE: Pour the pumpkin filling into the pie shell. Bake at 425 degrees F. for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F. and bake for an additional 35 to 40 minutes. Remove foil about ten minutes before pie is finished baking. Pie is done when top is set and no longer liquid (jiggly) and/or a toothpick inserted an inch from the crust comes out clean.


In the photo above, Pie #2 (Eagle Brand recipe)
is on the left and Pie #1 (Libby's recipe) is on the right.

THE VERDICT

I hate to admit it, but the winner is PIE #2. The husband was right, and his mom had the better recipe for many reason. Of course, it's also more calories...but, hey, it's Thanksgiving! 

WHY IT WON

The Eagle Brand recipe brought a nicer texture to the pie and that made a huge difference. The filling baked up denser and smoother with a more velvety mouthfeel. It also made a prettier pie, as you can see in the photo above, with a more appealing color and less cracking after cooling. 

HOWEVER

I must give credit to Pie #1 (Libby's pie) for being less calories AND having a better spice mix! You'll notice there are no cloves in Pie #2 (the Eagle Brand recipe). Because of that, the ginger and nutmeg seem to overwhelm the flavor, and not in a good way. I think the balance of spices is much better in my mom's favorite pie recipe.

MY SOLUTION?

Bake the best of both pies! The next pumpkin pie I bake will use the Eagle Brand recipe (for texture) but with Libby's mix of spices (for taste). Okay, I *might* reduce the cloves slightly for Marc's sake since he's not a fan while adding a bit of nutmeg, which wouldn't hurt, either.

And there you have it, 

THE BEST PUMPKIN PIE 

is when you make it your own!


May your 
Thanksgiving table
be blessed!



Alice and Marc in Central Park.

Together we write as...


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~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

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8 comments:

  1. Love the pie vs pie. The winner for me has always been the Libby can recipe, but I am curious enough to try your winner, Cleo. Happy Thanksgiving from Minnesota.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just savored the last page of Dead to the last Drop. Thank you for the wonderful read!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I kept looking for your entry yesterday. Glad to find it now.

    I love that you did the comparison. Yes, the second one does present better. Quite prettily.

    I think I would want less (none?) cloves, too.

    We had a family friend make lasagna for dinner once and she asked if we could recognize her "secret" ingredient. Keep in mind, this was lasagna! She put in cloves. A lot of them. Not my idea of a good surprise.

    Celebrate well and with love.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I really enjoyed the post, Cleo! Very good notes on baking pumpkin pie this year. (Great photos, too.) I agree with your take on the two pies, and I will be making the second pie with the first pie's spices...while looking forward to your new release in January. Thank you for many hours of reading pleasure.
    Happy Thanksgiving! - Jenny

    ReplyDelete
  5. Pumpkin pie is a family favorite. Think I will be a copy cat and do the spices from one, the eagle brand milk from two. And one with coconut milk and spices from one. And I'll find out about the sugar part later. Thanks for a fun article and a nice recipe Della

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Cleo: Since I began baking MANY years ago, I have always liked pumpkin pie much better with the Sweetened condensed milk recipe. I have gotten my own spices to match my families likes which is less clove and a bit more ginger and not too much cinnamon and I also use nutmeg. That is easy to adjust for your family. I just made our daughter's favorite pie no matter what time of the year it is, and that is a key lime pie with real key lime juice that I buy online. Her favorite recipe uses sweetened condensed milk. I have a recipe that uses egg yolks and another that uses only sour cream added to the juice and sweetened condensed milk. So, depending on who is being served the pie, I made it one way or another but always with the scmilk. Smoother pies for sure. Just wanted to comment on that and also to wish you both a wonderful Thanksgiving day. We will be with our daughter and her family and our son and my husband's side of the family all sharing the food prep. and bringing it to my sister in law's house. I had appetizers, rolls, and four desserts to make plus homemade cranberry sauce and a few other items.

    Enjoy your day and may it be restful after your meal as you two deserve some time to relax.

    Thanksgiving hugs,
    Cynthia B.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks to you all for the wonderful comments! Marc and I both wish you a very...

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

    Love,
    ~ Cleo

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you for a well-researched article on pumpkin pie! I've always used the Libby's recipe but will try the sweetened condensed milk version with the Libby's spice mix. What about the pie shell? I usually have used refrigerated Pillsbury crusts but am trying out various do-it-yourself recipes. I have found memories of Thanksgiving morning with Mom rolling out pie crusts and baking the scraps dusted with cinnamon sugar but I haven't discovered her pie crust recipe in looking through her old recipes.

    ReplyDelete