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.

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
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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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