While we associate pumpkin pie with American cuisine, recipes for pumpkin pie appeared as early as the 17th century. Originally they were called “pompion”, the French word for “pumpkin”, which suggests that the French created the first pumpkin pie recipes.
Non fat evaporated milk is the key to lowering the fat, but not comprising flavour. In 1899, EA Stuart, founder of Carnation, came up with a new process for canned, sterilized, evaporated milk. Long term storage of evaporated and condensed milk came in handy in times of war and the impoverished.
All the Taste, Half the Guilt Pumpkin Pie
- 9 inch pie pastry
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 3 large eggs beaten
- 1 1/2 cups non fat evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tbsp. unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
- 2 - 3 tsp. rum or brandy optional
- Note: You can prepare the crust and filling ahead of time and finish the next day.
- Roll out pie dough and place into your pie plate. Flute the edges for a nice finish, then brush the bottom of the shell with beaten egg, and refrigerate. This will help seal the crust.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then make a well and stir in the beaten eggs. Add the pumpkin and evaporated milk and mix to combine. Chill well to allow the flavours to blend.
- Preheat your oven to 450°F.
- If you are using brandy or rum add it now to your filling and pour into the pie shell. Custard pies tend to crack so you may wish to take the extra step of baking in a water bath (see note below). You might also blind bake your crust if you are worried about a soggy bottom.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 450°F, then lower to 400°F for 10 minutes, then finally 350°F for a final 30 minutes. It is done when the edges are done, but the centre still has a little wiggle to it.
- Cool on a wire rack and serve with whipped topping or ice cream. Non fat Strained Yoghurt, flavored with honey, is your low fat topping friend.
- If you do get cracks, whipped topping is your best friend, or try heating a metal offset spatula and spread across the top of your chilled pie. https://youtu.be/RFyE9Fx5DfE
Perfecting your Pumpkin Pie Tips
- Avoid using disposable foil pans, since they are too shallow for your pie and more prone to burn. They are also harder to handle, and if you are klutz like me, the kitchen cat might end up with your dessert on the floor.
- Chilling the custard ingredients for a few hours or overnight allows the spices to blend. So you can prepare your crust and filling ahead of time and then pull it quickly together the day of your event.
- Pumpkin (and other custard) pies can crack as the edges finish cooking before the centre has set and when the pie cools, it contracts and forms the cracks. Two options:
- Beginner cover up: if you already have cracks, you can easily fix that heating a offset spatula and smoothing out the crack on a chilled pie (VIDEO), or by covering with decorative pieces of pie crust, spoon on that topping to disguise the blemishes, or cut the pie before serving.
- Abbey Cook Water Bath: bake the pie in a water bath by placing the pie in a large roasting pan, and place in the oven. Pour boiling water into the pan until way way up the sides of the pie plate.