The 64-dollar question is…does pumpkin pie taste better made with fresh roasted pumpkin or canned pumpkin?
The answer is…it depends on what your definition of “tastes better” is.
We are no “America’s Test Kitchen” — who’s got time for that — but we did do a little experiment. (And when I say “we” you know I mean “me.”)
I roasted a pumpkin and made a pie. Then I made the exact same pie with canned pumpkin. Lots of spices were involved.
You should know, roasting a pumpkin takes a bit more work than opening a can. Driving to Costco to pick up one of their monster 12-inch pies might be the easiest thing of all.
(By the way, if you want the recipe for the Costco pumpkin pie, get a pen, ready? … Take 1 ton of pumpkin pie filling…)
Oh, I’m kidding about the Costco pie.
Back to the fresh vs. canned smack down.
My original hypothesis was that it doesn’t matter whether you start with fresh or canned pumpkin — because all the spices would drown out any taste differences.
And I was right…sort of. In the end, there was a difference between the two pies.
But it has less to do with taste, and more to do with texture.
The canned pumpkin pie was creamier than the pie made with fresh roasted pumpkin.
If I had to choose one, I would choose the fresh roasted pumpkin pie.
I liked the firm texture, although the canned version reminded me of all the pies from Thanksgiving pasts.
So there you have it. Fresh roasted is the way to go…unless I’m pinched for time. Then I’ll pop open a can without a smidgen of guilt.
What will it be for you? Roasted or canned…or Costco?
- 1 recipe for easy, buttery pie dough *
- 2 large eggs
- 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar **
- 1-3/4 cup fresh roasted pumpkin puree OR 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree ***
- 1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
- 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon each of: ground cloves, white pepper, allspice
- ⅛ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- Heat the oven to 375° F. Roll the pie dough out large enough to fill a 9-inch deep dish pie or tart pan (about 13-14 inches). Press gently into pan. If using a pie pan, crimp edges. If using a tart pan, roll the rolling pin over the top to cut the excess dough off. Chill the dough-filled pan in the fridge.
- Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until blended. Whisk in the evaporated milk and brown sugar.
- Whisk in the pumpkin puree until blended. Whisk in the remaining ingredients: brandy (if using), fresh ginger, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, white pepper, allspice and nutmeg, until smooth.
- Place the tart pan on a baking sheet. Pour the filling into the pan. Place in the oven and bake until the center of the pie barely jiggles when moved and the crust is light golden brown (the crust will shrink and the filling will rise.)
- Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes. Place the tart pan on a large can, and slip the ring down.
- Slide the pie off the metal bottom onto a rimless serving platter. (This is a little tricky. I use a thin, large metal pizza spiel, but you could use any wide, thin spatula, working slowly and carefully because a) the pie is hot, and b) it will break if you’re not careful.)
- Cool at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour and then refrigerate until chilled.
- Slice the pie, when chilled, into 8 or 10 pieces. Garnish with sweetened whipped cream if you like.
** If using light brown sugar instead of dark brown sugar, add 1 teaspoon of molasses.
*** If you want to roast your own sugar pumpkin, here's how: http://penandfork.com/recipes/cooking-tips/roasted-pumpkin-puree/
This pie will keep for 3 or 4 days, but I think it tastes best the 2nd day, which comes in handy, since it needs a while to chill to firm up