Pumpkin Pie Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated – Pumpkin Pie and I Are “Just Friends”

cooks illustrated best pumpkin pie recipe{image via instagram. follow: The Delicious}

Every girl has one. Every girl has that guy that she’s “just friends” with. You’ve known each other for I-don’t-know-how-many years, but you’ve never once been attracted to him. No really, you’ve never ever been wildly attracted to him (it is possible for girls, you know) and the idea of dating him, well, makes you snortle because you’ve always been, and always will be, “just friends.”

We’re Just Friends

Recipe for the best Pumpkin Pie from Cook’s Illustrated is
below. Just scroll down.

Now, he’s not your best friend because, for one thing, you’re only besties with girls, and besides, he doesn’t even live in the same city, so how can you be BFFs with someone you can’t go shopping with everyday?!?! You get along just fine, and when he does come into town to visit family, or even, say, a girl who he’s dating, you and he will at least grab dinner. Whenever he’s around, you hang out, and heck, even though you’ve never been attracted to him, if you’ve been deprived of, well, you know, you might even play a little, but it’s so totally understood between both of you that this is so totally platonically physical.

It’s not like his laugh forever echoes in your ears, or his adorable crooked smile is emblazoned on your brain, or you get hot flashes in the middle of Whole Foods for God’s sake because you are always thinking about him. It’s not like you get butterflies the way you do when that guy from twitter direct messages you.

You guys are “just friends.”

JFFs. Seriously

The thing is, all your BFFs and your family adore him. They love him. They think you and he should totally get married one day and why don’t you guys just try dating? They don’t understand why you aren’t all over this amazing, charming, funny, intelligent guy, and aren’t those all the man-characteristics that you talk about on your “list?”

You don’t understand why you can see what they’re saying, but you can’t see what they’re saying, you know what I’m saying? You don’t not like him. Actually, you kind of wished that you did because, hm, now that they mention it, they’re right. He does have all the right characteristics, and you guys do get along so well, and if it actually worked out you wouldn’t have to waste all that time. You want to like him.

But you. Just. Can’t. You don’t know what it is. He’s just sort of…you don’t know. You just can’t be passionate about him. There’s something missing. That spark. That je ne say what. The wildly passionate chemistry is not there to take it from *shrugs* we’re-just-friends to *shriek!* clothes on the floor the minute you walk in the door.

Pumpkin pie is like that guy.

Pumpkin Pie and I Are “Just Friends”

It’s an ambiguous relationship. Perhaps “relationship” isn’t quite the right term to explain how I feel: I don’t love pumpkin pie, but I so desperately want to. I love all things pumpkin. Some of it has to do with my wicked sweet tooth falling victim to pumpkin foods most often being desserts, and some of it has to do with the warm spices that are always used with pumpkin. I love cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg with pumpkin in breads, muffins, and pancakes. If pumpkin were usually cooked with say, cilantro, I don’t think I’d love it as much.

Unlike with pumpkin, my relationship with cilantro is very clearly defined – I fucking hate cilantro.

Now don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I hate pumpkin pie, or even to a lesser degree, that I don’t like pumpkin pie. It’s just that I don’t luuuuurrv pumpkin pie the way some people do. In fact, when it’s around, I eat it without thinking twice. I mean, for God’s sake, it’s still a pie. I’ll even eat leftover pumpkin pie that is sitting in the refrigerator because every guest who offered to “bring dessert” brought pumpkin pie instead of thinking to bring pecan or apple. I’ll peel back the plastic cling wrap from the pie dish that’s wedged between a tupperware of mashed potatoes and gallon-size ziploc bag of turkey breast, not even bothering to remove the pie from that middle shelf because I’ve contorted my post Thanksgiving bloated body so that my ass can prop open the refrigerator door while I sneak five or six bites straight from the pie dish with my fork.

Did I just reveal too much about myself there?

It drives me mildly insane trying to understand why other people go completely bonkers over pumpkin pie. It isn’t bad (have I said that a few times already? I just don’t want to get flamed by all the pumpkin pie devotees out there), it’s just that almost always, the crust looks and tastes like soggy cardboard, and the pumpkin pie filling, which can be wonderfully fragrant and flavorful with rich spices, always has the mealy, squishy consistency of Gerber. Now that I think about it, another key ingredient of pumpkin pie, evaporated milk, kind of reminds me of infant formula, too.

It’s Libby’s Fault. That B!tch.

Libby’s. I blame it all on Libby’s and the recipe for Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie on their can of pure pack pumpkin.

They make pumpkin pie too easy. In an effort to sell their monster cans of pumpkin pie, they give you a recipe that makes two 9” pumpkin pies, and make it sound like it’s easier than heating up a Lean Cuisine in a microwave oven. All you do is dump eggs, sugar, and evaporated milk into a bowl, mix it up, pour into unbaked pie shells, and throw them in the oven.

Somehow, I think they are subliminally telling you to buy Pillsbury pre-made pie crusts instead of making the pie crust from scratch. Libby’s famously easy pumpkin pie comes out famously soggy, famously squishy.

It’s Not You. It’s…Pie

I want to love pumpkin pie because it’s pumpkin. I want to love it because it’s a dessert. I want to adore it because it’s made with all those wonderfully warm autumn spices. I want to look forward to the prospect of pumpkin pie with eager, longing, heart-pounding anticipation as soon as the calendar flips from September to October. Pumpkin pie comes around only once a year, and I want a spring and summer absence to make my heart grow fonder…but it doesn’t.

I don’t. I don’t love pumpkin pie.

I don’t love you, pumpkin pie.

But we can still be friends!

We just don’t have that connection the way others who love pumpkin pie have that connection. See, I have that connection with pumpkin cheesecake. I am so head over my stiletto heels for pumpkin cheesecake. Pumpkin cheesecake is my twitter flirtationship, but pumpkin pie? Pumpkin pie is just my friend.

Something Happened on the Way to…

And then something happens. You’re running an errand, stopping off at the market, and your friend tags along just for the hell of it. While you’re standing in line and he’s rummaging through your purse looking for your club card because he knows you hate to not get that club card discount, you look at him with your head slightly tilted to the side. Did you do something with your hair? “Yeah, put some gel in it,” he replies, punching your telephone number into the keypad because the card is on the other keychain at home. Is that a new shirt? “Yeah, just got it. Cool, huh?” Very cool. And weird, because suddenly, he looks different to you, but you don’t think it’s the gel and the new shirt. He looks hot. Very hot. You snatch the celery and eggs, grab his hand, and run for the car, dragging him behind you.

That is what happened to me and my “just friend” pumpkin pie. I ran into a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated for the perfect pumpkin pie. It promises a flaky, crisp crust. It promises a smooth, delicious, and firm filling. I baked it, sort of unsure of how I’d end up feeling.

After a little more effort than the damn Libby’s-like recipes we’re used to (pre-bake the crust and cook the filling on the stovetop to hot), I slipped it gently into the oven. When it came out of the oven, slightly longer than the prescribed 25 minutes, I let it cool down. When it was time to try it, I pierced through that soft, quivering custard with an 8” chef’s knife and pulled out a perfect, enormous piece. It was heavy. I put the piece on the plate and I wanted it naked, but I surrendered to the gentle pleas for whipped cream (not the Cook’s Illustrated brandied whipped cream, just plain), and I took a bite.

After all these years, I finally fell in… like.

A very very strong like. Not love yet, since after so many years of “just friends,” these weird new emotions with someone with whom you’ve never experienced them takes more time to get used to, but yes, the spark was finally lit. I had to call Mom and tell her.

Pumpkin pie and I? There’s a little something going on between us now.

The Best Pumpkin Pie Recipe

From Cook’s Illustrated. Serves 8

“If you do not have a food processor, the pumpkin may be put through a food mill or forced through a fine sieve with the back of a wooden spoon. Alternatively, you can cook the pumpkin, sugar, and spices together before pureeing, then whir the mixture in a blender, adding enough of the cream called for in the recipe to permit the pumpkin to flow easily over the blades. In either case, heat the pumpkin with the (remaining) cream and milk, as indicated, then slowly whisk the mixture into the beaten eggs.

Flaky pastry can be successfully produced using any all-purpose flour, but a low-protein brand (such as Gold Medal) produces a more tender crust. Doughs made with low-protein flours are also easier to handle, and, perhaps most important, they are less likely to buckle and shrink out of shape during baking. If you wish to blend the fat and flour with your fingertips or with a pastry tool instead of using a machine, decrease the butter to six tablespoons and add two tablespoons of chilled vegetable shortening. The pie may be served slightly warm, chilled, or — my preference — at room temperature.”

Flaky Pie Pastry Shell Ingredients

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, measured by dip-and-sweep
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ¼-inch pats
3–3½ tablespoons ice water

Spicy Pumpkin Pie Filling Ingredients

2 cups (16 ounces) plain pumpkin puree, canned or fresh
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup milk
4 large eggs

Brandied Whipped Cream Ingredients

1 1/3 cups heavy cream, cold
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon brandy

Best Pumpkin Pie Directions

Pie Pastry Shell Directions:

1. For pastry shell, mix flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter over dry ingredients; process until mixture resembles cornmeal, 7 to 12 seconds. Turn mixture into a medium-sized bowl.

2. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of water over flour mixture. With blade side of a rubber spatula, cut mixture into little balls. Then press down on mixture with broad side of spatula so balls stick together in large clumps. If dough resists gathering, sprinkle remaining water over dry, crumbly patches and press a few more times. Form dough into a ball with your hands; wrap in plastic, then flatten into a 4-inch disk. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (Can be refrigerated for 2 days or, if sealed airtight in a plastic bag, frozen for up to 6 months.)

3. Generously sprinkle a 2-foot square work area with flour. Remove dough from wrapping and place disk in center; dust top with flour. (If it has been chilled for more than 1 hour, let dough stand until it gives slightly when pressed, 5 to 10 minutes.) Roll dough in all directions, from center to edges, rotating a quarter turn and strewing flour underneath as necessary after each stroke. Flip disk over when it is 9 inches in diameter and continue to roll (but don’t rotate) in all directions, until it is 13 to 14 inches in diameter and just under 1/8-inch thick.

4. Fold dough in quarters and place the corner in the center of a Pyrex pie pan measuring 9- to 9 1/2-inches across top. Carefully unfold dough to cover pan completely, with excess dough draped over pan lip. With one hand, pick up edges of dough; use index finger of other hand to press dough around pan bottom. Use your fingertips to press dough against pan walls. Trim dough overhanging the pan to an even 1/2-inch all around.

5. Tuck overhanging dough back under itself so folded edge is flush with edge of pan lip. Press double layer of dough with your fingers to seal, then bend up at a 90-degree angle and flute by pressing thumb and index finger about 1/2-inch apart against outside edge of dough, then using index finger (or knuckle) of other hand to poke a dent through the space. Repeat procedure all the way around.

6. Refrigerate for 20 minutes (or freeze for 5 minutes) to firm dough shell. Using a table fork, prick bottom and sides — including where they meet — at 1/2-inch intervals. Flatten a 12-inch square of aluminum foil inside shell, pressing it flush against corners, sides, and over rim. Prick foil bottom in about a dozen places with a fork. Chill shell for at least 30 minutes (preferably an hour or more), to allow dough to relax.

7. Adjust an oven rack to lowest position, and heat oven to 400 degrees. (Start preparing filling when you put shell into oven.) Bake 15 minutes, pressing down on foil with mitt-protected hands to flatten any puffs. Remove foil and bake shell for 8 to 10 minutes longer, or until interior just begins to color.

Spicy Pumpkin Pie Filling Directions:

8. For filling, process first 7 ingredients in a food processor fitted with steel blade for 1 minute. Transfer pumpkin mixture to a 3-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan; bring it to a sputtering simmer over medium-high heat. Cook pumpkin, stirring constantly, until thick and shiny, about 5 minutes. As soon as pie shell comes out of oven, whisk heavy cream and milk into pumpkin and bring to a bare simmer. Process eggs in food processor until whites and yolks are mixed, about 5 seconds. With motor running, slowly pour about half of hot pumpkin mixture through feed tube. Stop machine and scrape in remaining pumpkin. Process 30 seconds longer.

9. Immediately pour warm filling into hot pie shell. (Ladle any excess filling into pie after it has baked for 5 minutes or so — by this time filling will have settled.) Bake until filling is puffed, dry-looking, and lightly cracked around edges, and center wiggles like gelatin when pie is gently shaken, about 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour.

Brandied Whipped Cream Directions:

10. For whipped cream, beat cream at medium speed to soft peaks; gradually add confectioners’ sugar then brandy. Beat to stiff peaks. Accompany each wedge of pie with a dollop of whipped cream.

{post originally published November 2005}

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous December 2, 2005 at 12:52 am

congrats to you and your site for being included in the latimes, thursday calendar section!

great site.


2 sarah December 2, 2005 at 1:17 am

thank you! thank you!

i am absolutely tickled delicious!


3 Lady Amalthea December 2, 2005 at 1:30 am

A good piece of pumpkin pie is a wonderful thing. Where’s this one from or did you make it yourself?


4 sarah December 2, 2005 at 7:37 am

hey lady! my sister and i baked pumpkin pies together the night before thanksgiving based on the recipe from cook’s illustrated (link in that last paragraph) :)


5 djjewelz December 2, 2005 at 7:40 am

Sounds like pumpkin pie just became FWB…friends with benefits :) lol. Remember me when you are famous!!! When I get back to LA, I’ll have a 30 minute video of Carl Cox @ Love Parade SF for you to dl.


6 vanessa December 2, 2005 at 2:38 pm

I can SO sympathize with you. On both fronts. Everyone (and their pumpkin-pie loving asses) think I’m crazy for not loving the stuff. And they also think I’m insane for not loving a certain fella. Can I help it if I don’t get hot and bothered by both? Please.


7 plau December 2, 2005 at 4:47 pm

No no no…

Pumpkin pie, one of my faves, is best with a toasted graham cracker crust… But I understand the benefits of a good flakeolicious one… :)

But the gentle crunch and caramelized sweetness of a pre-toasted graham cracker crust (without too much cinnamon) is oh so excellent.

Oh.. and one time, not at band camp, I didn’t have any evaporated milk that goes in one recipe I have, so I put in condensed milk, instead. It turned out rather rich but a little sweeter, so since then, I throw a little in to make a nice accent.


8 sarah December 2, 2005 at 5:51 pm

djjewelz: can’t wait for the big black cox. oh dear, that doesn’t sound right, now does it? LOL!

vanessa: you gotta try pumpkin cheesecake though :)

plau: hm, i don’t think i have EVER tried it with the graham cracker crust – i’ve always thought that the grahama cracker crust for SURE would become sodden from the very liquidy pumpkin fie filling. and i have seen a few receipes with the sweetened condensed milk, too.


9 BoLA December 2, 2005 at 11:16 pm

Yes, I too had this type of relationship with pumpkin pie. Although, it’s progressed into a heavy and quite serious one after learning a Midwest version of it – using a Winter Squash instead of Pumpkin. Mmmm…mmm…good!

And congrats on being in the LA Times! =)


10 Catherine December 3, 2005 at 8:44 am

The LA Times?? This calls for another slice of pumpkin pie (and doing bikram yoga overtime)! ;) Speaking of pie, what kind of camera do you use? You’re pix are impressive!


11 Anonymous December 4, 2005 at 7:26 pm


Can’t you think of a more interesting phrase than “for God’s sake”, you’ve used it twice in this entry and it’s really annoying….

for fox ache!

l.a.c. (spoofing Anon grumpy/meanie’s, lol)


12 U December 4, 2005 at 8:29 pm

Did you actually use the ground cloves? I’ve never heard of somebody using cloves like that. Am I missing out on something?


13 sarah December 4, 2005 at 9:45 pm

thanks again, y’all re: l.a. times! it was kinda cool to see the blog’s name like that! *chuckle*

cat: i use a pretty easy-to-use point and shoot camera – canon powershot s500. it was a gift last year, and it’s already outdated! the newer ones are even tinier, so it’s very convenient to carry around with me to…restaurants…and the market. LOL!

once i learn how to take really GOOD pictures, i might ask for one of the big fat fancy digital cameras :)

l.a.c: i think i use the word “delicious” a lot, too ;)

u: yep, use the cloves. it’s pretty strong, so that’s probably why it’s only a quarter teaspoon. i see cloves used quite often with pumpkin, though some people might leave it out because it really is pretty strong. :)


14 sarah December 4, 2005 at 9:45 pm

thanks again, y’all re: l.a. times! it was kinda cool to see the blog’s name like that! *chuckle*

cat: i use a pretty easy-to-use point and shoot camera – canon powershot s500. it was a gift last year, and it’s already outdated! the newer ones are even tinier, so it’s very convenient to carry around with me to…restaurants…and the market. LOL!

once i learn how to take really GOOD pictures, i might ask for one of the big fat fancy digital cameras :)

l.a.c: i think i use the word “delicious” a lot, too ;)

u: yep, use the cloves. it’s pretty strong, so that’s probably why it’s only a quarter teaspoon. i see cloves used quite often with pumpkin, though some people might leave it out because it really is pretty strong. :)


15 Catherine December 4, 2005 at 10:55 pm

Your Canon s500 must have a micro option on it. I love that you can take up close detailed shots! I use an Olympus Camedia C 60 and it doesn’t allow for macro photography, so I have to crop images in photoshop. Fun, but time consuming.


16 U December 4, 2005 at 11:03 pm

Oh, I forgot to say, congratulations on becoming an aunt. I’m an uncle, and it is great fun. Significantly more fun than being a parent, I am told! :)


17 Catherine December 7, 2005 at 12:02 am

Woah! lacheesmonger, I’m really impressed. You’re wealth of information! Thank you for the in-depth response, I’m very excited to try these suggestions. Just when I thought I knew everything about my little friend

Hey Sarah, much appreciation for letting me turn your comment page into my personal photography Q&A. :)


18 plau December 8, 2005 at 12:46 am

Oh.. per the soggy graham cracker crust… I found the egg yolk – prebake combo made for an excellent soggy-prevention barrier. Still had crunch

It really worked out well.. I wonder if there’s an equally efficient less caloric method.. but who cares at that point.. :)


19 Anonymous December 8, 2005 at 1:53 pm

Pumpkin pie is not about the taste at all … it’s about symbolic home-ness. My anecdotal evidence: on Thanksgiving, while a first year graduate student in LA, transplanted from NJ, I was feeling particularly sorry for myself, being far from home and loved ones, and bought myself a pumpkin pie from Ralph’s and a tub of cool whip. Several hours and several thousand calories later (yes, I consumed the whole durn thing), I felt MUCH better. !!!


20 hermz March 27, 2006 at 9:10 pm

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that my mom’s pumpkin pie is the only kind I actually enjoy. Like you, I find most of them *eh*.


21 Sarah J. Gim November 24, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Hermz: I bet your Mom’s pumpkin pie is the only one I’d enjoy, too (except for this one).

Bring me some baklava!


22 Kevin H November 26, 2009 at 10:26 pm

Wow. I didn’t go on a 2nd date with a girl because she hated cilantro. I think I have to drop you from my list of celebrity crushes. I’ll still read your blog though.


23 Kevin H November 26, 2009 at 10:32 pm

I have to admit that I stopped reading after the “I hate cilantro” part – but came back and read the rest just now, and I must say, it was an awesome post. Exactly why I like reading you.


24 Sarah J. Gim November 26, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Kevin: I understand on the cilantro . I had to think twice about dating a guy who didn’t eat sushi.

And glad you came back ;)


25 Melissa December 19, 2009 at 7:05 am

I really enjoyed reading your entry, and it inspired me to try baking this pie…

I guess I did something wrong, because after baking the pie for 25 mins and letting it cool for more than an hour, the center of my pie was still liquidy and hadn’t set at all!

Nevertheless, I think I’ll try it again and thanks so much for sharing the recipe!


26 Anna November 25, 2010 at 9:23 am

So I stumbled across your page a few days ago, I have the pie cooling right now! It looks cooked and jiggles like you say, but I wanted to see more pictures of the finished product. I clicked on your link to original website, but they make you sign up and give your address and info etc and that’s just dumb for a recipe site. BUT thank you for posting this and I hope it turns out well as I don’t have a back up!


27 Sarah J. Gim November 26, 2010 at 10:57 am

melissa: oh no! hopefully it turns out the second time! we’ll have to send a note out to Cook’s Illustrated!

anna: how did it turn out?


28 S Sjah October 20, 2011 at 8:36 am

i needed this so bad can’t believe my luck – thank you so much. i’m totally camping out on delic lifee.


29 Baker November 6, 2011 at 5:50 am

Am I missing something here? Get to the point of the recipe. I don’t think the nine or so patagraphs of rambling are necessary! However, I appreciate you posted the recipe.


30 Paperclip May 19, 2012 at 8:18 am

HAHA i wasnt sure what was going on at first either, but i found her metaphor of a ‘just friend’ to pumpkin pie quite frankly hilarious xD she probably just wanted to add some humour for her more humour-appreciative readers xD if she put it there in the first place, it’s probably part of her personality to be witty. also remember that it is her site and she has the right to post as much waffle as she wants xD
that being said, did you try the recipe? how was it? :D


31 internet police November 22, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Looks like you don’t have the rights to that recipe. Good luck with that.


32 Redhairedgoddess November 29, 2011 at 7:54 pm

She cited her source.


33 Mel November 23, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Just stumbled across this today looking for the BEST Pumpkin Pie recipe and I LOVED this! I have the same relationship with Pumpkin Pie, but have never really knew how to describe until reading this.  So, so true!!  AND, I despise Cilantro, too.  So glad to finally hear of someone else who hates it.  I’ve never met another soul who doesn’t like it.  A friend even googled it because he thought it was so weird that I didn’t like it.  He found that some think there is a gene that some people are born with (or without, I can’t remember) that affects whether or not you like cilantro.  Maybe it’s true, maybe not…all I know is I HATE IT! 

This PP recipe is intriguing and I think I may try it. Thanks!


34 NYCTrader November 23, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Wtg! Didn’t know much about you till the PP story, the puzzle is coming together. Keep up the great stories.


35 Beverley Brinkerhoff November 24, 2011 at 7:50 pm

My grandson insists on my making this pumpkin pie every Thanksgiving.  Everyone seems to love it including me.  I had never made any kind of a pie before. It is an excellent recipe!


36 I LOVE FOOD November 26, 2011 at 8:32 am

I made this for filling for Tday, I made it with homemade graham cracker crust. It indeed was the best…I used 2tsp of pumpkin pie spice mix and think it could have used 1 more tsp. Everyone thought it was very good. thank you!


37 Redhairedgoddess November 29, 2011 at 7:55 pm

LOVED the post, hysterical and engaging. It’s also exactly how I feel about pumpkin pie. So, I will be trying this recipe tomorrow, thanks to your encouraging story.  I’m  hoping for some sparks too. (and if there aren’t any, there’s still the booze-spiked whipped cream to make me happy)


38 Yurie Bear October 3, 2012 at 6:48 pm

I just tried this recipe and the pie came out great. I put maple sugar in the pie crust and did 3/4 cup of blown sugar and 1/4 cup of maple syrup for the filling.


39 another baker November 19, 2012 at 10:39 am

I noticed you left out the yams in the actual CI recipe and doubled the pumpkin, was that intentional?


40 TheDelicious November 29, 2013 at 5:09 pm

There are, it seems, TWO different (ish) recipes from Cooks Illustrated for Pumpkin Pie. This particular recipe (the link in the recipe above, http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/1656-the-best-pumpkin-pie) is from 1993. A second version with the yams in the filling and vodka in the pie crust, is from 2008 http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/4521-pumpkin-pie. I have not yet tried the second one, but maybe this is a good time to bake/taste-test them side by side!


41 Nia Maxwell November 30, 2013 at 7:40 am

I want to try the Cooks Illustrated vodka pie crust too. They featured it on NPR the other day during a Thanksgiving cooking tips segment. It makes sense, moisture without so much glutenizing. Delicious, you are the food scientist here, would that be kind of like the Never Fail Pie Crust that uses vinegar? That is, same principle of adding moisture but the vinegar doesn’t react with the flour to make gluten?

42 Emily November 27, 2013 at 2:01 pm

I just tried to make this for Thanksgiving. It is the most unnecessarily complicated recipe I have ever made in my life, and the result is totally inedible. I have never been so angry at an inanimate object. Thanks for sucking away five hours of my life and making me want to tear my hair out and strangle things. Can you please come over to my house and wash the 23094823048023480938029483 dishes this recipe required me to use? This pie has ruined my entire day.


43 TheDelicious November 27, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Hi Emily – I am so sorry that you went to so much trouble for something that didn’t turn out well. I’m not sure what else to say other than that there is very little to the ingredients or the technique that I changed from the original Cooks Illustrated recipe, and it has, in the past turned out for me. While you can’t get your time back (I agree, this is one of the most ridiculously complicated pumpkin pie recipes I’ve ever attempted as well), I do hope that there is/was some way to salvage the dessert situation…!


44 Nia Maxwell November 29, 2013 at 8:48 am

I made it with a bit of modifying, just had fun with it and it was GREAT! I didn’t cook it (I know!) and it worked just perfectly. Thanks for the recipe!!

45 TheDelicious November 27, 2013 at 3:31 pm

As a side note: I can’t come to your house to wash all your dishes but know that perhaps I am being punished for this in a different way: the elevator in my building is broken until Monday. I just hauled 13 bags of groceries up three flights of stairs (three trips), and am now going out on my second market trip…! ;D


46 Kathryn November 29, 2013 at 9:39 am

Hi, I just wanted to thank you for this amazing recipe. I had been cooking the Libby’s version pumpkin pie, but with a praline topping that offset the lackluster quality of the filling and made the pie as a whole pretty darn good. This year, I decided to stop shortchanging the filling and see if I could do a little better. Wow, did I ever succeed. I used your recipe and it was amazing. Folks have been telling me it’s the best pumpkin pie they’ve ever had. I did still use the praline topping (brown sugar, pecans, and butter sprinkled on top for the last few minutes of cooking) and so the pie was simply a masterpiece. THANK YOU!!!


47 TheDelicious November 29, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Love the idea of the praline topping on the pie…will definitely have to try that for the next Thanksgiving!


48 Nia Maxwell November 30, 2013 at 7:42 am

I just have to say, I love the story that accompanies this recipe. It makes me smile and laugh out loud, something that is sorely needed on this planet, and it has made me a devoted follower. Now I have to go find other recipes so that I may see what I have been missing all these years!! Thank you for sharing your cooking skills and your other talents with us!


49 Joy Ward February 2, 2014 at 7:29 pm

I’m still working on a good pumpkin pie recipe. I’m not sure about all the recipes I read on-line but I use the dose on here for one pie, for two, and it tastes great. I think my problem is the cook time. I use about 3.5 cups of cooked pumpkin,1 cup of milk and 4 large eggs. Again this is for 2 8 in pies. Perhaps I need to drain the pumpkin after it cooks in the fridge? I cook it at 375 for 70 minutes. I was using the time and temp from the Marie Callenders box. lol.


50 rivelsandgrits.com December 23, 2014 at 5:45 am

I agree–Cook’s Illustrated showed me what pumpkin pie can/should be and I’ve never had anything like it. It has such richness and complexity of flavor.

FYI, I’ve posted a vegan version of their recipe on my blog, and I also talk about how to avoid common pumpkin pie woes like cracked filling and un-set centers. Stop by rivelsandgrits.com if you’re interested!

Thanks for your post–you’ve expressed my feelings too in such a funny and sweet way!


51 ZHusamSalam October 31, 2015 at 2:15 pm

Punkin pie is the snchazz!!! And ur being extremely disrespectful to it… U stupid b*tch.


52 Melody D. September 24, 2016 at 8:39 pm

So… I definitely made this pie three times within two weeks. I think I ate the whole thing in one day the first time I made it. It’s amazing! Also, I’m pregnant and I think pumpkin pie is the only thing I am legitimately craving. I do have three notes to make on it though.

1. Just pulse the water into the crust. It turns out fine.
2. The crust,though already easy to work with, behaves even better after it has been frozen and thawed! I plan on making a bunch of pie crusts to stick in my freezer.
3. When you poke the foil with a fork, DO NOT do it in the pie crust. Tiny pieces of foil end up baking into your crust. I don’t think I noticed while eating it, but who wants to eat foil? bleh.


53 Melissa November 19, 2014 at 10:27 am

I’ve made the vodka recipe pie crust 3-4 times and it’s AWESOME. I always get compliments on the crust and people want to know “my” secret. :)


54 TheDelicious November 29, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Nia ~ happy (and thankful!) that your pumpkin pie turned out great! Good to know that *not* cooking the filling is ok, too!


55 Nia Maxwell November 29, 2013 at 6:49 pm

I used all the same ingredients, just put it together the way I would a regular pie recipe (beat eggs, add sugar, beat some more, add… and so on…) with the addition of a splash of maple syrup and leaving out the cloves(don’t like em). Everyone that has tried it just loves it. And I recommend using Penzey’s Vietnamese Cinnamon, it is perfect…


Cancel reply

Leave a Comment

{ 16 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: