Every autumn, I get excited about pumpkin pie, not that I’m prevented from having it year round, as I always stock up on pumpkin. Pumpkin pies are a breeze to whip up, so the stress for me always surrounds which recipe to use. The crust for the pie tends to influence my opinion of the recipe. Last year, I started using a Better Homes & Gardens oil crust recipe. You basically just stir together flour, salt, and oil, then press it into the pan. It’s really easy to prepare, but still isn’t as good as a shortening crust.* For some reason this year, I’ve gotten lazy and just started buying frozen Pillsbury pie crust. I’m disappointed that I’ve gone this route, especially for today’s pie, but it was probably a good decision today: about ten minutes before I started on the pie, I knocked a glass into the sink. It broke in half and the bottom half bounced up, splitting open a knuckle on my left hand. When I make this again, I’m going to make sure I use a good crust.
*Editor’s note: I am all about butter, and use the 123 method for pie crusts. Easy as…pie!
As I said, I stress about the recipe that I use. I’ve tried a number of pumpkin pie recipes and usually end up using a hybrid of the recipe on the Libby’s can (preferred ingredients, but two cooking temperatures) or from the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook (only one temperature, but ingredients I’m less excited about). I got some pumpkin at Trader Joe’s earlier this season and thought I’d give that recipe a try. Out of habit I grabbed a can of evaporated milk when I was getting the pumpkin, and then I actually looked at the recipe: no evaporated milk. The recipe called for cream and whole milk, neither of which we normally have on hand. But since it is November, we did have egg nog, which has both milk and cream. I decided to split the difference and use half egg nog and half evaporated milk. Also, since the egg nog has its own spices, I cut the pumpkin pie spice quantity in half.
I made the mistake of not using a whisk on the eggs. As a result, there were still blobs of egg whites that weren’t incorporated well into the pumpkin mixture (seen in the before and after photos of the pie). It didn’t affect the taste dramatically, but next time I will be extra careful when mixing the eggs. Libby’s recipe and the Trader Joe’s recipe both call for 3/4 c sugar, but Trader Joe’s specifies brown sugar. With the egg nog substitution, it’s hard to tell how much of a difference the brown sugar made. Another factor affecting the experience was the Trader Joe’s pumpkin. Compared to Libby’s, it was much less orange in color and had a different consistency.
I think I’ve found my new “go to” recipe for pumpkin pie. The egg nog lends a richness that isn’t captured by just the pumpkin pie spices. I’ll have to try this with the Libby’s pumpkin, but it seemed that the pumpkin taste was better with the Trader Joe’s (I don’t think it was because the Trader Joe’s was organic). And for my next helping of pie, I think I may even forego the whipped cream. Usually I’m never one to pass up whipped cream, but the pie didn’t really need that extra sweetness or cream.
Egg nog pumpkin pie recipe
Total time: 60 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
- Pie crust
- 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
- 3/4 c egg nog
- 3/4 c evaporated milk
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 c packed brown sugar
- 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice blend
- 1/4 t salt
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- Prepare a deep dish pie crust.
- Mix together the remaining ingredients and pour into the pie crust.
- Bake in the middle of the oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the filling is set (center will still tremble slightly when pie is shaken gently).
- Transfer to a rack and cool for 2-3 hours.
- Move the pie to the fridge to cool completely.