I had always used canned pumpkin for pie, because it was what my mother and grandmother used. But I liked the idea of starting with a whole food rather than a can, and what if canned pumpkin turned out to be just as inferior as canned sweet potatoes and I just didn’t know better?
I baked two pies, identical except for the source of the pumpkin. Pie number one contained the flesh of a sugar pie pumpkin that I roasted for an hour, peeled, seeded, de-stringed, and forced through the food mill. Pie number two contained the flesh of a pumpkin that Libby’s had processed in a plant and I scooped out of the can.
The results: The canned pumpkin was (obviously) more convenient, and I did not have to wait for it to roast. It was also slightly more expensive — about $0.50 more than the whole pumpkin. But those were 50 cents well spent, because it made a superior pumpkin pie — the flavor was bigger, rounder, more pumpkin-y.
My advice: When you’re standing at the supermarket the day before Thanksgiving pondering your pumpkin options, grab the can and get in the checkout line before it grows any longer. You’re not being squeamish, you’re being sensible.
Make it or buy it? Make it. (But buy the can.)
- 1 1/4 cup canned pumpkin purée
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup half-and-half
- One 9-inch pie crust, partially baked*
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, eggs, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and half-and-half and beat until smooth. Pour into the crust. Bake for 35 minutes, and remove from the oven. This is incredible served warm out of the oven, and almost as good cold.