Wednesday, November 25, 2009


There is something to be said for Pillsbury pie crusts. They’re easy, quick, convenient and virtually fool-proof. Those thoughts were running through my head as my Thanksgiving piecrust got ruined. I prepared the dough for flaky cream cheese pie crust and froze it several days ago, but forgot to take it out of the freezer the night before. If it had thawed in the fridge overnight, I might not have had a problem. Instead, I tried to quick-thaw it on the counter and probably left it out too long. When I tried to prebake my pie shell, I wound up with a shrunken, tough mess that went into the trash.
Plan B was a quick butter pie crust, thrown into the fridge for an hour to cure. I like to let pie crusts cure overnight in the fridge, but there was no time. And this crust did not get prebaked. Instead, I lowered the oven rack to its lowest position and placed my pizza stone on it, preheated the oven to 400F for a half hour, and then placed the filled pie on tinfoil on the stone. Of course, to complete my day, the pie cracked in a very unappetizing manner…… Deep cracks…… I guess this is my humble pie.
The pie filling recipe, found on, was tweaked to my liking. I wanted to taste the pumpkin, not spices and sugar, and I liked the spices in this recipe. I just decreased the nutmeg by 1/8 teaspoon. I cut the sugar and corn syrup a bit, used dark corn syrup instead of light, subbed milk for 2/3 of the cream and added melted butter. The filling calls for 1-1/2 cups of fresh pumpkin puree, but I’m sure that canned pumpkin can be used. I used 1 cup of Hubbard squash, 1/2 c of butternut squash and 1/2 cup of sweet potato. After pureeing and draining, it came to 1-1/2 cups. Draining the squash is an integral part of this recipe, so I didn’t want to skip it. If you opt to use canned pumpkin, you might still want to drain it to get the excess water out. The filling for this pie fits perfectly into a 9” pie plate with no leftovers.
I am still thankful at Thanksgiving time. I’m thankful that the pie, although ugly, is still edible and that I have people to share it with. Sometimes it’s the little things……

UPDATE: The pie was fantastic! Guy said it was the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever made. It was very light, yet rich and creamy with just enough sweetness and subtle spices that perfectly complemented the mix of squashes and sweet potato. An ugly duckling for sure, but still a winner. The crust was as ugly as the filling. It broke if you looked at it, but it was absolutely delicious – buttery, tender, flaky and perfect with the pie. Oh, and best yet – the crust was cooked through. Using the bottom rack of the oven and a pizza stone that’s preheated definitely makes a difference in the pie crust.
Adapted from Printable Recipe
Rating: 10 out of 10
INGREDIENTS: 1-1/2 cups cooked butternut and hubbard squashes or canned pumpkin
1/2 cup cooked or canned sweet potatoes
1/4 cup brown sugar (I used 1 Tbsp. NuNaturals Stevia + 1/2 tsp. molasses)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg (I used 1/8 tsp.)
1 Tbsp. melted butter
1/3 cup dark corn syrup
1 Tbsp. flour
1 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Puree squashes (or pumpkin) and sweet potato in work bowl of food processor or blender.  Drain overnight.* (See note below)

Place pizza stone or quarry tiles on bottom rack of oven, in lowest position. Heat oven to 400F about 15-30 minutes before you plan to bake the pie. Fit a 9” pie plate with your favorite pie crust and refrigerate.

In work bowl of food processor or in blender, combine pumpkin, sugar, salt, spices, butter and corn syrup. Pulse till very smooth and no lumps remain. Add remaining ingredients and pulse again till very smooth, scraping sides and bottom if needed. Remove pie crust from fridge; put a sheet of tinfoil underneath pie plate, then pour filling into prepared crust. Place pie and tinfoil on pizza stone.


Bake at 400F for 10 minutes, then, without opening oven door, lower temperature to 325F and bake an additional 25-30 minutes, or till filling is slightly puffed up around edges and pie crust is nicely browned. (Filling will be jiggly in center but will continue to cook as it cools.) Transfer pie to wire rack to cool, then refrigerate overnight, covered. Serve chilled pie with ice cream or whipped cream.

(A very nice spiced whipped cream topping can be made by whipping heavy cream with a little cinnamon, ginger, vanilla extract, and some dark corn syrup. Taste it and make it to your taste preference. I also made some leaves with the extra pie dough, rolled them in sugar instead of flour and baked them separately. I added them on the whipped cream as a garnish – see top photo. )

*You can drain pumpkin puree by placing a large coffee filter in a strainer, then putting the puree into that over a bowl. The liquid will drip through. This will take several hours, or place it, covered, overnight in the fridge. You will have to press it a bit to get all the liquid out.


chow and chatter said...

sorry about your first crust but you still made a yummy pie
Happy thanksgiving Judy

Coleens Recipes said...

I empathise with you!! Why is it that we can bake to perfection on any given day but things go to pot on "the big day", I've never figured that out. I ALWAYS use the pumpkin pie recipe that comes on the Libby's can, it's never failed me (yet).

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

I too like to make my own pie crust but I used the easy Pillsbury one this year.

There is something that breaks in my house at Thanksgiving. Last year the septic system backed up and this year the dishwasher is on the fritz.

Hope you have a great Thanksgiving.

Sophie Sportende Foodie said...

Your traditional pumpkin pie looks just stunning, Judy!!

I wish you & your family a Happy Thanks Giving!

Unplanned Cooking said...

I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving! We just finished up our pumpkin pie and are about to put our kids to bed. Happy Thanksgiving!

Kerstin said...

Awww, sorry you had pie crust problems. I use Pillsbury crusts often too for the same reason.

Your pumpkin pie looks super yummy! I am already looking forward to having pumpkin pie for breakfast tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving!

Janice said...

Hi Judy

Yes, I did give you an award, but obviously forgot to say that it is on my Crafting blog! You can see it HERE

Linda said...

Sorry about the bad luck with the crust... I can sympathize... I had a houseful of people arriving on Wednesday afternoon so I got up early to make my pies... I made one... looked picture perfect... of course I forgot to take a picture... and while pie #2 was in the oven... I went to move pie #1 and dropped the damn thing on the floor... to top it completely off... I forgot to take a picture of pie #2 which also came out picture perfect (an amazing feat in itself... I'm not a great pie baker)... but the crusts came out perfect this time...

I just laughed... that's all you can do!

Hope you had a wonderful holiday!

Juliana said...

Oh! Sorry to hear about your first crust...your traditional pumpkin pie sure looks yummie!

Chats the Comfy Cook said...

I hate to admit this but your cracked pie shell looks better than my homemade. I am working on it. It may be more challenging when it is gluten free. That's my excuse, anyway.