Pixelated Crumb

The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie

Ultimate Pumpkin Pie

Dare I say it? I don’t like pumpkin pie. So un-American, right? People who know me are always shocked. I love all things pumpkin! I love chocolate chip pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bundt cake, and especially pumpkin cinnamon roll pancakes. But pumpkin pie? Not so much. That is, not so much until I had my first bite of pumpkin pie from this Cook’s Illustrated recipe at last year’s Thanksgiving.

Ultimate Pumpkin Pie Crust

I guess what I don’t like about most pumpkin pie is that it just comes across as mushy and kind of bland. There’s just not enough going on for me. This pumpkin pie, on the other hand, has all the right things going on. The flavor is deep, warm, and full of pumpkin and the texture more silky than mushy. And it’s not just for the pumpkin pie averse. My sister – a huge pumpkin pie fan – loves this recipe as much as I do. What makes it so superior from other recipes? Well, it starts with cooking the canned pumpkin. But I’ve done that before and it didn’t really do that much for me. The real secret to this recipe lies in a can of candied yams. Yup, there’s not only a full can of pumpkin puree in this recipe, there’s a whole can of candied yams! No wonder it’s so spectacular!

Ultimate Pumpkin Pie Ingredients

Cooked Pumpkin and Candied Yam Mixture

It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that the recipe that changed my perspective on pumpkin pie comes from Cook’s Illustrated. Pretty much everything that comes out of their test kitchen is gold and I have a serious crush on the magazine and America’s Test Kitchen. That being said, there is one exception; I am not a fan of their so-called foolproof pie dough recipe. I beg to differ. If you ask me, it is one of the most difficult doughs to handle because of its wetness. I much prefer working with an all butter pie dough sans vodka, so I decided to try out one of their other recipes instead and found it much more workable.

Ultimate Pumpkin Pie

Slice of Ultimate Pumpkin Pie

That isn’t to say I didn’t have some mishaps in the kitchen. To all my friends who seem to think that I don’t ever mess up or struggle in the kitchen, you couldn’t be more wrong. Trying to be more economical and ecological, I turned off my oven when I remembered that I had to chill the dough in the pie plate for 30 minutes before baking it. I went about my business and popped the pie plate in the oven after the half hour was up. Twenty-five minutes later I took a peek only to find that it really hadn’t cooked at all. And the oven was barely warm. Slow on the uptake at first I thought the oven had broken and then I thought someone else (Joseph!) must have turned the oven off. But he wasn’t even home. And then I remembered: I never turned the oven back on! Luckily it didn’t get too melty…but still, it had suffered a little. After another half hour in the freezer and remembering to turn the oven on, I was back on track for this scrumptious pie.

Slice of Ultimate Pumpkin Pie

So I know I promised a post on the rest of our trip to Europe, but I figured this pumpkin pie would be of a little more interest to those scrambling to get their Thanksgiving menus in order. I hope you still have time to run to the store to grab some candied yams to add to your pumpkin pie, because I promise you will love this recipe!

Eating a Slice of Ultimate Pumpkin Pie

The Ultimate Pumpkin PieAll-Butter Single Crust Pie Dough

Recipe from The Cook's Illustrated Cookbook

Make sure to pour the warm custard filling into a still warm pie crust before baking - this prevents the dreaded soggy crust.

Serve with whipped cream with a splash of brandy if you want to spice things up a bit (whip up 1 1/3 cups cold heavy cream, 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar and 1 tablespoon brandy).


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 (15 ounce) can drained candied yams
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 baked pie shell, still warm


  1. Adjust the oven rack to lowest position and place rimmed baking sheet on rack and preheat to 400 degrees.
  2. Whisk cream, milk, eggs, yolks, and vanilla together in medium bowl. Combine pumpkin puree, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in large saucepan and cook, stirring constantly mashing yams against sides of pot, until thick and shiny, 15-20 minutes.
  3. Remove pan from heat and whisk in cream mixture until fully incorporated. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl, using back of ladle or spatula to press solids through strainer. Whisk mixture and transfer to warm prebaked pie shell.
  4. Place pie on heated baking sheet in oven and bake pie for 10 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 300 degrees and continue baking until edges of pie are set, 20-35 minutes longer. Instant read thermometer inserted in center should read 175 degrees. Transfer pie to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 4 hours.