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Best Yet Pumpkin Pie

by on November 11, 2010 · 15 comments

Thanks to James for this pumpkin pie recipe. It’s spicy, creamy, has a shiny top, and a vibrant pumpkin flavor enhanced by hints of candied yams and spices — specifically, fresh ginger and cinnamon. If you’re still  looking for the ultimate pumpkin pie, this one’s worth a try.

pumpkin pie

I’ve posted more pictures and some notes from my experience after the jump.

What I like best about this pie is the texture. It sets and slices perfectly, but has a creamy and smooth interior. It does require attention to detail, though. The filling gets stirred over low heat for a while, and you have to strain it.

straining pumpkin pie fillings

It takes a while to bake, and you’ll need plenty of time to let it set. so make sure to bake it the day before you want to serve it. Also, the cook-time listed in the recipe may or may not be precise. Mine took almost 15 minutes longer to bake than James’s did, but since I knew the internal temperature was suppose to be 175 degrees F, I was able to monitor it with an instant read thermometer.

One last thing. James used CI’s vodka pie crust. For the sake of being different, I used Dorie Greensspan’s crust and replaced the water with Vodka.   If you like making crust, use your favorite recipe and par-bake it as per the directions, but if you don’t have time, just use a store-bought crust, par-bake it as directed on the package, then fill and continue baking as directed.

Tito's Vodka

Recipe is here:  Best Pumpkin Pie Recipe from James over at Cook Like James.

filling and crust

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Published on November 11, 2010

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Katrina November 11, 2010 at 9:38 am

Always looking for new/great-er pumpkin pies. This one does sound interesting!

Camille November 11, 2010 at 9:40 am

This looks absolutely perfect. I have yet to find an amazing pumpkin pie recipe! Thanks!

Krystle November 11, 2010 at 10:02 am

That slice of pie looks amazing! Ill have to add this one to the must try list!

Mackenzie @ The Caramel Cookie November 11, 2010 at 5:16 pm

I love pumpkin pie! YUM! The crust looks really good too!

James November 11, 2010 at 8:21 pm

So glad you tried the recipe! The pie looks great – I’m planning on making lots of them this Thanksgiving. Happy Cooking! James

Maggie November 11, 2010 at 11:27 pm

I discovered that recipe last year on the Cooks Illustrated website. (I’ve got a subscription.) And I have to agree: I liked pumpkin pie before, but with this one I absolutely LOVE it. It is so amazing. I could eat the filling out of the bowl before it’s cooked. And the vodka in the pie crust makes it easy to work with but it all evaporates before you eat it. Neat trick. I already decided that this will be my Gift to give this year to my favorite people and clients.

Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. November 12, 2010 at 5:18 am

I’m so excited to meet you today in NYC!

Shannon November 12, 2010 at 4:32 pm

This looks gorgeous! Pumpkin pie is very high on my (very long!) list of faves for sure.
How do you think this would turn out replacing the heavy cream and full fat milk with part skimmed evaporated milk to cut some of the fat? I use evap milk in my traditional pumpking pie recipe, so I wonder if it work with this as well?

Anna November 14, 2010 at 10:02 am

Shannon, I just don’t know. I’m all for cutting fat, but I don’t think you’d get the same smooth texture. If you try it, let me know.

Judy November 14, 2010 at 2:58 pm

It looks like James has changed the CI recipe. It calls for canned, not candied yams, and there is no straining of filling. The texture of the original recipe is wonderful, but I found it underspiced. The vodka pie crust is outstanding. I made it two years ago and the original recipe (with some added spices) is on my blog. I actually made a better pumpkin pie last year, which is my new fave.

Kerstin November 14, 2010 at 6:40 pm

How awesome, I’m going to try this for Thanksgiving this year!

Randi November 15, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Cook’s strikes again. Their recipes rock!!

Kerstin November 26, 2010 at 10:41 am

Hi Anna, I made this yesterday for Thanksgiving and it’s SOOO good! I just ate a piece for breakfast :) Even our guests who usually aren’t huge pumpkin pie fans enjoyed it and loved the lighter texture – thanks for sharing the recipe! Oh, and I also had to bake it for a lot longer than the directions stated too.

Shannon in Canada December 18, 2010 at 6:20 am

I had asked you before asking cutting the fat by using evaporated milk instead of cream and full fat milk. Well, I made this yesterday for our family Christmas dinner today and used skimmed evaporated milk. I havn’t tried it yet, but the pie looks gorgeous! I have made hundreds of pumpkin pies and I can definately see a difference in texture in this one. It looks smooth and creamy and absolutely gorgeous. Hopefully everyone will like the new recipe, as I have been making the same pumpkin pie recipe for my inlaw’s for years.

Anna December 18, 2010 at 9:00 am

Hi Shannon,

Thanks for sharing the results of your evaporated milk pumpkin pie test. I hope the final product tastes great. Sounds like it was a success.

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