Thanksgiving Test Drive: No Roll Crust Pumpkin Pie

I always make pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. It is one of Dude Martha’s favorite foods, so he’s been asking lately if I would make one before Thanksgiving so he didn’t have to wait so long!

shortbread pie crust2Martha has an interesting section in November Living with a variety of pie crusts. One option is a no-roll, press-in pie crust (o. 171). This sounded great to me. I hate rolling pie crust. It always rips. This pie crust recipe is essentially a shortbread (eggs in pie crust is definitely a new approach!). It was very easy to mix up and press in the pan. I baked it and it looks browner in the photo than it really was. It was so easy – I was so excited!

Then I made Martha’s pumpkin pie from the same issue (p. 214). I am embarrassed to tell you that the recipe I always use is one I ripped out of a magazine from a Libby’s canned pumpkin ad many years ago, but everyone loves it. Last Thanksgiving I made another one of Martha’s pumpkin pies and it didn’t stand up to the Libby’s recipe, but I was ready to try another version.

This pumpkin pie recipe uses heavy cream instead of the evaporated milk most pump pie shortbreadpumpkin pie recipes use. Nothing else struck me as remarkable when I was making it. I got it in the pie crust and baked it. It looked and smelled good. Everyone was so excited to sit down to try it.

It was a disaster. Inedible. First of all, let’s talk about the crust. It was incredibly salty. I used unsalted butter. The recipe calls for 1 tsp salt – I used about 3/4 tsp. It was way too much. If it hadn’t been salty, it would have been very nice I think. So if you make this, I recommend cutting the salt back to 1/2 tsp or 1/4 tsp.

pump pie shortbread 2Now, the pie. It was not sweet. The recipe uses 1/4 cup of sugar  while my Libby’s recipe uses 3/4 cup plus it has evaporated milk which is sweetened. There wasn’t close to enough sugar in this recipe. It didn’t even taste like a dessert. Between the lack of sugar in the filling and the excessive salt in the crust, no one could eat this. In the trash it went. I’m glad I didn’t make this untested for Thanksgiving because that would have been a terrible disappointment!

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18 Responses to Thanksgiving Test Drive: No Roll Crust Pumpkin Pie

  1. Oh, man, nothing worse than trying out a new recipe for a holiday and having it flop. Better to try ahead and time– although this one certainly does look good!

  2. Alexandra says:

    I love pumpkin pie, too, and use that same recipe which works every time. How disappointed you must have all been! At least you found out ahead of Thanksgiving!

  3. marthaandme says:

    Really, you can’t beat that Libby’s recipe. It’s just perfect. Now I’m looking forward to it even more since this was such a bust!

  4. I’m a Libby’s fan as well. But in the last few years, I’m sorry to say, I’ve just bought my pumpkin pies at the grocery store. It would be fun to make them at home again this year–with Libby’s. Good to know it’s a winner even with good cooks such as yourself.

  5. Alisa Bowman says:

    Wow– this is good to know. Sounds like Martha’s food kitchen was out to lunch when this recipe got approved for the magazine. I think my Dad always uses the Libby’s one, too. It works!

  6. I’m so glad you found this out before Thanksgiving. What a day it would have been had you not. I can’t make real pie crust, and by the time I wanted to attempt it, my mom was too ill to try to help me. Thanksgiving just isn’t the same without her recipe. 😦

  7. marthaandme says:

    The grocery store probably uses a recipe similar to Libby’s, so why not. Thanksgiving is such a stressful day – it’s all about the food which puts a lot of pressure on the cook!

  8. marthaandme says:

    A couple of weeks ago I bought refrigerated pie crust to make an apple pie because I just couldn’t face all the rolling. It wasn’t bad. I think it’s the filling that makes or breaks a pie. I know what you mean though- my grandmother passed away this year and no one in the world can replicate her pie crust. My mom says she used lard which I don’t think I could ever bring myself to use, but apparently it was the trick.

  9. My mom always said the pie is in the crust. I think she used lard too!

  10. Maybe you just needed to eat the pie with a HUGE scoop of vanilla ice cream… I wonder why the crust tasted so salty…

  11. marthaandme says:

    We had whipped cream on it and it just didn’t help!

  12. ReadyMom says:

    Darn. I was really hoping you (or I should say Martha) discovered an easy crust for us. I know somewhere in my pile of recipes, I have one for an apple pie that you just press in and then the pie is baked in a paper bag in the oven. I tried it once or twice and it worked beautifully, but I’m the only pie eater in our house so we don’t have it very often.

  13. marthaandme says:

    I would try this without so much salt and I think it would be good. But the pie filling was not salvageable!

  14. Katherine says:

    You know, I have to say I love reading about other people’s food disasters. I am such a dunce in the kitchen that it makes me feel better — and more likely to attempt a new recipe myself. I swear, it’s not just schadenfreude!

  15. Melissa says:

    I made this pie as well and it was incredibly salty. We found a similar recipe for a shortbread crust in another book and it called for 1/8 tsp salt. So there was definitely something wrong with Martha’s recipe. I agree that the filling too was not very good. I like Paula’s pumpkin pie recipe. I usually make that, but decided to try the shortbread crust this year…

  16. marthaandme says:

    I’m glad it wasn’t just me! Whoever wrote this made a huge mistake with the salt quantity.

  17. maya says:

    oh man, bummer!

    BUT!! i’m sorry to be the one to break this to you, but i am holding a copy of November Living issue and the recipe says 3/4 cups of sugar, and not 1/4 like you used. the font is so small, i could have made this mistake myself, especially while tumbling around my dirty kitchen, but this definitely reads 3/4 cups of sugar. which would probably offset the salty crust by a little bit. although it sounds libby’s recipe might be a winner after all.

    BTW – i tried the chocolate caramel cookie bars from the back page and they are DIVINE (used bittersweet chocolate and not milk)


  18. marthaandme says:

    Thanks Maya. No idea how I got that wrong!

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