Thanksgiving Test Drive: No Roll Crust Pumpkin Pie

October 27, 2009

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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A Tale of Two Pies

November 29, 2008

We always have pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving – it’s a tradition. My recipe uses the crust recipe I got from my mother and the filling that I am embarrassed to admit came from an ad for Libby’s canned pumpkin! Martha has a recipe for Traditional Pumpkin Pie on page 82 of November Living. It was time for a pie-off.

First I made my own crust. This is a simple, no hassle crust. I dump 1 1/3 c of  flour, 1 stick of butter, 1 tsp salt and 1 tbsp sugar in the Cuisinart and process till it looks like meal. Then I gradually add 1/4 c ice water until it forms into a ball. I roll it out (and it rolls out smoothly and easily) and pour in the filling and bake. Easy and reliable.

Next I did Martha’s crust. Martha calls for 2 1/2 c flour, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp salt and 2 sticks of butter. Then you add 3-4 tbsp cold water. Quite different than mine – twice as much butter and almost twice as much flour and much



less water. Martha directs you to chill it for 1 hour before rolling it out. I did that. I rolled it out and it was a giant mess. It ripped and shredded all over the place. I ended up having to patch it in places once it was in the pan.

Then Martha says to freeze the pie shell for 15 minutes. When you take it out, you prick it with a fork, put parchment paper inside it and fill it with pie weights. Then



you bake for 15 min at 375. Take it out and remove the pie weights and parchment paper and bake for another 15-20 min until it is brown.

By the time I did all this, my pie was completely done. I was feeling a bit annoyed at how complicated Martha’s process was. Thank goodness I have two

Martha's crust baked


ovens though or I would have been in trouble! That turkey needed to go in while all this was happening!

Next, let’s take a look at the 2 fillings. My fabulous Libby’s pie is made up of 3/4 c white sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp cloves, 2 eggs, 15 oz pumpkin and 12 oz evaporated milk.

Martha’s filling is 3/4 c brown sugar, 1 tbsp cornstarch, 1/2 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp cinnamon, 3/4 tsp ginger, 3/4 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp vanilla, 3 eggs, 12 oz evaporated milk and 15 oz canned pumpkin. Again, different than mine. She uses an extra egg, brown sugar instead of white, and nutmeg instead of cloves. The cornstarch is extra also.

My pie

My pie

My pie bakes at 425 for 15 min then you reduce the temp to 350 and bake for another 40-50 min. It was done exactly on time.

Martha’s pie bakes at 325. The recipe says 50-55 minutes. WRONG! That pie was not done for a good hour and a half, and that was only after I got annoyed and cranked the temp to 350!

Martha's pie


Both pies looked good. Martha’s was a little taller than mine.

I made the family do a taste test. The results were split. I loved Martha’s crust. Yes, it was a giant pain to make it, but it tasted terrific. I would make it again. I liked my filling better. It had a stronger flavor and tasted more like pumpkin to me. So in the future I would make her crust with my filling.

Mine- left, Martha- right

Mine- left, Martha- right

The rest of the family was split also. Mini-Martha liked my pie. Teen daughter liked Martha. Mr. MarthaAndMe liked both.

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