If you are committed to making your Thanksgiving dinner from scratch, there is no question that a homemade pumpkin pie will be featured on the dessert table. Unlike store bought pumpkin pies, homemade ones tend to took more rustic with a less than perfect pie crust and a crack in the middle of the custard. If these endearing imperfections bother you, there are few tips to keep in mind so that your pumpkin pie will be silky smooth.
Tip 1: Most pumpkin pie recipes require you to blind bake the pastry crust before adding the filling. This step helps ensure that the custard filling does not make the crust soggy before it has time to bake. To do this, line the inside of the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or unbaked beans. By pre-baking the crust in this manner, the crust keeps it's shape (no slouching or puffing up). Allow the crust to completely cool before adding the pumpkin pie filling.
Tip 2: Do not rely on your oven's temperature setting. Use an oven thermometer to ensure the pie is baking at the correct temperature. This will prevent your oven from overheating and overbaking the pie.
Tip 3: Allow the pumpkin custard to set at room temperature. When you remove the pie from the oven, the filling should still jiggle slightly. Instead of placing the pie directly into the fridge, leave it on the countertop to cool completely. The drastic change in temperature will cause your pie to crack.
*While these tips are directed towards making the perfect pumpkin pie, they are applicable to any custard pie. The main takeaway from this lesson is avoid extreme temperature changes. When all the parts of the pie are roughly the same temperature, it is less likely to crack.