Pumpkin Pie to Pictionary

We had a holiday potluck at work yesterday and I decided to use it as a way to test out one of the pumpkin pie recipes I'm thinking of using for Thanksgiving. After looking online I decided to test Cook's Illustrated's recipe.

From their website:

The crust:
1 1/4 c. AP flour
1/2 t. salt
1 T. sugar
6 T. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 c. cold vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces
2 T. cold vodka
2 T. cold water

Process 3/4 cup flour, salt, sugar in food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until dough starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds (there should be no uncoated flour).

Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

I made two batches of the crust. One went into the fridge and the other went into the freezer - that's the one that I will use for Thanksgiving!

The filling:
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. whole milk (I used 2%)
3 large eggs and 2 large yolks
1 t. vanilla extract
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 of a 29-ounce can drained cadied yams
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. maple syrup
2 t. grated fresh ginger (hard to grate!)
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 t. salt

Not going to lie, pies are freaking hard to make! Maybe I should have used real "pie weights" instead of rice... Nevertheless here are the instructions I followed. Might I add that I also had tonnns of dishes and surfaces to clean afterwards...

Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 400°F. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. DIFFICULT!! I need to YouTube the proper way to roll out dough without being a complete dunce. I'm considering changing my Facebook name to Duncely Olerich in exchange for $2200. Thoughts? I got an offer to do it...

Continuing on... Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. (I did NOT have a 1-inch overhang. Oops?) Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Gotta keep the fats cold!

Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Using thumb and forefinger, flute edge of dough. (Fun part!) Refrigerate dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.

Remove pie pan from refrigerator, line crust with foil, and fill with pie weights or pennies. (Why would I use dirty coins around something I'm going to eat?? Yeah I know there's the tin foil but still... Wouldn't the penny smell at least blend in somehow?)

Bake on rimmed baking sheet 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights, rotate plate, and bake 5 to 10 additional minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp. I did the full 10. When I removed the pie plate and baking sheet from the oven, the crust was super puffy, which I don't think is desirable. Next time I'm going to leave the pie weights and foil on and bake for 20 mins - then remove and bake for only 5 mins uncovered.

When the pie shell was baking, I combined the pumpkin puree, yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in large heavy-bottomed saucepan. While that came to a boil, I whisked the cream, milk, eggs, yolks, and vanilla together in a medium bowl.

The truth is that I might have left the saucepan contents at a "sputtering simmer over medium heat" for more than the recommended 5 to 7 minutes. While it simmered, I stirred constantly and mashed the yams against the sides of the pot. The goal was to wait until it was thick and shiny (10 to 15 minutes) but I don't think it ever quiiiite got there...

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 spatula to press solids through strainer. Rewhisk mixture and transfer to warm prebaked pie shell.

Return pie plate with baking sheet to oven and bake pie for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300°F and continue baking until edges of pie are set, 20 to 35 minutes longer. I kept it in for the full 35.

This is what I thought the pie was going to look like when I took it out of the oven! Luckily it wasn't quite so devilish! I let it cool overnight, covered. The pie didn't get as much love as these gluten free pumpkin mini cupcakes, with an AMAZINGGG creamy cranberry macadamia goat cheese frosting.

Our potluck was a success!

We played games afterwards... Gotta love team bonding!


HAHA peg leg!


  1. Hi, First of all, congratulations for your blog!
    I have just created a Club for cupcakes lovers :
    and I was wondering if you would like to share with us a recipe of your best cupcakes (I would put a link of your blog of course!) If you are interested, please have a look at the website, in the recipe section.
    Have a nice day!

  2. Hi

    Just came across your blog while googlin for recipes. I'm in a mild shock right now. I think we work at the same facility. I saw you a few times at the gym... What a cool blog!!! Really detailed recipes and great pictures!! How on earth do you find time to cook like this and still be so adventurous?!?!