Pumping up Pumpkin Pie

Pumping up Pumpkin Pie

✿ My postdoctoral advisor, Carolyn Slayman, could strike fear into us by the deceptively mild statement..”Wouldn’t it be nice..?” We all knew what that meant. At least another couple of months of experiments, if we were lucky. Twenty years later, I will confess to pumping up science. Just when my lab folk think they have a story neatly wrapped up, topped with a colorful title and shiny journal to target, I have no qualms in raising the bar on expectations up another notch. It’s the same with recipes. Who can resist the urge to dress up a nice but bland sauce, sneak in more spices or fiddle with the fixings? So when a collection of 50 canned pumpkin recipes came my way, I considered it only the start of a culinary excursion.

✿ Take for example, the Pumpkin Alfredo sauce: whisk together a cup each of pumpkin puree and light cream, season with salt, pepper and grated nutmeg, and heat through. Nice, but surely there’s more? It needed some tang: in went a quick puree of sundried tomatoes in olive oil, with a sparse bunch of rosemary and sage scavenged from my fast fading fall garden. The little specks of deep red and bright green were a lovely addition. What, no vegetables? I folded in roasted florets of cauliflower to the penne with the pumpkin sauce. Topped it with crushed red pepper and parmesan cheese. Next time, I might try layering the pumpkin cream with no boil lasagne, fresh mozzarella and something yet to be determined. Consumed before digital capture, this one is worth repeating.

✿ Now that I was on a pumpkin quest, pie loomed on the next horizon. I am not a pie person, however. So I settled for prudence and a recipe on the can of Libby’s pumpkin puree. It sounded easy enough, besides it’s been on the label since 1950! I used my trusty crusty Graham Cracker base and decorated the top with walnut bits and pecan halves (to dress up the wound I made when I tested for doneness!). Although my prudence was rewarded with a perfectly pleasing pumpkin pie, I have a hankering to veer from the straight and narrow next time. Do you have suggestions to pump up my pumpkin pie? How about adding a dash of smoked paprika? Chocolate in the base? 

Recipe: https://madamescientist.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/pumping-up-pumpkin-pie/

50 canned pumpkin recipes: http://goo.gl/Trmr4J

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72 Responses to Pumping up Pumpkin Pie

  1. cheryl mann says:


    that looks like pure sin!  but worth completely worth it!!!

  2. E.E. Giorgi says:


    oooh, that looks so delicious, besides being so beautiful!


    I have to say, my Italian genes cringed a little at the words “pumpkin alfredo sauce,” but now that I’ve read on I’m quite intrigued…. hmmm, I’ll have to try it… 🙂

  3. Rajini Rao says:


    LOL, thanks guys! Sorry about the transgression, E.E. Giorgi  😛


    I can see the pumpkin take the place of butternut squash lasagne. 

  4. Rajini Rao says:


    Cheryl Mann , my first time making pumpkin pie 🙂

  5. Rama Drama says:


    Looks like someone went nuts over that Pumpkin recipe book 🙂 They look pumped up. I need to go get some real ones as watching these pictures don’t help the stomach Rajini Rao 🙂

  6. Rajini Rao says:


    Yes, but are they pumped up enough Rama Drama ? I did think to try the conventional version first before experimenting further. 🙂


  7. There is science, and then there is cooking.  Nice adventure.


  8. Rajini Rao lovely looking pumpkin pie!  I like to make mine with cream cheese added – kind of like a cross between pumpkin pie and cheesecake!  I also like to fold in chopped candied ginger to the filling

  9. mary Zeman says:


    make a pumpkin chiffon pie!  light and fluffy….. very 50’s.  my in-laws REQUIRE it for thanksgiving.  no regular pumpkin pie for them!


  10. I love the way the walnuts and pecans look on the pie (and I also like pecans and walnuts!)

  11. Rajini Rao says:


    mary Zeman , so..whipped up with egg whites or cream to make them fluffeh? 

  12. mary Zeman says:


    Rajini Rao  you make a custard in a double boiler – then whip in egg whites.  served cold!

  13. mary Zeman says:


    remind me tomorrow and I will dig up the old recipe card.

  14. Rajini Rao says:


    Good ideas, thanks Janice Mansfield . I’m a pie novice (spend so much energy cooking the spicy stuff that by the time I’ve got to dessert, I’m pooped).


  15. Lots of things can be added ( If your cake is not a grow soup)Whether it is not, the Sailor theorem about cooking should be useful:


    It works  not in Take this and… but in In case you have… 


    ( choice any thing eddible and mix it, eat it cooked or  crude, and in the extreme, alive )


     

  16. Rama Drama says:


    Fortunately there are still certain things you can’t judge by looking on the Internet..atleast not yet..as the Star Trek teleportation technique is not yet mastered..else I would have called Scottie to flick that pumpkin by now through the warp hole 🙂 They do look very colorful Rajini Rao 🙂

  17. Rajini Rao says:


    Chryle Elieff , well the recipe did say to poke with a knife to test for done-ness. Of course I poked twice because one has to do this in duplicate at the very least. The gashes looked so sad on that smooth shiny surface that I dressed them up with nuts. Put it back into the oven so the nuts got toasted. 

  18. Rajini Rao says:


    Alfonso Ramirez , philosophical cook 🙂

  19. Paul Eddy says:


    Seems everyone is stuck on the pie but me. I am all over the Pumpkin Alfredo.  Have to see if I can sell that to the kids.

  20. Rajini Rao says:


    Paul Eddy , same here. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth myself 🙂


  21. Rajini Rao that looks delicious. Please send me a piece of that pie.

  22. Rajini Rao says:


    Lucky that I saved a piece for you, Susana M. 🙂

  23. Rajini Rao says:


    Tom Willingham , thanks! The kids would love the pudding pie version. I didn’t have any powdered ginger on hand but I’d like to try it next time. 


  24. I’m with Paul Eddy, definitely gotta try the pumpkin alfredo.

  25. Rajini Rao says:


    Steve Esterly , really easy and a no-brainer as a creamy sauce. Let me know if you “dress it up” too. 

  26. Terry McNeil says:


    Rajini Rao Your pumpkin pie turned out beautifully!!!  I would highly recommend pumpkin and chocolate!!   You could try some chili with it as chocolate and chili are a classic combo. 🙂

  27. Rajini Rao says:


    Terry McNeil , my instincts said chili but I’ve not tasted it myself. Good to know that I was not too off base. Chili chocolate bars are great 🙂

  28. Terry McNeil says:


    Rajini Rao Trust your instincts!!! 🙂

  29. Jim Carver says:


    Squash the squash. I like summer squash as a vegetable. I never could get into eating that punkin’ pie though. I know it’s good for you but I just don’t like the taste.


    Make mine blueberry or chocolate. Sorry, that’s just one of those old-fashioned Southern thangs that I don’t really care for.  Having grown up in the South…anybody want some pecan pralines? 🙂

  30. Terry McNeil says:


    Jim Carver you can use butternut in place of pumpkin.  If you like butternut squash. 🙂

  31. Anne Lewis says:


    That looks more like pumpkin custard.


    Back when my hubby and I were “just friends” he promised to make me 2 pumpkin cheesecakes if I bought the Springform pan.


    I did and he did then we did.


    Come to think of it I believe (almost 28 years on) I’m still waiting for my 2nd cheesecake.

  32. Rajini Rao says:


    Ooh, I sense a cheesecake “date” coming up, Anne Lewis 🙂


  33. Well it appears you have received many good suggestions, so I have nothing to add. However, can you tell me, Dr. Rao, what do you get when you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter?

  34. Angelyn Love says:


    lol, why did I scroll onto to this picture?  I am starting to workout again and seeing this delicious dessert….ugh.

  35. Rajini Rao says:


    A (pumpkin) pi, of course! Vincent Peralta 🙂

  36. Zee L says:


    would love to have a slice 😀

  37. Rajini Rao says:


    Come and visit, Zee L  🙂


    Thanks, William McGarvey !

  38. Zee L says:


    Will definitely take that offer one of these days 🙂

  39. Gary Ray R says:


    Rajini Rao 


    Only a scientist would come up with such a great bit of cooking pi, and then say they are a novice.  I don’t think so. 


    Nice one.  


    If you are a foodie,  I might suggest a subscription to Cooks Illustrated, great recipe science.


    I like the story of how you run your lab.

  40. Rajini Rao says:


    I’m definitely a foodie, Gary Ray R . Will check out Cooks Illustrated, thanks!  🙂


  41. Looks yummy Rajini Rao!


  42. sounds to me like you have a very well-developed palate and imagination! my mouth was watering reading about the pumpkin pasta. I’m sure you will come up with a wonderful way to enhance your pumpkin pie. Perhaps a thin layer of chocolate between the crust and pie?

  43. Azlin Bloor says:


    Wasabi? Great first experiment, Rajini, love your perfectly turned out pumpkin pie!

  44. Urvish Shah says:


    Hm vegii ir non vegiee?? Dr

  45. Rajini Rao says:


    Urvish Shah , it has eggs but no meat. Nearly all veggie 🙂

  46. Urvish Shah says:


    Nope mam..i need pure vegiiee.no eggs toooo

  47. Urvish Shah says:


    By the wayyy thnks for response too miss Raoooo.

  48. Rajini Rao says:


    Next time, no eggs Urvish Shah 🙂

  49. ROBERT OBARE says:


    I want  to  believe   you  are  an  inventor  Rajini  now  make  me  soya  milk.

  50. Kawthar A says:


    OMG Rajini!!! you are killing me!!!

  51. Rajini Rao says:


    Saved you a piece, Kawthar A 😀

  52. Kawthar A says:


    Yes ..I need it badly, and please make it a big one  😀


  53. I am going to try that Pumpkin Alfredo sauce…3 small pumpkins in the slow cooker as I type for the puree.

  54. Mike Kupfer says:


    A few years ago my wife and I found a recipe for a butternut squash pie–basically steamed squash, tofu, and seasonings.  We cut back the sugar and now use the recipe for an entree.  Pie for dinner, anyone?

  55. Rajini Rao says:


    Mike Kupfer , so is it a savory pie? Do you recall the seasonings? 

  56. Mike Kupfer says:


    Rajini Rao, it’s still a little sweet. The seasonings that we use for 1lb pureed squash are


    1T agar flakes


    14 oz firm tofu, cubed


    1/2C sugar


    1/3C nut butter (we use almond; the original recipe calls for pecan or hazelnut)


    2t vanilla (original recipe calls for 5t)


    1t cinnamon (original recipe calls for 1T)


    1/2t coriander (original recipe calls for 2T)


    1/4t nutmeg (original recipe calls for 1t)


    1/2t cardamom


    1/8t ground cloves (original recipe calls for 1/4t)


    1t salt


    The agar flakes are to give the pie body.  If you’ve never used agar, there are some tricks, which I don’t have time at the moment to write up (about to leave for a business trip). I can follow up later if you like.


    And to give credit where credit is due, the original recipe is Pumpkin Mousse, page 230 of Eco-Cuisine by Ron Pickarski.

  57. Rajini Rao says:


    Many thanks, Mike Kupfer . I will have fun experimenting with this. 


  58. Rajini Rao for a quick, delicious Indo-Greek pumpkin soup, mix in caramelized onions with a bit of cumin & chili and some nice full fat yoghurt.  Call it “Pumpkin soup a la Rajitri”


  59. Pumpkin pie is my favorite pie (but rarely gets it as it is a difficult thing to make). And this ones are beautiful too. 


  60. At home, I make the puree, and Pat does the pie! We don’t get puree in the market of course.

  61. Rajini Rao says:


    Yes, we are spoiled by how easy and fresh the canned pumpkin puree is in the US. 


  62. Rajini Rao I even make cream cheese from scratch (for cheese cake. Although available now, it costs only a third to make). When I first Made it, even the recipe wasn’t available on Google search (Lots of versions have appeared after I blogged about it)

  63. Rajini Rao says:


    Sounds good, you should post recipe Able Lawrence !

  64. Hit. Solanki says:


    I lake will check out cooks so sweet

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