A graphic shows how pumpkin pie looks when you mess up the recipe

A graphic shows how pumpkin pie looks when you mess up the recipe
Insider
A graphic shows how pumpkin pie looks when you mess up the recipe
Each of my eight pumpkin pies and the mistakes that made them.Rachel Askinasi/Insider
  • In a recent experiment, I made eight mistakes while baking pumpkin pie from scratch.
  • As a result, I created different versions of the seasonal dessert that each had their own texture.
  • For example, I found that adding extra eggs made a pie with a cakier texture while leaving out eggs altogether made pumpkin-pie soup.
  • The side-by-side images show how each mistake changed the appearance and texture of the pies.

The leaves are changing and the scent of pumpkin spice has become unavoidable in coffee shops and bakeries alike. One of the most iconic pumpkin treats is undoubtedly the humble pumpkin pie.

I've now made hundreds of chocolate-chip cookies, brownies, banana-bread loaves, pancakes, scrambled eggs, and more goodies all in the name of finding out how common mistakes will affect each food. So in my first attempt to make pumpkin pie from scratch, I used one recipe and made eight common mistakes to see how each one would affect the taste and texture of the pie.

Mistakes included:
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    • Using too much sugar;
    • Using too little sugar;
    • Using double the number of eggs;
    • Leaving out eggs completely;
    • Using too much evaporated milk;
    • Leaving out evaporated milk completely;
    • Mistaking sweetened condensed milk for evaporated milk;
    • Using pumpkin-pie spice instead of the called-for spice combination.
Here's how the pies turned out with each of those missteps (you can click on the image below to make it larger):
A graphic shows how pumpkin pie looks when you mess up the recipe
Each of my eight pumpkin pies and the mistakes that made them.Rachel Askinasi/Insider

The Libby's recipe I used — it's worth noting that this recipe called for canned rather than fresh pumpkin — yielded one 9-inch pie. To reduce waste and be able to share the abundance of pumpkin pie I was left with, I halved the recipe and used Keebler's miniature pie crusts instead of traditional large crusts. I ended up with 84 miniature pies — most of which I was able to give away, but there are still too many in my freezer.

I was also happy not to waste any pie at the expense of simply bad taste. Somehow, none of the mistakes I made actually ruined the flavor of the pies, which was a huge win in my book!
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A graphic shows how pumpkin pie looks when you mess up the recipe
Adding too much or too little of an ingredient can make a big difference in texture.Rachel Askinasi/Insider

There were some mistakes — like using condensed milk or too much evaporated milk — that created a less-than-desirable layer of film on top of the pies. I also found that the number of eggs you use can have the biggest impact on the texture of your pie filling.

I was most pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the pie made without any milk. It was darker and looked a bit clunky, but the flavor and texture were spot-on. What I came away from this experiment with (aside from a lifetime supply of fall dessert) is an understanding of how hard it really is to mess up a pumpkin pie.
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Read the full story to find out how every pie tasted here

Insider has more baking experiments like this in the works. Send suggestions for baked goods you would like to see us try to raskinasi@insider.com.

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