Julia Child Just Taught Me the Secret to Impossibly Creamy Pumpkin Pie

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Credit: Pie Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell; Inset photo: Bachrach/Getty Images

There are a batch of ways to picture a pumpkin pastry — spice-filled, custard-y, saccharine — but fluffy isn’t usually 1 of them. So erstwhile I saw that Julia Child‘s type is called Aunt Helen’s Fluffy Pumpkin Pie, I was intrigued. Would I bask a mousse-like, air-filled pastry filling, aliases would I miss nan creamy and dense filling that I’ve grown utilized to?

But Julia Child taught maine really to poach cleanable eggs, whip up mayonnaise by hand, and to not beryllium acrophobic of butter, truthful I had nary uncertainty she could thatch maine really to make nan champion pumpkin pastry (and a fluffy one, astatine that). I headed to nan room to spot if I was right.

Get nan recipe: Julia Child’s Aunt Helen’s Fluffy Pumpkin Pie (you’ll find nan look towards nan extremity of nan article)

How to Make Julia Child’s Fluffy Pumpkin Pie

Julia’s look yields 2 9-inch pies aliases 1 11-inch pie, truthful if you’re moving pinch a 9-inch pastry crockery (the modular size), and you only request 1 pie, you’ll request to halve nan recipe. Luckily, nan constituent amounts make that beautiful easy to do. Julia’s look doesn’t see instructions for a crust, truthful commencement by making it yourself aliases buying one, past rotation it retired into your pastry plate.

For nan filling, you’ll commencement by separating nan ovum yolks from nan whites. Then you’ll spot canned pumpkin, brownish and achromatic sugars, salt, molasses, a scatter of bourbon aliases acheronian rum, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, ovum yolks, dense cream, and full beverage successful a guidelines mixer, blender, aliases ample vessel and operation good until soft and combined.

Here’s wherever things get interesting.You’ll whip nan ovum whites successful a vessel pinch a spot of sweetener and brackish until stiff peaks form, operation a 4th of nan whipped whites into nan pumpkin filling, past mildly fold successful nan rest. The filling gets ladled into nan unbaked pastry ammunition and baked astatine 450°F for 10 to 15 minutes until nan crust starts to brown. Then nan somesthesia is reduced to 375°F and nan pastry is baked for different half hr until nan filling is set. When nan pastry is done, alternatively than removing it from nan oven consecutive away, you’ll move nan oven disconnected but time off nan pastry wrong for different half hour. Julia says this prevents nan filling from becoming watery. The pastry tin past beryllium served lukewarm aliases cooled wholly earlier slicing.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

My Honest Review of Julia Child’s Fluffy Pumpkin Pie

There are a fewer things astir this pastry that instantly stood retired to me, moreover earlier I sliced into it. Julia uses molasses successful nan filling, which isn’t common, and she besides spikes it pinch bourbon. She besides asks you to abstracted nan eggs (and past whip nan ovum whites) alternatively than whisking full eggs into nan filling. As I was making nan pie, I kept thinking, this point will person to beryllium delicious for these other steps to beryllium worthy it.

It was. This is simply a high-effort, high-reward pumpkin pie. To beryllium honest, nan spirit of nan filling amazed maine astatine first. The molasses and bourbon (or acheronian rum, if you truthful choose) are prominent, giving it robust, mildly steaming characteristics. Yet it’s still afloat of each nan classical lukewarm spices — cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves — truthful it’s not acold disconnected from nan classical pumpkin pies you cognize and love. Each wound is complex, and amended than nan last.

The texture, though, is really wherever this pastry shines. The added measurement of whipping nan ovum whites results successful a pumpkin pastry that is so fluffy. It’s truthful light, it’s almost soufflé-like. It’s a smart method I could spot applying to different pumpkin pastry recipes, successful bid to make a pastry that’s not excessively dense and dense aft a large meal.

If You’re Making Julia’s Pumpkin Pie, a Few Tips

  1. Play pinch nan flavorings. For some, nan molasses and booze mightiness beryllium excessively strong, which is nan only logic this pastry isn’t getting a cleanable score. Julia says nan intoxicant is optional, and I do deliberation nan filling would still beryllium analyzable without it. The molasses really does make it guidelines out, but I do deliberation you could usage little — possibly conscionable a drizzle alternatively of nan afloat amount.
  2. Whip nan ovum whites to stiff peaks. My limb started to get tired erstwhile I hand-whipped nan ovum whites and I almost gave up earlier stiff peaks formed. I’m gladsome I didn’t, because nan lofty whites made for a ace ray and fluffy pie! I utilized my guidelines mixer to operation nan remainder of nan filling, which is why I hand-whipped nan whites. Next time, I’d reserve nan guidelines mixer for whipping nan whites to make it easier connected myself and harvester nan different ingredients successful a vessel by hand.