Should You Make Pumpkin Pie With Evaporated or Sweetened Condensed Milk?

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Real talk: it's not really fall until you bake a pumpkin pie. The earthy, spice-infused dessert is a universal comfort food, perfect for chilly autumn nights or family get-togethers. But did you know that one ingredient can totally change the flavor and texture of your pie?

Both evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk serve as thickeners . When you bake the pumpkin pie, the heat from the oven extracts the juices from the filling, which can make your pie a runny mess. It's the job of the thickener to stop that from happening, so you can enjoy a mess-free (for the most part) dessert.

And while evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk both act as thickeners, the results differ. As the name suggests, sweetened condensed milk makes the pie sweeter and gives it a denser, creamier texture. Evaporated milk, on the other hand, yields a lighter, airier result.

Evaporated milk isn't sweetened either, which is why you can't simply swap one thickener for the other. So if you're about to start baking and realize you don't have the thickener your recipe calls for, it's better to use another one catered to the thickener you do have.

Luckily, we've got two right here. Happy baking!

Pumpkin Pie With Evaporated Milk

Yields: One 9" pie (8 servings)

Ingredients

  • One 9" pie crust, unbaked (buy it or make your own )
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • One (15 ounce) can plain pumpkin puree (buy it or make from scratch )
  • 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk

Instructions

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425 F.

2. Roll the pie dough so it's about 12" in diameter. Place it into the pie pan and crimp the edges. Keep the dough refrigerated while you prepare the filling.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. In a separate large bowl, beat the eggs. Then stir in the pumpkin and sugar-and-spice mixture.

4. Once the ingredients are well incorporated, stir in the evaporated milk.

Pro Tip

The milk may incorporate better if you add it gradually, so pour it into your mixture in three parts and mix after each addition.

5. Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell.

6. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350 F. Bake for an additional 40 to 50 minutes, or until you can insert a knife into the center and it comes out clean.

7. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature (this should take about 2 hours). Serve immediately or refrigerate. If you refrigerate, let the pie sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving (with whipped cream, if desired).


Pumpkin Pie With Sweetened Condensed Milk

Yield: One 9" pie (8 servings)

Ingredients

  • One 9" pie crust, unbaked (buy it or make your own )
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • One (15 ounce) can plain pumpkin puree (buy it or make from scratch )
  • One (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

Instructions

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425 F.

2. Roll the pie dough so it's about 12" in diameter. Place it into the pie pan and crimp the edges. Keep the dough refrigerated while you prepare the filling.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. In a separate large bowl, beat the eggs. Then stir in the pumpkin and spice mixture.

4. Once the ingredients are well incorporated, stir in the sweetened condensed milk.

Pro Tip

Incorporate the milk in three additions, mixing after each addition until the mixture is well combined.

5. Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell.

6. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350 F. Bake for an additional 40 to 45 minutes, or until you can insert a knife into the center and it comes out clean.

7. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate. If you refrigerate, let the pie sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving (with whipped cream, if desired).

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Should You Make Pumpkin Pie With Evaporated or Sweetened Condensed Milk?