Extra touch of spice: Carnation’s famous pumpkin pie
Why use evaporated milk in pumpkin pie?
Have you ever wondered… why use evaporated milk in pumpkin pie instead of cream — or even just regular milk?
Evaporated milk, as is used in this recipe for Carnation’s famous pumpkin pie, is a shelf-stable product with over 50% of the water removed, which intensifies its flavor and natural sweetness (no sugar is added — that would be sweetened condensed milk).
It’s thicker than milk — in fact, it can be whipped like heavy cream — but it is significantly lower in fat, which makes it a useful lower-calorie alternative to heavy whipping cream (admittedly, a concern that probably isn’t top of your mind at this precise moment).
Libby’s influence on Carnation’s famous pumpkin pie — and pumpkin pie culture, in general
When Libby’s first launched their canned pumpkin puree product in the late 1920s, the recipe they published on the label called for using just regular milk.
In the 50s, however, Libby’s adjusted the recipe to swap in evaporated milk instead of regular milk. When evaporated milk is reconstituted with water, it becomes the equivalent of the regular milk we drink — which makes it useful as a pantry staple: you don’t ever need to run out of milk!
But Libby’s was on a quest to further decrease the water content in their recipe, which is why it calls for evaporated milk measured straight out of the can, undiluted.
This recipe adjustment reduced both the moisture in the pumpkin pie filling and the baking time, as well as enhancing the dairy flavor — overall improving its texture and taste.
Now you know…
Since Libby’s fabled pumpkin pie recipe is THE recipe that has defined for nearly 100 years what homemade pumpkin pie is even supposed to be (including its influence on Carnation’s also iconic recipe, as featured below) that, my friends, is why most of us will be putting evaporated milk on our holiday shopping lists this fall.
Note: Carnation’s famous pumpkin pie recipe is roughly the same as Libby’s — more sugar and evaporated milk, plus the addition of nutmeg and allspice to the spice mix. – BB
Carnation’s famous pumpkin pie: The traditional pumpkin pie is still the best
Pumpkin pie remains a seasonal dessert, even though few of us make it with fresh pumpkin any more, and the canned product is available the year around. Somehow we associate it with harvest time, November and Thanksgiving. Somehow it tastes best in this season!
No cook has ever been able to improve upon the taste of pumpkin pie as made in the traditional way. Many have tried.
Even the chiffon and frozen versions aren’t as good as good old pumpkin custard pie, the kind great-grandma, grandma, and ma made, the Thanksgiving dessert that is a favorite and best of all!
The kinds and proportions of spices may vary a little, and one cook may prefer evaporated milk to milk or cream for her pie.
Another may make it with brown sugar instead of white, and the amount of pumpkin is variable, too.
The trimmings — whipped cream or candied ginger or cheese — don’t matter much. But let pumpkin pie be pumpkin pie, I say!
A helpful trick to avoid spilling the uncooked filling as you carry the pie to the oven is this: Don’t fill the crust full before you put it in the oven. – Mary Meade, Chicago Tribune
ALSO SEE: 8 ways to make pumpkin spice mix at home
Carnation’s famous pumpkin pie recipe
The sure way to a cream-smooth pumpkin pie…
The secret is today’s Carnation…
the milk you can use like cream with 1/2 the fat calories
See the smooth-as-cream texture! Ordinary milk can’t do it — it takes today’s Carnation, the milk that looks, cooks and even whips like cream. Yet it has half the calories of cream! An exclusive method of evaporation removes the water slowly and gives Carnation the consistency of cream — with far less fat calories! Try it — for a failure-proof pumpkin pie as smooth as if you’d made it with cream itself.
Carnation’s famous pumpkin pie retro recipe card (1950s)
DON’T MISS THIS: Classic pumpkin pie recipes: The ultimate collection