Nothing beats the taste and feel of pumpkin pie in the cold months of winter. The creamy, winter-spice-seasoned filling that tops a flaky, crispy crust can often make you crave those pies.
So, you walk into the kitchen, follow the exact recipe, and end up baking a soggy pumpkin pie. What should you do?
This post will walk you through five simple tips on how to keep your crust from getting soggy. Let’s dive right in!
You’ve probably heard about blind baking at some point in your baking journey. Basically, a blind bake is partially or fully cooking the pie crust before filling it, but why?
That’s because baking seals the pie crust surface. As a result, the moisture from fillings won’t leak into the pie, making the bottom crust wet.
So, blind baking helps you achieve that nice contrast between a flaky, crisp crust and a soft pumpkin filling.
Now that you know what blind baking is, it’s time to throw the pumpkin pie crust in the oven. However, you should consider the following tips to ensure a crispy bottom crust:
Metal pans are your go-to option for a crispy pie crust. Sure, glass and ceramic will also get the job done, but metal pans conduct heat better. So, they’re your best option for a brown crust.
Plus, metal baking trays result in a neat-looking crust thanks to their ability to hold onto the pie dough, unlike glass pans.
Ceramic baking trays, on the flip side, take a while to heat, extending the crust’s cooking time.
Cooling the pie dough at least for 30 minutes before baking makes all the difference in the crust. That’s because refrigerating the rolled-out dough hardens the butter.
Consequently, the pie maintains its structure during baking. Plus, cold butter makes the crust flaky and crispy.
As the hard butter chunks melt in the oven, they create steam between the dough layers. That steam puffs the dough and helps you achieve the desired crispy, flaky crust.
Placing the crust on the bottom rack gives the dough an immediate burst of high heat needed for baking.
Additionally, make sure to preheat the oven. That way, you ensure the pie sets quickly without letting the butter escape and leaven the crust.
If you want to go the extra mile, place the tart pan onto a hot baking sheet and then into the oven.
Again, this has to do with the blast of heat that sets the pie crust. As a result, the pumpkin filling doesn’t overcook, releasing its liquids to give you a soggy, doughy pumpkin pie mess.
All you have to do is heat aluminum foil or a backing sheet for about 15 minutes at 425ºF. Then, place the pan on the sheet and throw them in the oven.
Usually, you need to prick pie crusts to allow steam to escape.
Without the poking, the steam would puff up some parts of the dough. Not only will that result in an uneven pie bottom, but it’ll also cause some crust parts to cook quicker than others.
So, why skip the fork-pricking when it comes to pumpkin pie?
Because those little holes allow room for the liquids to seep into the pie, making the crust base soggy.
Instead, before blind-baking, place parchment paper on top of the crust. Then, fill the paper with dry beans or anything to weigh the crust down.
Make sure to reach the sides as well to stop them from shrinking.
You can coat the pie’s base to create a barrier to prevent the filling liquids from wetting the crust.
Egg wash is probably the simplest barrier you can use. All you need to do is brush the crust’s surface and bake it before adding the filling.
You can also brush warm corn syrup to seal the pie crust after blind-baking.
From there, you can get creative. For instance, you can add an underlayer of salted caramel or chocolate to make the pumpkin pie extra delicious!
As surprising as it sounds, canned pumpkin is better for pie filling than fresh puree. That’s because, during processing, the pumpkin loses some of its water content.
As a result, the canned puree isn’t too watery like the fresh fruit, so it reduces the chances of a soggy crust. However, if you’re all about fresh ingredients, all you need to do is roast the pumpkin.
After removing the seeds, place the pumpkin slices on a tray. Then, bake the slices at 350º to 400ºF for around 45 minutes.
Unlike boiling, roasting removes moisture from the pumpkins. Plus, it condenses the fruit’s natural flavors, adding value to the overall taste.
Additionally, you can add a thickening agent like cornstarch. That thickening agent holds the pumpkin filling together, preventing a soggy crust base.
Figuring out how to keep pumpkin pie crust from getting soggy can take your recipe to a new level. After all, a doughy pumpkin pie isn’t everyone’s taste.
Blind-baking and brushing a barrier on the surface is an excellent way to achieve a crispy crust base. Additionally, using grains to weigh down the dough instead of pricking prevents liquids from penetrating the crust and wetting it.
Using canned pumpkin puree is a plus. That’s because processed pumpkin has lower moisture content than fresh pumpkin.
Whichever recipe you follow, always chill the pastry dough, preheat the oven, and bake on the bottom rack. That way, you bake a flaky, crispy, golden-brown pie crust that you can savor on wintry nights!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.