This has been a long time coming. I am not sure why I haven’t done this before.
I am talking about the side-by-side comparison of pumpkin pies. One made from the Sugar Pie Pumpkin and one made from my kids carved halloween pumpkins.
Typically I simply use what I have, which is the big ol’ leftover jack-o-lantern. Unless of course it has frozen and thawed, and frozen and thawed over and over again due to sitting on the front porch – don’t use it then, just throw it to the chickens or the garbage as the case may be.
But I have, on occasion, purchased the little sugar pie pumpkins to make pies out of. We never could figure out if there was truly a difference between them, the jack-o-lantern pies were super tasty as well. So what’s all the fuss about? We wondered.
Well I have finally settled it.
Last night as I was waiting for some potatoes to roast in the oven for dinner, I decided it was time to make a couple pies. So I whipped up a pie crust, which was very nearly a disaster because I was chatting with my oldest son and didn’t pay attention to how much flour I had scooped into the bowl. I thought I was short a scoop, he thought I had put one too many in. Turns out he’s every bit as sharp as I have always thought he was. I had put too much flour in and had to make some adjustments. But it all turned out fine in the end and we ate dinner a few minutes later than planned so I could get these pies in the oven.
Later after the kids were all tucked in to their cozy little beds, the hubby and I sat down to our taste testing.
Quite joyfully, I might add. We both love pumpkin pie.
With that, here are our observations:
COLOR: The Sugar Pie Pumpkin is darker and richer in color than the Jack-O-Lantern. I would say more of a ‘classic’ pumpkin color. The Jack-O-Lantern is paler, more of a golden color. Who cares about color you might wonder…a food photographer and my mother-in-law ;b (Hi Dana!)
FLAVOR: There is a huge difference in the flavor of the two pumpkins. The Sugar Pie Pumpkin had a much deeper pumpkin flavor and, in my opinion, more ahem…squashy tasting. This would be the pumpkin for the pumpkin lover, for a person who loves squash and everything about squash. To be honest, I DID really like it, but I felt I needed whipped cream with this one (for the sake of getting the true flavor of the pies we went without whipped cream).
The Jack-O-Lantern pie tasted much less pumpkiny (that is a word in my personal dictionary and my computer has underlined it red and I am noting it but ignoring), in which case the flavor of the cinnamon I put in really came out. It tasted like I had added about twice the cinnamon, when I, in fact, did not. Thankfully though, it is not overwhelmingly cinnamon-y and I did NOT feel the need to add whipped cream (any more than I normally feel the need to add whipped cream to any dessert).
TEXTURE: Shockingly, we could find almost no difference in the texture. During the making of the pies I thought for sure there would be a huge difference in the texture since the Sugar Pie Pumpkin purée was much thicker and smoother than the Jack-O-Lantern, which was rather watery and thin by comparison and just didn’t seem as smooth. But while eating it we were really trying to find a difference in the texture and at one point tried to say the Sugar Pie Pumpkin was more pudding like, but after taking another bite of the Jack-O-Lantern pie we decided they were the same, this was while they were still warm and fresh out of the oven. This morning, obviously, I performed the taste test again. The pies now being room temperature (at our house that means cold since we put the thermostat way low at night), and the Sugar Pie Pumpkin one is slightly denser and sticks to your mouth a tad bit where the Jack-O-Lantern pie is slightly lighter.
OVERALL: I think it would be a matter of personal preference whether you use a Sugar Pie Pumpkin or one of large cheap pumpkins, the only real difference being the taste and very slight difference in texture once cooled. They both truly taste wonderful though and if you have never had fresh pumpkin pie and are used the pies made from canned pumpkin you will be blown away by either one.
The large pumpkins usually are difficult to find after Halloween which could be a deciding factor for many. The Sugar Pie Pumpkins you can get in the stores until Thanksgiving or you can go to your local farmer and therefor sometimes organic (yay!) or Winter Farmers Market if your area has one, to buy them which of course a great way to get some really yummy pumpkins.
So there you go, my personal account of the side-by-side comparison of pumpkin pie made from two different varieties of pumpkins.