Recipe Review

My Honest Review of Ina Garten’s Rule-Breaking “Ultimate” Pumpkin Pie

published Oct 30, 2019
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

When it comes to holiday classics, Ina Garten is a pro — so I had no doubt she’d be able to whip up a seriously good pumpkin pie. Although she doesn’t often stray from traditional flavors, her pumpkin pie recipe is actually pretty unique. The classic warm spices — cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg — are there, but what makes Ina’s recipe special is the addition of orange zest and dark rum. I very much trusted that Ina knew what she was doing, and that these could be the secret ingredients that turn the pumpkin pie skeptics at my Thanksgiving table into believers. I took to the kitchen to find out.

Get the recipe: Ina Garten’s Ultimate Pumpkin Pie

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

How to Make Ina Garten’s Ultimate Pumpkin Pie

You’ll begin by making Ina’s pie crust recipe, which is a combination of flour, butter, vegetable shortening, and ice water. You’ll roll the crust out to fit a pie dish and par-bake it for 20 minutes until lightly browned.

While the crust is cooling, you’ll make the filling by whisking together canned pumpkin purée, brown and white sugars, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, freshly grated orange zest, eggs, heavy cream, whole milk, and a generous splash of dark rum. You’ll pour the filling into the crust and bake until just set. Then you’ll allow it to cool completely before serving it with Ina’s suggested rum-spiked whipped cream or regular whipped cream.

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

My Honest Review of Ina Garten’s Pumpkin Pie

I had high hopes for Ina’s pumpkin pie, but ultimately, the flavors didn’t work for me. The orange zest overpowered the warm baking spices and I found I just wasn’t a huge fan of citrus and pumpkin together. This pie was also quite boozy, especially if you opt for the rum-spiked whipped cream (I did). All that rum wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it definitely makes for pie that’s more adult- than kid-friendly. The texture was great, however, despite the pie cracking in the center after cooling. It was perfectly creamy and just dense enough without being overly rich or heavy.

Since I didn’t love the enhancements Ina made to classic pumpkin pie, this is probably not a recipe I’ll be making again. That’s not to say it’s not a delicious pie — it’s just not the pie for me.

Credit: Sheela Prakash

If You’re Making Ina’s Pumpkin Pie, A Few Tips

1. Feel free to use you favorite pie crust recipe. While Ina suggests using her pie crust recipe (and if you don’t mind using shortening, go for it), I personally prefer an all-butter crust, so I’d opt for that if I made it again. You could also use a store-bought crust.

2. Tinker with the flavorings if you’d like. I personally would use less orange zest and rum, and possibly even swap the rum for bourbon, as I prefer the flavor of the latter. To keep it kid-friendly, you could easily leave out the alcohol and serve it with plain whipped cream.

3. You can adapt if you don’t have a 11-inch pie dish. Ina calls for using an 11-inch pie dish, which is not the most common size. You can bake it in a standard 9-inch dish, but you’ll have extra filling. Pour the excess into ramekins and bake them for mini crustless pies! Or opt for a deep-dish 9-inch pie dish to ensure the filling won’t overflow.

Rating: 7/10

Have you ever made Ina Garten’s Pumpkin Pie? Tell us what you thought! 

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

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