Pumpkin Pies: Fresh vs Canned

We here at Nerd Absurd believe in science.  Yes.  That’s right.  Good, old-fashioned science.  Last week, the guys challenged the notion that pumpkin pie made from a fresh pumpkin tastes as good as the stuff from a can.  So, we decided to test that theory with a blind tasting.

We started with baking a fresh pumpkin.  Here is the poor pumpkin going into the oven.  (It baked at 350 degrees for about 90 minutes, just in case you’re wondering.)

Here is the poor pumpkin coming out of the oven. It doesn’t look all that different except for the color.  However, if you do it at home, you’ll notice that it gets really, really soft when it comes out of the oven.  You can almost cut it with a butter knife.

…And here are the pumpkin’s guts (sort of) splayed out across my kitchen counter.

I scooped out the seeds and then tossed the meat into a bowl.  The skin I also discarded.  Then I got down to the dirty work of mixing up the filling for the pies.  For the canned pie, I used Libby’s pumpkin pie mix.  You basically add sugar, condensed milk, some spices, and a few eggs.  It’s about as simple as they get.  No mixer or beater required.  Just grab a whisk and go to town.

For the fresh pumpkin, the routine is about the same.  I used a food processor since I’m lazy and didn’t want to mash the pumpkin by hand.  Plus, my mixing bowl was dirty from making the other pie.  I followed almost the exact same recipe except that I added in brown sugar instead of all white sugar.  I also added a bit more spice since the Libby’s mix contains spice of its own.

Here are the two pies going into the oven.

Can you tell which is which?

How about now? (I didn’t have the self-control to take a picture BEFORE cutting the pies.  Isn’t that sad?)

Here are the plates for the blind taste testing.  It’s difficult to tell from this photo, but the difference in color was pretty obvious.  The canned pie was a darker, richer orange whereas the fresh pie was a slightly more pale color.  No biggie, right? The tasters (AKA Nick, Mike, and Andrew) picked up on the difference right away.  There was no fooling them, and they quickly established their favorite in the taste test.

As much as we hardworking, homemade Puritans hate to admit it, the canned pumpkin pie was the best.  Although it was definitely close, the canned pie emerged victorious.  If you don’t believe me, here’s the image that tells all.  Two pie pans remained in the end.  Only one had pie left in it.

You guessed it.  The fresh pumpkin pie was the sole remaining leftover from our blind taste test.  You win, Libby’s Pumpkin Pie.  We’ll be using your filling from now on!

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