Today we're going to bring up the one question you inevitably ask every year: Why does pumpkin pie crack? The answer, though simple, will leave you feeling like a new baker.
Baking seems to be one of those skills you have to be a natural at; otherwise, you'll end up with dull, crusted brownies, sunken yeast bread, or mushy cookies...eek! Now that the holidays are here, you're probably worried about your pumpkin pie cracking, like it did last year, and the year before that.
Make today the day you put your pumpkin pie worries behind you with this super simple trick to getting your pie to come out fully baked (read: not over-baked) and crack-free! What's the secret, you ask? Timing. Yes, ladies, a little bit of time management can surprisingly go a long way, especially when it comes to baking.
Why do pumpkin pies crack in the first place?
First of all, what makes pumpkin pie crack? Two major factors contribute to a cracked pumpkin pie — over-baking the pie or cooling it too quickly. Pumpkin pie contains eggs; this is the ingredient that makes the filling thick and yummy. As the eggs heat, they coagulate, transforming what was once a thick liquid into a creamy, semi-solid filling.
Eggs generally begin to turn solid at 160 degrees. The longer they cook, however, the more they tighten up — meaning that those cracks in your pie are the result of overcooked eggs. You'll probably notice cracks forming around the edge of the pie first, and this is because the edges cook faster than the interior.
(Photo Credit: Giphy)
Just because you've taken the pie out of the oven doesn't mean its stopped baking. This is because the filling's residual heat will continue to cook the eggs, which will ultimately crack your pie.
So, what do you do? It's simple, really. And, can be summed up in just a few words: Take it out of the oven before you think it's done. Not impressed with this solution? If you're still wondering how to bake pumpkin pie without cracking, here are a few foolproof precautionary measures you can take to keep your pumpkin pie looking clean and pristine.
Find a high-quality pumpkin pie recipe.
The first thing you'll need is a solid pumpkin pie recipe, and then you'll need to follow it to a tee. Recipes are published for a reason. What's that reason, you ask? Experienced recipe developers make a recipe over and over again before it's introduced to the world — which means if your recipe suggests taking the pie out after 45 minutes, you should do so, whether or not you think it looks done.
(Photo Credit: Giphy)
Bake your pie at the correct temperature.
This step is a simple one. Just make sure your oven is fully preheated at the accurate temperature before you shove your pie in there. Even the best recipe in the entire world won't work if your oven is cooler than it should be. An easy way to do this is to purchase an independent oven thermometer.
Try baking your pie on a lower oven rack.
We all want a nicely browned crust, but sometimes that means an overcooked pie. Because ovens tend to be hotter at the top, try placing your pie towards the bottom of the oven for an evenly-baked masterpiece. On the other hand, if you wanted to brown the top of a casserole, you'd place your dish on the top rack
Now that you're up-to-date on how to bake the perfect pumpkin pie, go out there and bake it!