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Julia Child’s Fluffy Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is a delight that most of us only have once or twice a year, and if you’re only going to have it a time or two, don’t you want it to be the very best version there is? Well, if there’s anyone we can trust to give us that version, it’s Julia Child. Her Fluffy Pumpkin Pie is as creamy and velvety as you could want it to be, but has a beautiful fluffy texture that you won’t find in any other pie. It’s a must try.

Julia’s signature move here is to separate the eggs. Egg yolks get whisked into pumpkin puree to start things off, along with molasses, bourbon or rum, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cream and milk. It may seem like a lot, but it just means that every bite of this pie is incredibly flavorful.

You want a soft puree here, so if the mixture is too thick, add some more milk a tablespoon at a time until it’s a bit thinner.

As you might have already guessed, the egg whites get whipped into stiff peaks…

… and are gently folded into the pumpkin mixture until everything is combined. You want an even texture, but you don’t want to lose all that air.

It bakes into a pie with a texture that’s absolutely divine – velvety but light, and full of all the spiced pumpkin flavor you could ask for. You might think a pumpkin pie is just a pumpkin pie, but that’s not the case when it comes from Julia Child. This pumpkin pie is truly in a league all its own, just like Julia.

Julia Child's Pumpkin Pie

1 hour 20 minutes to prepare yields 2 9-inch pies

Ingredients

  • 2 unbaked 9-inch pie shells
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 (15 oz) cans pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon or dark rum, optional
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup milk, plus more as needed

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F and position rack in the center of the oven.
  2. Separate the eggs and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, 2 cups of sugars, 1 teaspoon of salt, molasses, bourbon or rum (if using), cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, egg yolks, cream, and milk until smooth.
  4. If the mixture is too stiff, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time, until it resembles a soft puree.
  5. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until foamy. Add a pinch of salt, then gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating until shiny peaks form.
  6. Add a fourth of the whites to the pumpkin mixture and beat until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in the rest of the whites.
  7. Spoon filling into shells, filling just below the rim of the pan. Bake until the crust starts to turn golden, 10-15 minutes.
  8. Reduce heat to 375°F and bake until a tester inserted into the filling 2-inches from the crust comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. If the crust starts to brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil.
  9. Turn oven off but leave door ajar and let pies sit as the oven cools, 20-30 minutes. (This helps filling from becoming watery.) Serve warm or chilled. Enjoy!
  10. Note: Can wrap pies tightly in plastic wrap and chill for up to two days.

Recipe from Julia Child.

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