My PA Dutch grandma's pumpkin pie always had a thin layer of custard on the bottom. We have her recipe but none of us has been able to get the filling to separate... Anyone have any idea what might cause this? We've experimented with cooking temps, ingredient temps, amount of mixing, beating the eggs more or less etc.... Any ideas????
I believe that your aunt is right and Grandma added cornstarch. Quite a few times in the past when I've made sauces using cornstarch in a saucepan, bubbles of clear gel have formed when I've neglected to stir constantly. It seems quite possible to me that a thin layer of this gel would form when making a pie, rather than the bubbles that I have seen.
I understand that you want to come as close to Grandma's recipe as possible and keep this layer. Bearing in mind that I've not tried this, I would mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with just enough milk to make a pourable, non-lumpy paste and whisk it gently into the custard . If the recipe involves any heating of the custard before baking, be sure to incorporate the cornstarch mixture only after heating.
Mine always separates (I was wondering how to make it homogeneous).
I am wondering if it is in the puree process. I do not run my pumpkin through a blender because my mom never had one growing up. Instead, I bake my pumpkin till soft, scoop it out into a bowl, and mash. I then freeze it in 2 cup quantities for later use.
Because the pumpkin isn't pureed, it doesn't mix in with all the other ingredients, and tends to float to the top. The pie is delicious and using fresh pumpkin makes it so much better than store bought pie.
I have the opposite problem, I want my pie filling to be homogeneous but it always separates and forms a thin clear or white custard (without the pumpkin and spice) layer at the bottom topped by the normal pumpkin and spice custard layer. I have tried mixing it different ways and for varying times with the same end result. Any suggestions? The proportions are 1c. of pumpkin, 3 eggs to 1 1/4 c. whipping cream with sugar and spices.
This just happened to me. I didn't let the filling sit. Some differences to the "normal" receipe I used (Betty Crocker's cookbook) were (1) using our own, homegrown pumpkin, and (2) making evaporated milk substitute from powdered milk.
Bottom line is that I wouldn't worry about it if your doesn't separate. :-)