The Trick For Perfectly Smooth Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is an American classic and one of the most highly anticipated desserts of the Thanksgiving meal. Native to North America, squashes were apparently used to make pies as far back as early colonial times, according to Inside Adams. Bakers at the time alternated slices of the fruit (yes, it is a fruit) with sliced apples, added sugar and spices, then baked the mixture between a top and bottom crust. By 1796, the recipe was similar to something you'd find today. Published in the first cookbook written by an American — Amelia Simmons' landmark "American Cookery" — this recipe included stewed and strained pumpkin, eggs, sugar, cream or milk, molasses, and warming spices, all mixed into a custard and baked in a pie crust.

That's basically the formula most of us use on the final Thursday of November, when each year, about 50 million pumpkin pies are consumed across America (via Good Housekeeping). Pumpkin pie isn't a very complicated recipe, but it can be prone to some pitfalls, including overspiced filling or custard that cracks once the pie is baked and set (via Bon Appétit). Another pumpkin pie problem? Curdled filling.

Take extra care with the eggs in order to avoid curdling

If you've ever made custard — a mix of cream or milk with eggs or egg yolks, which is heated until thickened (via The Spruce Eats) — then you know that it can be prone to curdling. Curdling strikes a custard when the proteins in the eggs become denatured, the result of cooking the custard too fast or too hot. Pumpkin pie filling is a custard, and it, too, can have this issue, which is usually discovered once the pie is sliced, revealing filling that's lumpy with curds instead of nice and smooth.

According to Eating Well, curdled pumpkin pie filling can be avoided by taking care during two specific steps of the recipe: First, when beating the eggs that will be added to the rest of the ingredients, make sure to thoroughly whisk the yolks and whites together, so that they'll more easily incorporate into the filling. Second, be sure to bake your pie low and slow: 350 F for about 30 minutes is what Eating Well recommends, in order to avoid shocking the egg proteins with heat and scrambling them. Eating Well recommends blind-baking the crust first, which means baking it at a high temperature before adding the filling and lowering the temperature of the oven. So the next time you bake pumpkin pie, heed these tips to avoid serving your guests a more brunch-appropriate plate of scrambled eggs.