Throwback Thursday: Our Search for the Perfect Pumpkin Pie, Round 5

Since our new oven was installed yesterday, I didn’t have time to do the elaborate pie round that was meant to happen this week and instead went for the “other” category that I was planning to do next week. This includes a sugar free recipe, a gluten free recipe and a cookie recipe.

Contestant 1:

This is the Maple-Pumpkin Pie from Joanne Chang’s Baking With Less Sugar. I used sugar free maple flavored syrup to make it properly sugar free in the interests of trying to make it as diabetic friendly as possible. The recipe is very similar to our Round 1 Winner which is also a Joanne Chang recipe and unfortunately I think I pulled it out a few minutes too soon as it was too jiggly in the center. That being said, the maple syrup gave it a nice caramel flavor and this was only enhanced by sitting in the fridge overnight.

Contestant 2:

This recipe is Pumpkin Pie Bars – a variation of Dorie Greenspan’s Sweet Potato Pie Bars from her book Dorie’s Cookies. It features a shortbread crust and then the pumpkin pie filling on top. It was sooooo much quicker to make than a traditional pumpkin pie and really hit the mark as a bar cookie alternative. I love that you can portion it up or down depending on how many people you have or what other dessert options are available. That being said it was pretty standard flavor wise. No wows here.

Contestant 3:

This is our gluten free option – Kabocha Custard from Tartine All Day. You roast a Kabocha squash (aka Jap or Kent pumpkin here in Australia) then puree the pumpkin and mix that through your basic custard recipe and bake in a water bath. This was a good custard, but unfortunately baked custard is really not my thing. I think when I read the recipe I was expecting it to be more like pumpkin pie filling sans the crust, so really I was pretty disappointed. And it was a lot of work compared to the other contestants for it to not be magnificent!

To be honest it feels a bit unfair to choose a winner from this category as they all serve different purposes and so we simply had to go on flavor. The sugar free pie from Baking With Less Sugar wins on that front, with the cookie bars coming in a very close second. But since it is a pie challenge, this really seems to make the most sense as what to take into the semi finals round. It should be interesting to see how it stacks up against its sugary competition.

Only one more round to go before the Semi Finals begin!