This year I was in charge of the pies. So after a bit of research the three most consistent "best" pies were CooksIllus, Epicurious Ultimate Pumpkin Pie and the back of the Libby's can. So I decided that I would make one of each and the winner would be the one I would make going forward.
To make sure the competition was even I used the CooksIllus vodka pie crust recipe which turned out nice & flaky. (My 1st time making crusts) But I had to make 5 crusts to come up with two. When I pre-baked the crust and went to remove the foil liner it kept sticking to the crust pulling it away with the foil, whether I weighted it down or not – I even tried spraying the back and flour. Ironically the most heavily weighted version (using coins) stuck the least. Finally I ran out of time and just bought a graham cracker crust for the Epicurious version. I also strained all 3 mixtures to ensure a silky custard. I cooked all three according to their directions - although I forgot to add the apricot to the Epi. All three were served together at room temperature with homemade whipped cream.
All three were pretty easy to make, with the CI being the most involved. The Libby's custard was the thinnest of the three and I was nervous that it would be too watery, but it cooked fine. The CI version took longer to cook than the directions indicated and the Libby's took only 40 minutes.
So the winner was........... a tie! It was an even split between the Libby's & the Epicurious. The Epi version uses sour cream so it was a bit richer or "gourmet" as one tester stated and perhaps a bit sweeter - and was my personal favorite. The Libby’s was more “traditional” tasting. But this may also be due to the fact that this is the version most people make. But both were great and everyone stated that going forward I should just make both. If I go by the pie plates, there is about 1/8 of the Epi pie and about 1/4 of the Libby's left this morning.
I liked the graham cracker crust, but most people preferred the regular crust.
The CooksIllus version wasn't even in the competition. In fact most of the pie is still left and will probably be tossed. It lacked sweetness, is a bit salty, and the flavor is just off. Someone stated that it tastes more like a vegetable pie than a pumpkin pie. Very disappointing based on the time it took to make and that I thought it would be the winner. Plus, its crust came out the best.