Making Pumpkin Pie Without Evaporated Milk


How to make a pumpkin pie without evaporated milk.

Evaporated milk is something that has always mystified me. Milk is liquid, and yet this is evaporated milk. Wouldn't that make it a solid? Or invisible? Ok, all joking aside, evaporated milk is heat-treated to remove some of the water, making it more concentrated as well as shelf-stable.



The ingredients in evaporated milk are milk, dipotassium phosphate, carrageenan, and vitamin D3. I know that carrageenan is a thickener, but I've never even heard of dipotassium phosphate. But evaporated milk is a kitchen staple so I've always had a couple of cans in my cupboard. Well, almost always.

A few years ago I was going to make pumpkin pie from a fresh pumpkin, but didn't have a can of evaporated milk. I used fresh goat milk instead, reducing the amount a bit since fresh pumpkin has more liquid than canned pumpkin. It worked fine.

Photo by Mary Woollard, used with permission
This year, on the day before Thanksgiving when I pulled out all the ingredients to make my pies, I realized I was out of evaporated milk again. I thought I had a can in the cupboard but I couldn't find it. I did a quick Google search on how to replace the evaporated milk in pumpkin pies:

This blogger at Mama's Weeds used 3/4 cup heavy cream instead of the can of evaporated milk. She added an extra egg to help the pie set up.

Someone at My Recipes suggested using regular milk plus 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch to firm up the pie.

The Healthy Home Economist uses coconut milk instead of evaporated milk.

GourmetSleuth says that for 1 cup of evaporated milk, you can substitute 1 cup half-and-half, 1 cup heavy cream OR 1 cup whole milk.

The Anytime Gourmet suggested using 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream, or a combination of 1 cup cream and 1/2 cup milk as a substitute for a 20-ounce can of evaporated milk.

I had half-and-half on hand, so I used 1 cup of the half-and-half and 1/2 cup of whole milk. I could have used half-and-half for the entire amount, but I wanted to save the other cup in the carton for broccoli and cheddar soup later in the week.

Our pies were super-creamy and rich. Delicious! We'll be eating rich, creamy pumpkin pies from now on and I won't have to remember to buy evaporated milk.


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