Published November 1, 2006. From Cook's Illustrated.
We sampled pies made from each of the three nationally available brands to see if we were opening the best can.
Aside from its status as a Thanksgiving classic, pumpkin pie gets points for taking a plain canned good and dressing it up. To be sure we were opening the best canned pumpkin for our No-Bake Pumpkin Pie, we asked 10 tasters to sample pies made from three brands.
Two brands ended up in a dead heat. While some tasters favored the "creamy" texture and "mild sweetness" of the first, others preferred the slightly "denser" texture and "sharper" pumpkin flavor of the second. The third contestant was disqualified for its unpleasantly "vegetal" and "chalky" flavor.
Whichever brand you choose, study the label carefully. Our supermarket stocks canned pumpkin from two of these brands that's already been spiced and sweetened. These products, marked as "pie mix" but looking very much like the cans of plain pumpkin, are a recipe for a soupy and overly sweet disaster.