Facts Behind the Food: Pumpkin Pie

It’s almost time for the spookiest and sweetest night of the year, Halloween! While there are so many delicious sweets and treats to choose from, you can’t go wrong with a classic slice of pumpkin pie. We specifically love the pumpkin pie bars at the dining courts, and picked up a slice with our dinner from Windsor!

While enjoying this festive dessert, it got us thinking about all of the scientific facts behind it! Pumpkin Pie doesn’t get its unique qualities for no reason, it’s all due to science! If you’re ready to expand your pumpkin pie knowledge, we have all of the scientific facts layered out for you.

Pumpkin pie bar from Windsor dining court

What’s in pumpkin that makes the pie orange?

Pumpkin is filled with pigments called carotenoids, which give off a orange hue. The carotenoids get converted into vitamin A, which is essential for human health and growth. This means pumpkin pie is healthy, right? Not exactly, but who can pass up this delicious treat!

What makes pumpkin pie so creamy?

The key ingredient that gives pumpkin pie its creamy texture is evaporated milk. Evaporated milk has 60% less water than regular milk, and since pumpkin has such a high water content, this ingredient is essential in providing the pie’s signature creamy texture.

Pumpkin pie batter is so thin and runny, so how does it become thick and dense after cooking?

The starches in the filling and crust will undergo a chemical reaction when placed in the hot oven. As the starches start to swell, they release a special polysaccharide called Amylose. Amylose forms a gel, and causes the process of gelatinization. This solidifies the filling, and gives off a gelatinized, dense texture.

Pumpkin pie before baking in the oven

Why does pumpkin pie give off such a warm and comforting feeling?

Pumpkin pie is filled with various spices that give off its signature flavor and aroma. These spices include nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. The combination of these spices results in a release of endorphins in the brain, causing a feeling of comfort and happiness upon indulging in a slice!

Pumpkin pie brings forth that warm and comforting feeling during the fall season. We all know that the festive dessert is delicious, but knowing a few facts behind the classic pie creates a greater level of appreciation for it! Now that we got your mind filled with pumpkin pie, head on over to the dining courts and pick up a slice!

Here is where we got our information from:

“Cooking Chemistry: Not-Your-Traditional Pumpkin Pie.” Carolina.com, http://www.carolina.com/teacher-resources/Interactive/cooking-chemistry-pumpkin-pie/tr22704.tr.

RosieResearch. “Learn the Science of Pumpkin Pie.” Rosie Research, 14 Nov. 2018, rosieresearch.com/science-of-pumpkin-pie/.


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