What’s Thanksgiving and Christmas without a pumpkin or pecan pie? Traditional favorites, these pies need special care to prevent an unhappy ending to a fabulous holiday meal. Pumpkin and pecan pie filling are a form of custard and must be kept refrigerated at 41 degrees F or cooler. This also includes the yummy cream pies like chocolate, coconut or banana.
Foods which contain eggs and milk, with high moisture content, must be kept refrigerated, as bacteria love to grow in these foods. Failing to put that pie back into the refrigerator before it has remained on the counter for more than 2 hours can make a very merry celebration for the bacteria, but not so good for friends and family.
You may be wondering why it is then, that you see pumpkin or pecan pies on display at the grocery at room temperature. The difference in recommendations is due to the formulation of the pie recipes. Pies sold at room temperature have a preservative added that prevents germ growth for five days. This is identified by proper labeling found on the box or container. Even those pies should be refrigerated for storage at home especially after they have been cut.
When baking a pumpkin pie at home, you should test the pie for doneness by inserting a clean knife in the center. When the knife comes out clean, remove the pie from the oven. After cooking the pie, cool at room temperature for only 30 minutes after removing them out from the oven. Then, refrigerate them to complete cooling and keep them cold. Once cooled, cover them to prevent them from drying out.
Enjoy those traditional holiday feasts, but keep them safe!