LastThanksgiving, I continued my Throwdown studies with a pumpkin pie challenge. Bobby Flay took on Michele Albano in CT in a pie challenge. Michele made a fresh pumpkin with Maple flavors and pecan Struessel. Bobby used canned pumpkin in his pie and a graham cracker crust, resulting in boos from the crowd. Bobby had a Bourbon Maple whipped cream, while Michele served a maple whipped cream on her pie.
In my kitchen I did use canned pumpkin in both of my pies. (Sorry Michele). The taste test took place at the dinner table and the results were mixed. For me - I really liked the maple whipped cream of Michele's and the crunchy pecans on top. Her pumpkin filling was very fresh tasting, like a pumpkin pie should taste. Her filling had eggs for a custardy texture, and the crust was ok - nothing special. I liked this pie very much. But then I tasted Bobby's pie, which was very rich tasting, denser, with more spice flavor. The bourbon whipped cream was a little strong and the streussel topping was a nice touch of texture, with more cinnamon and oats. Delicious! But then another bite of Michele's pulled me back that way...this is a tough decision for certain - I wouldn't envy the judges this one. For me it took 2 more days of eating these pies (it was a holiday after all and we had to finish the leftovers) I have still not truly decided.
I lean towards Bobby for the filling and graham cracker crust - the filling was dark, rich, spicy and wonderful. I am a fan of bourbon, but may have gone a little lighter on the whipped cream to get more of the pumpkin. Michele's was delicious though, with a fresher more traditional pumpkin pie flavor, and I love the crunch of the pecans on hers as well as the maple whipped cream. So for more tradition - Michele's pie was the way to go. For dense decadent pumpkin pie - Bobby's wins hands down.
Michele's pie can be found here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/michele-albanos-maple-pumpkin-pie-with-pecan-streusel-recipe/index.html
Bobby's pie - http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/bobby-flays-pumpkin-pie-with-cinnamon-crunch-and-bourbon-maple-whipped-cream-recipe/index.html
Happy Thanksgiving all......