Inexperienced cooks may often wonder if their food is fully cooked and if it is okay to eat. Is the bread done in the middle? Is the chicken cooked all the way through? Is the beef safe to eat? Is my pie supposed to be that wobbly or is it really cooked?
These are questions we all ask ourselves in the early days of cooking or when we are trying to make a new dish for the first time. We wonder if we did it right and if it might need to go back into the oven for a few more minutes. All that self-doubt can make us question if we should serve the food or if we might be inviting food poisoning to dinner.
If the food is undercooked, it might be mushy and gooey when it should be firm. If we overcook it, it can become burnt, dry, or hard when it should be tender and juicy. With each dish you make, the way to tell if it is cooked may be different. You don’t want to tear open the food to peer inside and see if it is all the way cooked through, though that might be the most effective method. How do you tell if your food is cooked without destroying or mutilating it?
It is possible, but you have to know the methods that experienced chefs use. One food I get asked about every so often when it comes to determining if it is done cooking is pumpkin pie. How to tell if a pumpkin pie is done? There are a few methods you can use, and I want to share them with you, so that the next time you aren’t sure whether your pie is ready to eat or needs more time in the oven, you can know for sure.
How to Tell if My Pumpkin Pie Is Done
So, there is a good way to tell if the pumpkin pie is ready to be taken out and set to cool or if it needs some more time in the oven. The simplest way is to slice it with a knife. That won’t damage the pie if you are planning to cut it into slices anyway. If the knife comes out clean, with almost nothing on it, then the pie is done. If the knife comes out with gooey, almost liquid pie stuck to it, then your pumpkin pie needs to cook for longer.
If you aren’t ready to slice the pie and you want to do a more discreet check for doneness, then you can stick a toothpick in it. Use the centre of the pie for checking if it is cooked, because that will be the last part of the pie to be cooked fully. The heat will take longer to get to the centre of the pie, so it cooks last, while the edges of the pie will cook through first.
With the toothpick test, the same rules apply from the knife test. If it comes out mostly clean, then the pie is done. Congratulations! If the pie sticks to the toothpick and the toothpick comes out gooey and wet, then the pie needs some more time to cook.
How to tell if a pumpkin pie is done without poking and prodding it? You can do a wiggle test. What’s that? Well, you just shake the pie pan gently. You don’t need to lift it up at all to do this. Just bump it slightly, but be careful not to knock it off the counter or out of the oven. Give the pan a little bump to see if the middle wiggles. If the middle looks liquid-y and soupy when the pie pan shakes, then the pumpkin pie needs to cook longer.
You can use a temperature check to see if the pie is done as well. Just insert a thermometer into the pie and check the temperature. The pumpkin pie should reach an internal temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit at the centre or its coolest part. This will only make a small pinprick in the pie, so no worries about it messing up the look.
The best thermometer to use for this check is an instant read one that gives you a fast temperature reading. You don’t want the thermometer to spend so long in your pie that you feel the need to rest the thermometer down because it is taking so long.
How Long to Cook Pumpkin Pie For?
How to tell if my pumpkin pie is done? I usually don’t have to worry about it if I am following a recipe. I know oven cook times and oven temperature will vary, so there is some wiggle room that you have to watch for, but generally following a decent recipe will give you a fully cooked pumpkin pie by the time the recommended cook time has finished.
The recipe I follow calls for a pumpkin pie to be cooked at 375 degrees Fahrenheit and cooked for a full 65 minutes. Pumpkin pie takes a long time to cook, so you need to know that going in. Your cakes and some of the other pies you might make could take less time to cook, so don’t think the pumpkin pie’s cook time will be preferable.
The temperature can go up and down sometimes if your oven is unreliable, so keep that in mind as well. If you place the pie on the wrong shelf, that can definitely affect how well the pie cooks and how soon it is done. I place my pie on the middle rack and it cooks just fine, but if you find that this placement doesn’t work for you and your pie isn’t getting done, then check the recipe that you are following and see if it calls for a particular rack placement. If you have a problem with a pie not cooking thoroughly, try moving it down closer to the heat or adjusting your oven shelf lower.
What to Do with Your Pie When It’s Cooked
Once your pie is cooked all the way through, what do you do with it? Once it is ready to come out of the oven, pumpkin pie should be allowed to cool. It should be placed on a wire rack on the counter at room temperature. That way, it can cool naturally, which can take an hour or longer.
You can serve it hot if you like, and hot pumpkin pie pairs nicely with cold ice cream. If you want to serve it cold, you will need to wait for it to cool fully and then cover the pumpkin pie with a pie pan cover, plastic wrap or aluminium foil and place it in the fridge for a few hours. Serve chilled with whipped topping.