When pumpkin pies hit the shelves in Costco,
you know fall has officially arrived. But is there more to the hype than just sugar
and spice? We did some digging to find out exactly how
Costco’s pumpkin pie is made, where the recipe came from, and why it’s so darn popular. If you’ve ever made a pumpkin pie from scratch,
you know it’s a tremendous amount of work First you have to buy a whole pumpkin, bake
it, and puree it, adding condensed milk, cornstarch, molasses and spices as you go – and don’t
forget about making your own crust! That’s the more ambitious method. For those who want the easy (and cheaper)
route, Costco pumpkin pie is at the top of the shopping list. Costco’s pumpkin pie typically only costs
about six dollars, and it’s way bigger than the normal sized pie you’ll get from that
complicated from-scratch recipe. It’ll save you from having to buy a whole
slew of ingredients, and you won’t have to spend hours to make it. After all, time is money, right? “How’s your pie?” “I don’t know, I didn’t make a pie.” While it’s not exactly a family recipe, the
pie you’re picking up from Costco may be the same pie your parents brought to a family
Thanksgiving dinner before you were even born. According to The Costco Connection, the Costco
Pumpkin Pie has been going strong with the same recipe since 1987. The history behind the recipe is all thanks
to Sue McConnaha, Costco’s VP of Bakery Operations. With prior experience in commercial bakeries,
she developed the ideal pumpkin pie recipe that could be used across Costco bakeries
nationwide. The recipe is meant to be easily duplicated
to be consistent all across the board, allowing Costco members to get the same beloved pie
year after year. For those without a Costco just down the road,
don’t worry! If you can make your way to the big box store
anytime between September and Thanksgiving, you’ll be all set to serve up that giant pumpkin
pie. You could even buy more than one, and be prepped
for Christmas dinner as well. It helps that Costco’s pumpkin pie keeps well
when frozen. Because of the high fat content of the buttery
crust, along with the custard-like filling, it’s the perfect pie to pop in the freezer
in preparation for a big holiday. Costco serves up their pies in a container
that seals pretty tight, but if you want to be extra sure it’ll be safe for a month, wrap
the whole pie in plastic wrap. Just be sure you grab your pie from the freezer
the day before you plan to eat it to let it thaw out. Even if you pick up three pumpkin pies, your
purchase is only a tiny part of the ridiculous number Costco sells every year. In past years, they’ve reportedly sold well
over 5 million pies, with a substantial number of them being grabbed off Costco shelves in
the three days before Thanksgiving. Does that mean those of us who procrastinate
in buying our pies are safe? We can’t be sure, so if you don’t want to
risk walking out empty handed, you had better plan ahead. As you know, you can’t have pumpkin pie without
starting out with pureed pumpkin, but what else is Costco adding to the mix? We may never actually know. The proprietary recipe uses a list of dry
ingredients and spices that are kept close to the chest, but we do know they add that
dry ingredient mix when they’re making pies in stores. According to The Costco Connection, the in-store
bakers combine the dry mix with a special blend of spices, along with whole eggs and
water. All of the ingredients are dumped into a large
stand mixer and blended to perfection. Once the mix is blended, the liquid filling
is scooped into each pie shell, with each unbaked pie weighing 3.8 pounds. When a whole baking rack of 24 pies is filled,
they’re sent into the oven to finish the beautiful baking process before being packaged in that
classic giant container and being displayed for pumpkin pie lovers to snatch them up. As you can imagine, if you’re going to make
millions of the same pumpkin pie within a three-month span, the type of pumpkin used
definitely matters. There has to be consistency. When McConnaha developed the pumpkin pie recipe
for Costco, she decided using Dickinson pumpkins would be best. She told The Costco Connection, “We only use the Dickinson variety for our
puree, which is why the pumpkin is so key. Our formula doesn’t work with other varieties.” The Dickinson Pumpkins used for Costco’s pies
are grown in Illinois, where about 90 percent of the nation’s pumpkin crop is grown. Illinois’ growing conditions are just about
perfect for pumpkins, providing nutrient rich soil and warm temperatures, without too much
water that would cause produce to mold. Since the same recipe has been going strong
since 1987, not much about the way Costco does things has changed. The one thing that has changed is the size. The original recipe called for enough ingredients
to make a 10-inch pie, while today’s pies sold in stores are a whopping 12 inches in
diameter. The pies now reportedly weigh more than 3.5
pounds. That’s a whole lot of pie, and perfect for
a large group, providing about 12 servings or more, depending on how you slice it. You could, of course, also just eat the whole
thing by yourself. As if there wasn’t enough hype behind Costco’s
pumpkin pie, social media has taken it to a whole new level. Pumpkin pie fans have rallied around a Facebook
page called Costco’s Pumpkin Pie, getting news on the Costco pie season. The Facebook fan page posts an annual announcement
when pumpkin pies are officially back in stores for the season, with updates throughout September
to December. It even shares memes and other photos of the
pie, along with photos of Costco employees dishing out samples of this beloved dessert. The pie’s cult following is most likely due
to its unique flavor, with many saying they can’t find a pie like Costco’s anywhere else. The Costco Buys Instagram account, boasting
over 80,000 followers, says it’s their absolute favorite pie. And with the recipe going strong for over
30 years, there’s no reason to doubt that the store is onto something good. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Mashed videos about your favorite
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