I made pumpkin cakes based on 3 celebrity chef recipes and the worst was a baking legend

All pie slices and Paige
A slice of each celebrity chef pumpkin. Paige Bennett for the Insider
  • I made pumpkin pie with recipes from Dominique Ansel, Alton Brown and Bobby Flay.

  • My favorite recipe was Flay because it was easy to follow and its special whipped cream was delicious.

  • Ansel’s recipe was a disaster, and the taste of the pie was quite faint.

  • Brown’s recipe was the simplest and had a star crust, but it didn’t blow away.

  • Visit the Insider website for more news.

When it comes to convenience foods, there’s nothing like a slice of homemade pumpkin pie.

Famous chefs certainly feel the same way, which is why so many of them have their own pumpkin pie recipe.

To find out which one is worth trying, I tested pumpkin pie recipes from Bobby Flay, Dominique Ansel and Alton Brown.

Read on to see how the pies turned out.

Flay’s signed pumpkin pie recipe has many steps

Bobby Flay Ingredients
Ingredients for Bobby Flay pumpkin pie. Paige Bennett for the Insider

Although known as a barbecue master, Flay can throw when it comes to pies.

The recipe on the Food Network website has several steps, but it seemed easy to organize and measure all the ingredients in advance.

The recipe also provided for homemade bourbon-maple whipped cream that sounded tasteful. I needed Grade B syrup to make it – but I learned it no longer existed. So I insisted on Class A.

The pie was easy to put together and had a delicious smell

Because I measured everything in advance, making the filling was as simple as pouring and whipping the ingredients and then filtering until a super smooth center was reached.

Bobby Flay 4 blend
Mixing the ingredients was easy. Paige Bennett for the Insider

My only hiccup was that I didn’t have a food processor. I used a small blender / food shredder that didn’t even work well.

This made it difficult to integrate the melted butter with the crushed graham cracker.

Bobby Flay 2nd baking crust
The graham-cracker crust had to bake. Paige Bennett for the Insider

Overall, the practical part was quick and easy. After baking for 10 minutes, my crust is set and ready to fill.

The recipe brought a lot fuller than I needed, so I froze the leftovers for a future pie.

Bobby Flay 8. process casting stuffing
The bark was not perfect, but it kept the filling great. Paige Bennett for the Insider

I baked the pie for about 90 minutes. It is golden in color with a flawless top – no cracks here!

The whipped cream and pie blended in perfectly

Bobby Flay's last whole cake with whipped cream
Flay pie was perfect when it cooled. Paige Bennett for the Insider

I was amazed at how well the cake held its shape when I cut it. Although the crust along the bottom was probably thicker than it should have been, I was glad it hadn’t collapsed or fallen apart.

The whipped cream alone was incredibly delicious. I was able to taste every element: cream, vanilla, bourbon and maple syrup.

As for the pie, the filling had a light pumpkin flavor, with a pleasant balance of sweetness and spice. Vanilla, maple syrup, warm pumpkin and spices were in perfect balance with the whipped cream in the dessert.

The Last Slice of Bobby Flay 1
Flay pie was smooth and delicious. Paige Bennett for the Insider

The graham-cracker crust was fine, but I wished it was more crisp — disappointing with its slightly wet bottom.

The edges were crisp but not as succulent as I would have liked.

Ansel’s pumpkin pie recipe makes it hard to bear the ginger and asks for a dough crust

Dominique Ansel ingredients
Ingredients for Dominique Ansel pumpkin pie. Paige Bennett for the Insider

I followed a recipe that the famous confectioner and the inventor of the cronut shared with InStyle.

My first concern was how much ginger – fresh and ground – was needed. I love ginger, but I don’t like it in large quantities.

I also expected the pie to have a fairly rich centerpiece, as this recipe requires a lot of egg yolks for the filling.

I had to fight the dough for the crust

Because it involved making a dough-based crust, this recipe required many steps. I suggest you do this the day before if you need it for a certain occasion.

It took a long time to grate the fresh ginger for the crust, so in the end about 2 tablespoons of approx. I cut 1 1/2 tablespoons.

After mixing the ingredients of the crust and letting it cool, it was time to roll. I cut the dough and set aside one half, which I originally planned to freeze later.

Dominique Ansel 2 dough is ready for refrigeration
The dough was incredibly hard to roll. Paige Bennett for the Insider

But rolling the dough was a disaster. My first half kept sticking to the rolling pin and surface, though I put flour on them and my hands before I started.

I got frustrated and scrapped this half, I’m grateful I still have the second half. I wrapped this dough loosely in plastic wrap to prevent the rolling pin from sticking.

It worked a little well – until I had to peel the dough off the plastic wrap and it fell apart.

I struggled with the dough as best I could and spread it on my pie pan. It didn’t quite fit, so I did everything I could to patch it up.

Dominique Ansel processed 4 dough rolling disasters
The dough did not fit nicely into the pan. Paige Bennett for the Insider

Then came the blind baking – when you bake a cake crust before you fill it – it annoyed me as the dough was delicious. While baking, I weighed the crust with parchment paper and dry rice.

When I pulled out the crust and removed the rice, most of my dough came out with it.

I scraped off some of the paper and repaired the bark as best I could, but it turned out to be a disaster.

Dominique Ansel procedure 6 patched the bark
Eventually, I patched the dough so much that crust formed. Paige Bennett for the Insider

I pushed it on and added the filling to the crust anyway. Then he was ready to bake.

Dominique Ansel process 7 pouring filling
Luckily, the filling looked pretty creamy. Paige Bennett for the Insider

It took about 20 minutes to bake the pie, as the maximum estimated time for the recipe was 35 minutes.

Despite all the trouble, the pie became quite bland

Dominique Ansel process 10 cooling
The pie I made with Ansel’s recipe was okay. Paige Bennett for the Insider

The pie looked okay in the oven. The bark didn’t have a perfectly pinched edge, but at this point I was glad it came together at all.

The filling mushroomed over the crust while in the oven and then dropped towards the end of baking, leading to more cracks around the pie.

I thought this pie retained its shape the best of all three recipes because it was a dough crust, but cut apart. The lower bark is thicker on one side and slightly soaked.

Dominique Ansel 2nd Final
The bark was not large. Paige Bennett for the Insider

The pumpkin layer tasted great with pumpkin – I wanted more candy and a little more spice for a better taste.

Its texture was super smooth due to its yellow. Luckily, the ginger didn’t beat the taste of the pie. But I wished the bark had more flavor.

For convenience, I swapped fresh pumpkins for canned according to Brown’s recipe

Alton Brown Ingredients
Ingredients for Alton Brown pie. Paige Bennett for the Insider

According to Brown’s recipe on the Food Network website, fresh pumpkins need to be baked to make homemade pumpkin puree. For a short time and not a fan of pumpkin gut, I skipped this and used canned pumpkin.

I was surprised to find that this recipe didn’t call for cinnamon, unlike the pumpkin pie I’ve ever made (or consumed). I was hoping the nutmeg would make up for it.

Of the 3 recipes, Brown was the easiest to follow

The ginger crust of the pie was similar to Flay’s graham cracker. Without a kitchen robot, it couldn’t come together as well as it should, but it still looked good and smelled even better.

Alton Brown Procedure 1 by alloying the bark
For the crust, I used a small device to grind the cookies. Paige Bennett for the Insider

I pressed into a pie pan and baked for about 10 minutes.

Without fresh pumpkins, the stuffing was easy to make. I heated the pumpkin puree along with half and half nutmeg and salt on the stove and then whipped this mixture into a bowl with brown sugar and eggs.

I let the stuffing and crust cool for 15 minutes, then I mixed and baked the pie for 45 minutes.

Alton Brown process 6 pour filling
Brown’s pie filling was light orange. Paige Bennett for the Insider

There were no misfortunes here; the process was simple and quick. Obviously, if I had made the pumpkin puree out of nothing, it would have taken much longer.

I loved the taste of ginger bark

Alton Brown Final 1
Brown pie looked very good. Paige Bennett for the Insider

After baking the pie, I noticed that a little liquid was collecting on its surface. Otherwise, the interface was flawless.

The massive crust held everything in place as I took a slice out of the pan.

The clear definition of crust and pumpkin made a really nice presentation in each slice.

The stuffing could have used a little more spice – maybe cinnamon – but it was still delicious. The taste of the pumpkin came over and was sweet.

Alton Brown 4th Final
Brown pie is sliced ​​fairly evenly. Paige Bennett for the Insider

The ginger flavor in the crust came through every bite. It was a little more sour than I had hoped, even along the edges, but I was afraid the crust would burn in the oven for a long time.

I would definitely make Flay’s recipe again, especially the whipped cream

Each pie is 2, from left to right
Brown’s pie (front), Flay’s pie (back) and Ansel pie (right). Paige Bennett for the Insider

I loved the filling and whipped cream according to Flay’s recipe, and the pie was easy to put together overall. The only thing I would change is to make the crust tastier, maybe by adding spices.

Brown’s crust was fine and the texture of the filling was perfect. With a food processor, I think I can get the bark to be in better shape. This recipe resulted in a cake that looked just as good on Instagram as it did in real life.

Truth be told, I’d love to try Flay’s filling and whipped cream with Brown’s ginger crust for the ultimate pumpkin pie.

Unfortunately, I don’t see myself trying Ansel’s recipe again.

Read the original Insider article