Last Updated on September 12, 2023 by Shari Mason
Costco, a global retail giant, is renowned for its delectable pumpkin pies that fly off shelves every season.
But have you ever wondered what kind of pumpkin they use to achieve that signature taste?
Dive in as we explore the type of pumpkin that makes Costco’s pies a seasonal favorite for many.
Does Costco Use A Specific Variety Of Pumpkin For Their Pies?
Yes, Costco uses a specific variety of pumpkin for their pies: the Dickinson pumpkin .
Unlike the typical bright orange jack-o-lantern pumpkins, Dickinson pumpkins have a tan, muted color but are prized for their creamy texture and rich flavor.
“My most memorable meal is every Thanksgiving. I love the food: the turkey and stuffing; the sweet potatoes and rice, which come from my mother’s Southern heritage; the mashed potatoes, which come from my wife’s Midwestern roots; the Campbell’s green-bean casserole; and of course, pumpkin pie.”– Douglas Conant, Writer
Originating from the Cucurbita moschata species, this variety is often preferred for baking due to its dense flesh and lower water content, resulting in flavorful and consistently textured pies.
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Is Costco’s Pumpkin Pie Made From Real Pumpkins?
Yes, Costco’s pumpkin pie is made from real pumpkins. Specifically, they use the Dickinson pumpkin variety, favored for its rich taste and smooth texture.
Costco prides itself on using authentic ingredients in its products; its pumpkin pie is no exception.
The use of genuine pumpkin puree, rather than artificial flavors or fillers, contributes to the pie’s renowned creamy consistency and deep, natural pumpkin flavor, making it a seasonal favorite among many.
Why Doesn’t Costco Use Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkins?
Costco doesn’t use Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins in their pies primarily due to the difference in texture and flavor profile.
Though great for carving and decoration, Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins have a watery and fibrous flesh that doesn’t yield the rich, creamy consistency desired for pies.
Instead, Costco opts for the Dickinson pumpkin variety, renowned for its smooth texture and deep, genuine flavor.
This choice ensures that their pies maintain a consistent quality and authentic taste that customers love.
Are Other Ingredients Mixed Into The Pumpkin Puree?
- Sugar or Sweeteners: To add sweetness to the pie. Types of sugars used can vary, including granulated white sugar, brown sugar, or even maple syrup.
- Eggs: They act as a binder and give the pie its custard-like texture.
- Spices: A blend of spices enhances the pumpkin flavor. Common spices include cinnamon , nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice.
- Cream or Milk: This can be heavy, evaporated, or condensed. It adds richness and creaminess to the filling.
- Salt: A pinch is added to balance the sweetness and enhance the flavor.
- Vanilla Extract: This is optional but can add depth to the pie’s taste.
- Thickeners: Some recipes might include a small amount of flour or cornstarch to help set the pie and prevent it from becoming too runny.
- Butter: Some recipes incorporate melted butter for additional richness.
- Crust: A pie crust is essential while not mixed into the puree. It can be store-bought or homemade, made from flour, fat (like butter or shortening), water, and a pinch of salt.
“In every slice of a Costco pie, there’s a tale of a Dickinson pumpkin, chosen not just for its hue, but for its heart and flavor too.”– Eat Pallet Restaurant & Food Advice
Can I Buy The Same Pumpkin Variety For My Homemade Pies?
Yes. The variety of pumpkins often used in commercial pies, like those from Costco, is the “Dickinson pumpkin.”
This particular variety is prized for its smooth texture, consistent flavor, and high sugar content, making it perfect for pies.
To replicate that store-bought taste in your homemade pies, seek out Dickinson pumpkins or similar pie-specific varieties at local farms, grocery stores, or specialty markets.
These pumpkins are generally smaller, more rounded, and have a more pronounced, sweet flavor than jack-o’-lantern pumpkins, making them ideal for baking.
Why is Costco pumpkin pie gritty?
Costco pumpkin pie may feel gritty due to the natural fibers of the pumpkin or the particular grind of the sugar used. However, it’s not a standard characteristic and might vary from pie to pie.
Is butternut pumpkin the same as squash?
Yes, butternut pumpkin and butternut squash refer to the same vegetable and can be used interchangeably in recipes. It has a sweet, nutty taste and smooth, creamy texture, making it a popular choice for soups, roasts, and other dishes.
In many parts of the world, particularly Australia and New Zealand, “butternut pumpkin” is the term used for what is commonly called “butternut squash” in North America.
While the exact variety of pumpkin that Costco uses in its pies might be proprietary information, it’s evident that the company prioritizes quality and flavor for its customers.
They don’t use jack-o-lantern pumpkins primarily for decoration, but rather, they lean towards sweeter and denser pumpkin varieties suitable for desserts.
Combining this with their blend of spices and other ingredients, Costco delivers a pie that is beloved by many and is a testament to their commitment to offering quality products.
Whether or not you aim to replicate their pie at home, understanding the kind of pumpkin they use offers insight into what makes a good pie pumpkin.
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