Avoiding Pumpkin Pie mistakes: To avoid cooking up a foamy disaster, mix in the right order.

Ask me how I know.  It’s not the food science education, but it should have been.

Last Thanksgiving I made two pies.  The first one was the Official Pie for Thanksgiving dinner, and it was a damned good thing that I took my time and followed the directions (for once).  It was a thing of beauty, and tasted like one too (thanks, back of the can and crushed Mi-Del gluten free ginger snaps mixed with butter and ripped apart in the Cuisinart).  Not very tall, because I used a glass pie plate, but still awesome.

This post is not about that awesome pie, but about the second pie.  Ever have a pie come out like this?

Well.  I was in a mighty big hurry the second time I made pie, which was in the middle of the holiday rush.  I bake cookies a lot, and I’m used adding eggs and sugar first.  Whipping those together creates bubbles — helpful in rising cookies and cakes using steam, but absolutely NOT what you want when making a pumpkin custard, which is at the heart of pumpkin pie.  The bubbles probably held together because of the egg whites, and as they rose they made that hideous foam that, though still kind of edible, destroyed the texture and look of the pie.

Beating the eggs allows the yolks to properly work as binders between water and fat, and it also prevents some of the bubbles from forming when you add in the pumpkin along with the sugar.  Lesson learned.

I dislike following directions, but there’s a reason why Libby’s has had a well-used pumpkin pie recipe for so long.  It works. So read the can each time, and with any recipe you use, don’t add the eggs first.   Also, low heat and patience, my friends.




Using Liquid Egg Whites Past the Expiration Date

Don’t.  That’s my advice.  Unlike eggs in the shell (shelled eggs), liquid egg whites are an egg product that has eggs that have been opened from their protective shell and pasteurized.  They are ONLY good until the expiration date.

Don’t believe me?  Here’s your friends at Egg Beaters:

egg beaters

And the USDA:

Safe Handling and Storage of Egg Products
Safe handling and storage is necessary for all egg products to prevent bacterial contamination. Here are recommendations from USDA:

  • For best quality, store frozen egg products up to one year. Check to be sure your freezer is set at 0 °F or lower. After thawing, do not refreeze.
  • Thaw frozen egg products in the refrigerator or under cold running water. DO NOT THAW ON THE COUNTER.
  • If the container for liquid products bears a “use-by” date, observe it. Follow the storage and handling instructions provided by the manufacturer.
  • For liquid products without an expiration date, store unopened containers at 40 °F or below for up to 7 days (not to exceed 3 days after opening). Do not freeze opened cartons of liquid egg products.
  • Unopened dried egg products and egg white solids can be stored at room temperature as long as they are kept cool and dry. After opening, store in the refrigerator.
  • Reconstituted egg products should be used immediately or refrigerated and used that day.
  • USDA Commodity Dried Egg Mix should be stored at less than 50 °F, preferably in the refrigerator (at 40 °F or below). After opening, use within 7 to 10 days. Reconstitute only the amount needed at one time. Use reconstituted egg mix immediately or refrigerate and use within 1 hour.

Even more info about eggs. Because I’m nuts.

Erin McKenna’s Bakery

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Erin McKenna’s Bakery

A splurge, but delicious.  Ask for ingredient list if you have FODMAP issues, because there is a lot of agave syrup in some items.  The good news is that you can look up the ingredients beforehand.  I wish this place had a public bathroom or we would have stayed for the coffee or tea.  They also have vegan soft serve with optional gluten free cone.  The atmosphere is very friendly (a discussion about Wow Airlines eventually involved the lady behind the counter, the gent talking about it, us, and a couple of bystanders) and there is a lot of foot traffic.  Refrigerate within 1.5 hours of leaving and keep the stuff there to retain the freshness.  (Unlike other baked goods, which tend to stale from being tossed into the fridge).  Also in New York and Orlando.


  • Gluten Free, Vegan & Kosher
  • 236 North Larchmont Blvd,
  • Los Angeles, CA 90004
  • larchmont@erinmckennasbakery.com
  • Hours of Operation
  • Sunday-Thursday: 9am-9pm
  • Friday-Saturday: 9am-10pm
  • Kosher Certificate

Groundwork Coffee, North Hollywood Station

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11275 Chandler Blvd.,

North Hollywood, CA 91601

Hours: Mon – Sun: 6:00 am – 8:00 pm

Kitchen Hours: Mon – Sun: 6:00 am – 5:00 pm

Contact: (818) 423-2626 | northhollywood@groundworkcoffee.com

Oh, and if you buy a bag of coffee or a box of whole leaf tea, you get a free drink with that.  The atmosphere is hipster-rich and completely friendly; includes gluten-free options like chocolate chip cookies and some iffy looking gluten-free granola bars.  Plugs for devices abound, and people sit with complete strangers often when the seat across from some lady or chap happens to be open.

Parking on the weekend is best about a block away near the park (across from the fire station) — free on Sundays.  Don’t park in the Metro lot unless you have a Tap card and feel like spending $3.  If you take the Orange line, it’s RIGHT THERE before you have to run down the stairs to catch your train to Hollywood or downtown.  Let everyone else run and take a minute to catch some liquid joy.


Three places to visit in Highland Park

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Order first while pondering the beauty (and I’m not just talking about that mustache). Also, get the baked goods for later first. You’ll see later why (spoiler: long lines!)


Buckwheat pancakes with coconut! Blackberries! You won’t need to eat for the rest of the day! Seriously.

Kitchen Mouse (gluten free)

Monday – Friday  •  8am – 4pm
Saturday & Sunday  •  7am – 4pm
5904 N. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90042  •  MAP

Mr. Holmes. Looks too fancy for you and me, but they’re NICE NICE NICE inside!!

Mr. Holmes Bakehouse (not gluten free)

101 S AVE 59





Everyday – 11am – 7pm

5028 York Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90042 USA




Gluten free IKEA

Gluten free cake with tea? Yes please. Really good creamy with chocolate gluten free cake? Thanks very much indeed. I’m sure they have food too, like I think the vegetarian meatballs are gluten free… But I was a bit preoccupied.



Happy Fourth of July!!

We made a gluten-free chocolate cake using the Simple Truth gluten-free mix and homemade coffee buttercream frosting before piling on the M&Ms. 

Happy birthday, America! 

We’re enjoying the day off. And barbeque. And cake.
Hope you’re having a great day wherever you are.