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Giada De Laurentiis’ Pumpkin Pie Has a Secret Ingredient That Totally Elevates Its Flavor

Every year we begin a quest as old as time itself (or so it seems). With the onset of autumn, we become determined to perfect our pumpkin recipes. Whether it’s a pumpkin spice latte cake, a fancy pumpkin mousse, or a platter of cheesy pumpkin carbonara pasta, we’re determined to make pumpkin perfection. But there’s one Holy Grail that’s eluded us: making a silky, moist, decadent pumpkin pie that doesn’t crack in the oven, doesn’t leak weird squash juice everywhere once it’s baked, and has the flavor we’re looking for. Now, thanks to Giada De Laurentiis and her pumpkin pie secret ingredient, this might be the year we finally get it right.

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The De Laurentiis secret? She uses silky, creamy mascarpone cheese in her pumpkin pie recipe. It makes sense that the Italian-American cookbook author would use an ingredient from her family’s home country. Along with the mascarpone, she adds whipped cream cheese to the filling, too. These additions result in a pumpkin pie that has a lighter, more mousse-like texture than a traditional custard made of just pumpkin puree and eggs.

The filling mixture is more stable, too, so you don’t have to worry as much about the water separating and causing leaks and a soggy crust after it’s cooked, or about a crack forming in the center of your pie as it bakes.

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Courtesy of Clarkson Potter.

Giada's Italy: My Recipes for La Dolce Vita $16.98

De Laurentiis makes her own all-butter pie crust to fit a 9-inch pie plate (we love this one from Le Creuset), but if you’re pressed for time, you can use store bought pie dough too.

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Courtesy of Le Creuset.

Le Creuset 9-Inch Stoneware Pie Dish $49.95

To make the filling, you just mix all of the ingredients together, then pour it into the undbaked pie crust. Another signature De Laurentiis spin is that along with cinnamon and vanilla, she adds lemon zest to the pumpkin pie filling, giving it another Italian twist. After all, mascarpone and lemon are a match made in heaven.

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Courtesy of Green Valley Organics.

Green Valley Organics Pumpkin 4-Pack $16.99

The result is a lighter, creamier pumpkin pie than you might be used to. It has just a slight tang from the mascarpone and cream cheese, a rounded earthy sweetness from the pumpkin puree and brown sugar, and the pleasing aroma of cinnamon, vanilla, and lemon coming from the pie will make you want more than one slice.

There you have it – 2021 might be the year you finally make a perfect pumpkin pie.

Before you go, check out our gallery below:

Watch: How to Make Giada De Laurentiis’ Stuffed Lasagna Rolls

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