Linda asks: Why does my pumpkin pie always crack across the middle?
Baking S.O.S. says:
My guess is that the pie is baking too long or at too high a temperature…..that would cause the pie to crack.
I checked the Libby’s Pumpkin Pie recipe on-line to see what the exact baking directions are. It says to start the oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees for another 40-50 minutes.
I would suggest baking the pie on the lowest oven rack. This will not only help set the bottom crust, minimizing sogginess, but it will also keep the top of the pie from getting too hot and over-baking (if it were too close to the top of the oven).
Another option would be to reduce the oven temperature lower and bake the pie a little longer. The rationale for this is that a pumpkin pie is really a type of custard because it is set with eggs. The eggs should be baked at a lower temperature for a longer time so that they set without curdling, creating a creamy texture.
You could try reducing the heat to 325 degrees instead of 350 and bake the pie for an extra 5 or 10 minutes longer.
The initial temperature of 425 is still necessary to set the bottom crust, preventing sogginess. But after that, you should be able to reduce the heat to 325 and just bake the pie longer. I think these changes should help prevent your pie from cracking.