Can I replace whole eggs in my pumpkin pie with a greater number of egg yolks?

I'm making a pumpkin pie with torched italian meringue on top for thanksgiving this year! Seeing as I'll need an awful lot of egg white for the meringue, and egg yolks make custard taste wonderfully rich, I thought I might use just egg yolks in my pie recipe instead of the 4 eggs it calls for so that the yolks don't go to waste. How would this affect my pie, and how many egg yolks should I use instead of 4 whole eggs? Thank you!

Kristina Bifani
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4 Comments

Nancy November 23, 2020
Another way to go - make the pie as written.
Just freeze (separately) any extras you have, separately or just stirred together, for future use.
Whole eggs, whites and yolks all freeze well.
 
Erin A. November 23, 2020
Hi there! I found an old Hotline thread with a similar question (though it was about cookies!). One community member wrote: "Yolks are primarily fats, vitamins, and minerals with some protein, and they make baked goods moist and give a smooth texture. Egg whites are mostly protein, so they help set the structure and dry baked goods out.” Another community member added that the egg whites also add necessary hydration. If you do decide to opt for just the yolks, my guess is that the texture would be different—it might be richer than the typical filling, and perhaps not as light and silky.

As for the number of egg yolks you'd need to substitute, I don't think it's a 1:1 swap, but I’m very curious to hear if other community members have any ideas! In the meantime, here's a recipe that was developed to use 3 egg yolks and 1 whole egg: https://www.onceuponachef.com/recipes/perfect-pumpkin-pie.html#tabbox
 
Lori T. November 23, 2020
You can make a pumpkin pie with just yolks. In fact, I do. I follow a recipe very similar to the one at https://www.onceuponachef.com/recipes/perfect-pumpkin-pie.html
It calls for 3 egg yolks, by the way.
There are recipes for custards which use only the yolks, and a pumpkin pie is simply a variation on the custard pie theme. The recipe I use adds a bit of flour to replace the binding you would get from the egg white, and it helps with stabilizing the filling. This is what the recipe from the site I gave you uses as well. Once the filling is mixed up, it looks just like the usual mixture. You can spice it to suit yourself, of course. It fills a blind baked 9 inch pie shell quite nicely as well. And I don't see any reason why you couldn't use it as the base for a torched meringue.
 
Erin A. November 23, 2020
Ahhh, looks like we had the same train of thought!
 
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