Monday, November 1, 2010

To err is human, a pumpkin is 'Da Vine!

When all the cows were sleeping
And the sun had gone to bed,
Up jumped the pumpkin,
And this is what he said:

I'm a dingle dangle pumpkin
With a flippy floppy hat.
I can shake my stem like this,
And shake my vine like that.

The aroma of pumpkin pie cooking is a warming experience . . . the spices are rich and classic. Making pumpkin pie is not difficult but it IS time consuming.   I’m not a fan of commercially packed pumpkin food which is more likely to be some squash other than pumpkin.  Learning making a pumpkin pie from scratch is well worth the effort.

How to make pumpkin pie from scratch . . .

Make sure to select a pumpkin that is meant for eating . . . such as a sugar pumpkin . . . they usually weigh 2 to 4 pounds. Select one that has good orange coloring and is heavy for its size. It should be firm, free of blemishes and have its stem intact. Pie pumpkins will yield approximately 1 cup of puree per pound of pumpkin.

Do not select the Jack-O-Lantern variety, which is not as sweet and has flesh that is tough and stringy.

Prepare your pumpkins by washing with cool water to remove and dirt and debris.

Remove the stem from the pumpkin and cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise.

Scrape out the seeds and stringy fibers from the center of the pumpkin using a metal spoon. Discard the stringy fibers and if preferred, the seeds can be saved to make roasted pumpkin seeds.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Coat the cut surface of the pumpkin halves with vegetable oil.  Place pumpkin halves cut side down in a roasting pan. Add 1 cup of water to the pan.  Roast for about an hour.  The pumpkins will be tender when they are done.

Scrape the flesh out of the pumpkin halves and discard the skins. The skins will peel off easily.  Place pumpkin flesh in a large bowl.  

Puree the pumpkin flesh using a hand mixer or potato masher.

Drain moisture from the puree by placing it in a sieve lined with paper towels or a double layer of coffee filters. Be sure the sieve is placed in a bowl to catch the liquid as it drains from the pureed pumpkin.  Cover the puree with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator and allow puree to drain for at least 2 hours. Drain overnight if possible.  After draining, the puree should be about the same consistency as commercially canned pumpkin and can be used in any pumpkin recipe calling for canned pumpkin.

The recipe below is for a traditional pumpkin pie. The pumpkin puree can also be used in any pumpkin recipe calling for commercially canned pumpkin. A 15 oz. can of pumpkin is equal to 1 3/4 cups of pumpkin puree.

What you need:
  • 1 Single Pie Crust, 9 Inch
  • 1 1/2 C. Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 Can Evaporated Milk
  • 3/4 C. Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp. Salt
  • 1 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp. Ground Allspice
  • 1/4 Tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 Eggs, Beaten
  • 1 Tsp. Vanilla
  • Whipped Cream For Serving

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine flour in with the brown sugar and stir until they are evenly distributed. Add the brown sugar and flour mixture to the pumpkin puree and heavy cream. Beat until well blended. Add the salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Stir into pumpkin mixture.  Add the beaten eggs and vanilla to the mixture.  Beat the eggs and vanilla into the mixture until thoroughly mixed.

Pour pumpkin filling into the unbaked pie shell.  Place the pie in the preheated oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.  Check after 30 minutes to see if it looks like the crust is going to brown too much. If so, place a piece of foil over the pie. Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking time so crust will finish browning.

To check for doneness, insert the tip of a table knife in about 1 inch from the center of the pie. The knife will come out clean if the pie is done.
Or, gently shake the pie and if about an inch of the center jiggles a little, the pie is done. The center will set from the heat of the pie after it is removed from the oven. If more than just the center jiggles, continue to cook and check for doneness at 5 minute intervals.

When the homemade pumpkin pie is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool completely before serving. Serve with a spoonful of whipped cream on each slice.

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