October 22, 2006

This is my little 4 lb. pie pumpkin that I bought at the store the other day. I decided that I wanted to try to make a pumpkin pie, my favorite kind, totally from scratch…except for the crust.

I went online in search of a yummy recipe and found one at about.com. Excited about making the pie, and tired from working all morning, I failed to notice that the sweetener in this particular recipe is honey. I like honey, but it has its place, and as a sweetener in most baked goods is not it! Of course, by the time I noticed it, I was half-way through mixing everything together.
In case you have never made a pie from a pumpkin, I will explain the process…
First you have to cut open the pumpkin and remove the seeds and stringy stuff. If you don’t own a machete, good luck cutting open the pumpkin! We have a Wilkinson Sword and I thought for sure I was going to lose a finger. As I was scraping away the stringy stuff, my youngest came in and asked if she could help. I handed her a spoon and she began de-stringifying the piece I had given her. Next thing I knew, she had reached into the silverware drawer and pulled out a grapefruit spoon. Then, with that cocked-head look that only she can pull off, she said, “Wouldn’t this work better, Mom?” I just nodded and agreed…it’s best that way.
Once you have the thing cut into reasonble pieces, you coat the “inside” of the pieces with a light brushing of veggie oil, put them flesh-side down on a jelly roll pan and bake at 325 degrees F until the flesh is tender. I found for my 4 pounder, it was about 50 minutes. I also found that if I had cut the darn thing in half and put both pieces flesh side down, the guts would have been easier to puree. The edges sort of “seal” to the pan and create a steam bath causing the flesh to get super soft and juicy. Two of my four chunks did this. The other two were slightly more difficult to work with.
Once the flesh is softened, and cooled, you have to scrape it off the skin. The directions said to either mash it by hand, use a food processor (which I don’t have), or use a blender to puree the flesh. I tried the blender and the pumpkin just sat there, stubborn and untouched. I started mashing it by hand when my oldest asked if I could use “that thing you use to make applesauce.” He was referring, of course, to my food mill. We got it out and gave it a try. Much to his chagrin I rewarded his suggestion by “allowing” him to turn the handle while I scooped in the pumpkin. This turned out to be a very effective method for arriving at the desired consistency. My little pumpkin yielded about 4 cups of pumpkin puree.
Finally, the mixing and baking. I followed my recipe and had way too much filling, but it turned out pretty good. I am not a fan of honey for sweeting things that are traditionally sweetened with sugar, but it was tasty anyway, as is evidenced by the rather large missing portion shown below. I had intended to take a picture of the pie while it was whole, but I forgot. I made whipped cream to go on top and it was quite a hit for dessert tonight.
As I mentioned earlier, the only thing I did not make from scratch was the crust. I know how, but I do not find making pie crusts enjoyable. The package I bought had two crusts and I only made one pie this time…I guess I will have to make another one…oh, well! 🙂
This was quite an enjoyable experience and I will definitely do it again. Tomorrow my girls are going to toast pumpkin seeds…mmm!

One comment

  1. Carly, TERRIFIC! Looks like you had some fun making that pie…with everyone helping out! Was it as sweet as with sugar? Bet it was…A piece of pie with whipped cream sounds sooo good right now! Maybe I will get more bold and try this. It sure sounds like it wouldn’t be too hard of a task. AND, I also have a food mill!
    Really nice pics, too!

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