Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin. I know this year we see everything pumpkin from oatmeal to coffee, but it all originally began with the pumpkin pie. You know what I’m talking about. Decadent aromas, indulgent texture, and the soothing sensation you feel as it comforts your taste buds. Many of you grow pumpkins, but have you actually used them to make a pie? Or did you reach for the canned puree that makes life so easy…
Me? I like easy. With two teenagers, a three thousand square foot garden and a writing career, I don’t have time for difficult. But I do MAKE time for pumpkin pie, and that includes making it from scratch. From a REAL pumpkin.
And yes, I’m talking about those pumpkins from your front porch step. In our effort to become less “environmentally wasteful,” the kids and I carve out our pumpkins, toss the stringy mess into the compost pile, and save the seeds for next year’s crop. But what do we do with the fleshy interior?
We commence to cookin! There’s a great recipe online from Pick Your Own that works like a charm. And it’s a heck of a lot easier than you would imagine. Once you completely carve the pumpkin, you cook it. We steamed our pumpkin stove top, but there are instructions for microwave and oven cooking methods, too. Because we didn’t have a steamer big enough, I put a metal colander inside one of my biggest pots, cut the pumpkin into large pieces, then covered it with tin foil. Twenty minutes later we had cooked, squishy pumpkin! It peels off the skin with little to no effort, then you place it into a big mixing bowl and add sugar (we used organic), spices, evaporated milk and eggs. The recipe is enough for two pies, unless they’re both deep dish.
Tip: Use a mixer. We didn’t, and ended up with cooked egg whites “floating” in our pies. While it didn’t affect the taste, it did detract from the appearance so be forewarned — in case you’re gifting your pies. We did cut corners a bit and used the store-bought prepared pie pastry, covering the edges with foil so they didn’t burn, which technically means we didn’t make our pie totally from scratch – but pretty close. And really, shouldn’t we let those who have perfected the business of pastry get the credit for doing so? An hour in the oven is all you need for delicious, homemade pumpkin pies! Check my recipe page for full details.
As to next year’s crop, keep in mind you’ll have to plant in June if you want pumpkins by Halloween, as it takes 3-4 months to reach maturity, and beware the rainy season. Pumpkins are susceptible to fungus and mold.