OK it goes like this. We waited to long to get a Halloween pumkin so we couldn’t find anything we could turn into a Jack’o Lantern. So we have two tiny pumkins that I thought, as they haven’t had candles in them I’d make into Thanksgiving pies.
Now…how do I do this? How do I render these adorable innocent little gourds into something I can pour into a pie crust? What do I add (all my cookbooks, like my life, are in storage)?
Techniques? Recipes? For which I will give thanks.
I hope I’m not raining on your parade, but be warned that it might not taste as good as it should–there are a lot of varieties of pumpkins, and they are grown for jack-o-lanterns, for decorative purposes, or for cooking. If you’ve got a pretty pumpkin and not a tasty pumpkin, it might not come out as yummy. But hey, why not give it a whirl?
Hmmm…I don’t know what kind of pumpkins these are. They’re small and not Jack 'o Lanterny like, more like the sugar pumpkins in the picture. How do you tell? Well I’m giving it a wirl anyway. Thanks for the links.
Any other recipe advice still appreciated. I bought some cream and “pumpkin pie spices” (cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger).
The way that I’ve found easiest to cook and cut up pumpkin is more reflected in your first link. The cutting up raw and boiling is a very time consuming task. What I’ve found to be easier is cutting the pumpkin in 1/2 and turning the cut side down on a cookie sheet and then baking. Turning cut side down keeps the moisture inside and prevents the pumpkin from drying out.
I’ve made pumpkin pies on many occasions from scratch. Basically, just cut the pumpkin into quarters or eighths and roast @ 350-400 F until soft (at least an hour, sometimes almost two). When they are done, I place them into a cheese cloth and squeeze as much moisture out of them as possible. Use then as you would pumpkin puree in your pie recipe.
When I make pumpkin pie (and I seriously make the best damn pumpkin pie) I cheat: I use butternut squash. Richer, sweeter, smoother. (Like me! Oh, cept the richer part. And not so smooth either. So OK, not like me. But still.)
Years ago, when I was living in Berlin, I used to have an annual Thanksgiving party and invite German and American friends…it was always a big hit. One year, an American woman and I decided to make pumpkin pies from scratch, using my trusty Joy Of Cooking book recipe. Germans have great bakeries and pastries, but they have pretty much never heard of a pie, and just finding a few pie plates took some work (we bribed a few nice local GI’s to get them from the PX).
We should have just bribed them to buy the damned pies.
It took forever to make two pies! Cutting up the pumpkins, scraping them, cooking them, making the filing, making the crusts…I will NEVER make another pumpkin pie from scratch again!
And after all that work, and then making the whipped cream by hand, the pies were consumed in about 13 seconds.
Yes, they were quite tasty - but to be honest, Sarah Lee does a fine job as well, and hers is a hell of a lot easier.
True. And that’s exactly how I ended up making pumpkin pies from scratch–celebrating Thanksgivings abroad, and it’s a bit difficult to find Libby’s overseas. The worst was when one year I had just spent about 2 hours roasting the damned pumpkins (actually, they were usually butternut squashes, although occassionally you could find green-skinned pumpkins with orange flesh, too), squeezed them through the cheesecloth, put in the egg yolks, cream, sugar, etc to complete the filling and, while adjusting the sweetness, I ran out of brown sugar and ran to the cupboard for white sugar, dumped about half a cup in, and tasted it only to realize 'twasn’t sugar. 'Twas salt. :smack:
Back to the market, back to another few hours roasting squash. Good thing I made the pie the day before.
It’s actually not really all that much work–it’s just a lot of waiting, and a little bit of scraping and squeezing. For the crust, I cheat: just make a cookie crust by pulverizing ginger snaps/graham crackers/whatever and mixing it with melted butter until it holds together. Line a pie pan with this and, voila, simple, idiot-proof crust that tastes great!
Although these days I think sweet potatoes make a better “pumpkin” pie than pumpkins.
All the pumpkin pie recipes I’ve seen don’t actually include very much pumpkin; the filling is mostly egg and milk(or cream), so I ignore them and make it up as I go along - usually adding about two-thirds pumpkin puree to one third eggs/milk/sugar. This seems to result in a nice spongy, puffed-up texture to the filling.
I decided to make pumpkin pie from scratch a couple of years ago. The bottom line: It takes hours, makes a huge mess, but if you do everything right- You get a pie that tastes like one from the grocer’s freezer. Never again.
Thanksgiving abroad story: my husband was in South America, and he and his buddy got a recipe and begged their mamita (the lady they lived with who cooked their food so’s they wouldn’t die) to make a pumpkin pie. Since she’d never seen a pumpkin pie, she made it with a double crust, but it was delicious.
You can also just cut the pumpkin in half and cook it in the microwave. Put the cut sides down in a large lasagne pan and cover with plastic wrap. Start with about 10 minutes and check to see if they are done by sticking a knife in. It should slide in easily. When they are cool, just scoop out the seeds with an ice cream scoop. Then scoop the pumpkin out of the shell and puree it in a food processor or blender.
Just to chime in with everyone else. My best friend’s family makes EVERYTHING from scratch. They have bookcases full of cookbooks and cooking is their main expertise and love. So I asked her mom for a pie recipe that I could use on my pumpkins that I had at home. I thought it would be a fun project and anything made from scratch always tastes better right? She told me, “Don’t do it!” She said they have tried several different kinds of pumpkins and recipes for it and it always turns out like crap. She told me to definitely stick with Libby’s.
Most “pumpkin” pie and “pumpkin” pie filling is made with buttercup squash, so it’s not all that likely that you’ll be able to turn up something you recognize with just pumpkins - especially if they’re not sugar pumpkins.
On the other hand, pumpkin is fabulous curried thai style.
I had a couple of small unidentified pumpkins as well, but since I learned back in high school how great made-from-scratch pumpkin pie isn’t, I made a side dish to go with a roast, instead. I peeled (with a vegetable peeler, surprisingly enough), seeded and sliced a small pumpkin into 1/4 inch slices, then sauteed it in a little butter with thinly sliced onion and some fresh thyme. When it was all browned and slightly carmelized and delish, I added half a bag of frozen peas, salt and pepper to taste and heated it through. It was amazingly yummy - much better than dumb ol’ pumpkin pie. (It’d have been great with some curry powder, too.) I had no idea you could do pumpkin on the stovetop, but it softened up nicely and the browned bits were awesome.