In the morning, it was a pumpkin. By evening, it was a pie.
Since my website seems to not be supporting images any longer (I’ve been having trouble with my host, will be finding a new one when I have time. So… next month, late) I have put the photos in a Flickr album.
Step 1: Find a pie pumpkin. This is important, as a pumpkin is not always suitable for pie. Jack-o-Lantern pumpkins have coarse, fibrous insides.
Step 2: Remove seeds and roast pumpkin. I cut mine in half, seeded it (take all the stringy bits out, too, they aren’t tasty) and roasted it at 325 for an hour (alongside other things being baked for Thanksgiving).
Step 3: Process the pulp. I use a food mill, which purees the pulp, and removes any stray skin or seeds.
Step 4: reduce the water content. I put the pulp (there was about 2 cups, from the little pumpkin I was using) into a saucepan and cooked it down, stirring often, over medium heat until it was thick and starting to caramelize (you’ll wind up with about 1 1/2 cups). Remove from heat.
Step 5: Add in sugar and spices, mix well. You will want 3/4 cup sugar, a teaspoon of salt, and for the infamous pumpkin pie spice: a teaspoonful of cinnamon, one of ginger and if you have it, an eight of a teaspoon of mace. That’s what it’s all about, folks, all the fuss and pother over cinnamon and ginger. But I digress.
Step 6: Whisk together one cup of cream (or just use all milk, but the cream is worth it in the flavor department), one-half cup milk, and two eggs. Once this is homogeneous, pour it into the pumpkin mixture, whisking until smooth and even.
Step 7: Pour the custard into an unbaked 9″ pie shell.
Step 8: Slide carefully into a preheated 400 deg F oven, and set the time for 30-45 minutes. Pie is done when still ‘wobbly’ in the center. Remove and let cool on a rack, the filling will finish setting up.
Step 9: Serve with whipped cream or ice cream on top!
You will note that the pie is much paler than the kind you make from a can. That’s because the ‘pumpkin’ in a can is actually squash. Pumpkin flesh is yellow, while squash is more orange, which is what people expect. But this pie tastes oh, so good! And you could, of course, make it with butternut or acorn squash, as well.