Make pumpkin pie from fresh pumpkins

By April Hall
Info Guru,

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fresh pumpkin
Fresh pumpkin makes a delightful old-fashioned pie
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Make pumpkin pie from fresh pumpkins for a very special Thanksgiving dessert

What would the holidays be without food? While most children anticipate fun and games during the holiday season, most adults yearn for the succulent taste of momma’s good home cooking, where the only things store-bought are the ingredients and the only things that are fat-free are the containers they come in. 

Perhaps one of the most distinguishing aspects of good home cooking is the use of fresh fruits and vegetables instead of their canned counterparts.  If you are accustomed to cooking with canned fruits, cooking using fresh fruits and vegetables might require a few adjustments. For those aspiring to to become to masters in the kitchen, what better way to begin than with the basics of how to make pumpkin pie from fresh pumpkins.

Step 1 - Get your pie pumpkin

When making fresh pies from pumpkins, the selection of the right pumpkin is half the battle.  "Pie pumpkins" are smaller, sweeter, less grainy textured pumpkins than the usual jack-o-lantern types.  Grocery stores usually carry them in late September through December in the U.S. Just like selecting any squash, look for one that is firm, no bruises or soft spots, and a good orange color.

Step 2 - Prepare the pumpkin for cooking

Wash the exterior of the pumpkin in cool or warm water, no soap. Cut the pumpkin in half.  A serrated knife and a sawing motion works best - a smooth knife is more likely to slip and hurt you! A visitor suggests using a hand saw.

Step 3 - Scoop out the seeds...

And scrape the insides.  You want to get out that stringy, dangly stuff that coats the inside surface.  I find a heavy ice cream scoop works great for this.

Step 4 - Cooking the pumpkin

There are several ways to cook the pumpkin;  just choose use your preferred method.  Most people have microwaves, and the use the least energy, so I'll describe that here. But others make good arguments in favor of using a pressure cooker, steaming on the stovetop or baking in the oven. I’ll describe microwaving here, and at the end of this document, I’ve included alternative instructions to replace step 4, if you’d rather use a different method.

Remove the stem, and put the pumpkin into a microwaveable bowl. You may need to cut the pumpkin further to make it fit.  The fewer the number of pieces, the easier it will to scoop out the cooked pumpkin afterwards. Put a couple of inches of water in the bowl, cover it, and put in the microwave. 

Step 5 - Cook the pumpkin until soft

Cook for 15 minutes on high, check to see if it is soft, then repeat in smaller increments of time until it is soft enough to scoop the innards out.  Normally it takes 20 or 30 minutes in total.

Step 6 - Scoop out the cooked pumpkin

Using a broad, smooth spoon, (such as a tablespoon) gently lift and scoop the cooked pumpkin out of the skin.  It should separate easily an in fairly large chucks, if the pumpkin is cooked enough.

Step 7 - Puree the pumpkin

To get a nice, smooth consistency, I use a Pillsbury hand blender.  A regular blender works, too (unless you made a few frozen daiquiris and drank them first..). Or even just a hand mixer with time and patience.

Step 8 - Done with the pumpkin!

The pumpkin is now cooked and ready for the pie recipe.  Get the frozen daiquiris out from step 7 and take a break! :) You may freeze the pie filling.

Step 9 - Make the pie crust

Yes, I know there are ready-made pie crusts in the frozen section at the store, but they really are bland and doughy.  A flaky crust is easy to make!

Step 10 - Mix the pie contents
(enough for two pies, cut in half for just one!)

One quart cooked pumpkin
1 1/2 c. sugar
2/3 c. light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. nutmeg
4 eggs
1/2 tall can evaporated milk
2 c. milk

Step 11 - Bake the pie

Bake at 425 F  for the first 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 350 F and bake for another 45 – 60 minutes.

Step 12 - Cool the pie

Enjoy your delicious pie and enjoy the thrill of knowing you have to make a fresh pie from pumpkins!

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