Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pumpkin Puree


I use pumpkin in soap and skin care, but I would love to be able to make my own pumpkin instead of buying the cans! I going to go to pumpkin patch this weekend (provided it isn't snowing).

It is pumpkin harvest time! Meet my pumpkin harvest! My one and only pumpkin! The perfect size for a pumpkin pie!

Pumpkin pie is the EASIEST pie to make! Simply whisk together a few ingredients with pumpkin puree, pour into a pie shell and bake! ANYONE, armed with a whisk, bowl, and a pie plate (with home made or ready-made pie crust) can make a pumpkin pie!

I have even included my recipe for Diane's favorite pie at the bottom of the post so you will have no excuse to avoid making one! (Unless, of course - GASP!@*#%??!! - you don't like pumpkin pie!

But first I want to show you how easy it is to make your own pumpkin puree!

You can use canned pumpkin puree, but why not pick up a lovely little sugar pumpkin while you are at the farm this month picking out the perfect candidate for your jack-o-lantern! Believe it or not, canned pumpkin puree is usually not made from pumpkins but rather other squash family members more suited to commercial canning.

So, if you are feeling adventurous, try roasting your own pumpkin for pie! If not - there are millions of cans of puree on the shelves right now!

To Roast your pumpkin:

1. Select a SUGAR PUMPKIN about 6 to 8 inches in diameter. Do NOT try to roast your jack-o-lantern! The pulp is way too watery for a pie.

2. Cut pumpkin in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. (Use the seeds for snacks or for stringing necklaces.)

3. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil and spray the surface with Pam.

4. Place the pumpkin halves, cut side down, on the cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for approximately one hour.

5. Using a couple spatulas, turn the squash over and let cool on the cookie sheet until cool enough to handle.

6. Scoop the flesh out of the shell into a food processor.

7. Process until the mixture is totally smooth.

Like this!

8. If your processor has a large enough capacity, you can finish mixing your filling right in the processor bowl. If not, transfer the processed pumpkin to the mixing bowl as instructed below in the recipe.

9. Pureed pumpkin can be used in muffins, pancakes and soups. I usually bake several sugar pumpkins at a time and freeze in one cup containers for use throughout the winter.

Recipe for Diane's Favorite Pumpkin Pie

This recipe has been adapted from the pumpkin pie recipe which appeared on the back of Libby's pumpkin puree when she was a very little girl!

I have tried many versions since - with bourbon, with chocolate, with cream cheese -but always return to the delight of a simple, straight forward, old fashioned pumpkin pie!

Whisk the ingredients together in a large bowl in the order they are listed

2 eggs, whisked until beaten together but not foamy

2 cups pumpkin puree. ( Use one 15 oz. can pumpkin puree if you prefer.)

1/4 cup dark brown sugar*

1/2 cup granulated sugar*

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 2/3 cup evaporated milk or half and half **

Pour into a 9" unbaked pastry shell. ***

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for about 45 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool to room temperature before diving in!

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