Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pumpkin (Pie) Party!

So let's travel back in time a bit to a week before Halloween, when Sister Heart and her roomies came over for a pumpkin carving party! When Sister Heart and I initially discussed this, she said "We can carve pumpkins and bake pumpkin things!"
"Like what?" says I, "I have never baked with pumpkin."
"Erm, I don't know," she says, "Pumpkin... pumpkin?"

I don't think you can get more pumpkin pumpkin than pumpkin pie from fresh pumpkin puree. Having never even tasted pumpkin pie before, not to mention never having baked with pumpkin, and my constant reminder to you all that I am kind of scared of baking, I was somewhat apprehensive, but this turned out AMAZING. Even after being stuffed from eating chili and minestrone, we managed to fit large slices of this pie (and heaping spoonfuls of fresh whipped cream) into that second belly that we all have that is reserved for dessert.

Note: The pumpkin purée does take about an hour and a half to prepare, so I just did this earlier in the day and then refrigerated the purée until we baked the pie after dinner. It made a bit more than I needed, so my pie was almost over flowing, but it was delicious anyway. I also used store bought pie dough (I feel no shame) but I would encourage you to use your own homemade variety, if you are so inclined. I bet you could easily get away with subsituting canned pumpkin in this pie as well.

Pumpkin Pie
from The Joy of Cooking with slight mods.
1 9" pie

1 unbaked pie dough (I used Pillsbury)
2 large eggs
2 cups cooked pumpkin purée (see recipe below)
1 1/2 heavy cream or evaporated milk (I used a can of evaporated milk and the rest in cream)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt

1) Position rack in center of the oven. Preheat to 425ºF.
2) Building up a fluted rim, line a 9-inch pie pan with the pie dough.
3) In a large bowl, whisk the eggs together. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk thoroughly.
4) Warm the pie dough in the oven until hot to the touch, leaving the filling at room temperature. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the crust and bake 35 -45 minutes, until firm. Cool complete on a rac. Pie can be refridgerated up to 1 day. Serve cold or at room temperature with fresh whipped cream.

Pumpkin Purée
from The Joy of Cooking
a little over 2 cups

1 small sugar pumpkin, ~ 3lbs

1) Preheat oven to 325ºF.
2) Wash and split the pumpkin into quarters with a cleaver or heavy knife. Cut out steam and scrape out stringy pulp and seeds. Cut each quarter down into 4-inch pieces.
3) Place pumpkin rind side down on an oiled cookie sheet and cover tightly with foil. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours until very soft.
4) Remove from oven and allow to cool until cool enough to handle. Scrape flesh free of the rind and purée in a food processor.
**Note: If the purée seems too loose and wet, you can allow it to strain through a cheesecloth for 30 -60 minutes. I didn't need to do this.

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