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Monday, November 8, 2010

Fresh Pumpkin Pie

If you remember, earlier this month Gabriel took a field trip to Rees Fruit Farm. Each of the kids was able to choose a pumpkin, and were told that it was the perfect size for a pumpkin pie. I kinda laughed it off when the tour guide told the kids to make sure to tell their parents this when they went home. I am not known for a love of cooking. But I promised Gabriel we would make a pie out of it, and I try my best to never break a promise. This Saturday, I rose to the challenge of making pumpkin pie from scratch, and I was so proud when the pie actually turned out!

If you've never cooked a pumpkin before, it is quite a fun experience. You start by cutting the pumpkin open, and scraping and scooping out all the seeds and goop inside. It's very gross, but must be done. I tried to use my ice cream scoop, but it ended up that a regular spoon worked just as well. You can save the seeds to plant later, or add a little salt and bake them in the oven. A very tasty snack! After you've gotten all the goop scraped out, you can cut your pumpkin into smaller pieces so they fit inside a ovenproof container (with a lid). Set your oven temp to 350º, and cook for between 45 and 90 minutes. My oven cooked the pumpkin after about 50 minutes. You can test it periodically by sticking it with a fork to see if it's soft. Once it's cooked, it practically falls out of the skin in fairly large chunks.

fresh cooked pumpkinWith a hand blender, I pureed the pumpkin in just 2 or 3 minutes. You may freeze this to use later in a pie filling, or it's ready to use right now. I'm told fresh pumpkin tastes so much better in a pie than canned, however this is my first pumpkin pie I've ever made, so I really can't be a good judge. I thought it was wonderful! Just in case you looked at the picture below, and thought it was still chunky, this picture was taken before I pureed it.

Pictured below is all that is left of Gabriel's pumpkin. He cried when he saw it, and said, "I didn't even get to say goodbye. I'm going to miss that pumpkin." He was so funny. He slept with his pumpkin each night, and even carried it to church one time because he just loved it so much and he would miss it if he left it at home. It was only in a moment of weakness, that he threw me the pumpkin and said "Fine! Make a pie out of it" So he was keeping his promise to me too, by letting me cook the pumpkin.

oven baked pumpkin Now for the pie crust. This is only my second time making a pie. I really am not a cook at all. My first pie I made was a couple months ago, and it was a peach pie. I had to make the pie crust 2 times then, because the first just didn't turn out. Yes, it went into the trash can, and I started over. And the second one, I still wasn't extremely happy with the result. This was a new pie crust recipe that I tried, and I really thought it turned out good.

Flakey Pie Crust
1.5 cups flour
2 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/6 cup cold shortening ( a useful conversion: 1/6 cup = 2 tbs + 2 tsp)
1/3 cup cold butter
1/4 cup cold water

Mix all ingredients except for water. Don't make it too smooth or uniform. Little pea sized granules makes a flakey crust. After it's mixed, sprinkle in the water, just enough to make it stick together.

Roll out the dough to an even thickness, about an inch or two wider than your pie pan. A trick I found after I threw away my first crust I made last time, put the dough between two pieces of wax paper before rolling it out. You may need to lightly flour the wax paper too. This made it much easier to be able to pick it up and place it in the pan. And if it breaks, you can easily fix it. As you can see from the picture, mine is far from perfect looking.
Pumpkin Pie

1 cup sugar
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
4 large eggs
3 cups pumpkin
1.5 cans (12oz) evaporated milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix well all ingredients. Then you just pour into your pie crust. I had a little bit extra and added it to a small baking dish. Don't worry if the mixture is really runny, it will firm up. Bake the pie at 425º for the first 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 350º and bake another 45 to 60 minutes. You can test the pie by inserting a clean knife into the center to check if it comes out clean.
This recipe made a wonderful, heavenly pumpkin pie. I have managed in a few days time to eat almost the entire thing by myself. I maybe gained a few extra pounds, but it has been worth it. Pumpkin pie is one of my very favorite desserts from this time of year. Normally, I run to the store and buy a $3 pumpkin pie from Wal-Mart, however now that I've made it from scratch, I don't see how I'll ever be able to go back. I will, however, probably just use canned pumpkin the next time, since pie pumpkins are a little hard to come by in the stores now.

pumpkin pie from scratch
It was so delicious!!

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