Ahh, Fall! don’t we love it? The crisp air, the brilliant colors in the trees and most of all the food. Fall is the official change from light summer fair to comfort food and what says comfort more that pumpkin? Pumpkin spice is everywhere this time of year. From coffee to doughnuts to room fresheners. Everyone seems to want to experience the season to its fullest.
And then the actual pumpkins arrive. Every year people come to me for a better recipe for pumpkin pie. And my answer is: If you want an “over the top” pumpkin pie, you need to cook the pumpkin. Now I’ve heard many, many, T.V. chef’s say that pie from canned pumpkin is no different from pie from a fresh pumpkin. My experience is that there is nothing further than the truth. Pie from a fresh pumpkin never seems quite as bitter. It’s creamier. It’s lighter. And every year Jeff begs me for it.
How do I cook a pumpkin? Glad you asked. You can use any size. Yep, you heard me. Any size. My theory is that this is such a project that I only want to do it once. So instead of carving my Halloween pumpkin, I cook it! This year I’ll make 16 pies, or cakes or batches of pumpkin bars. I’m ready for the entire season.
How to cook a pumpkin. Start with any size. Please be sure to wash it thoroughly.
Next, use a large very sharp knife and cut it into quarters. Cut the quarters, once again if you’re using one as large as I did. Use a spoon and a pairing knife to scrape the seeds and strings until the pumpkin flesh is clean.
Line two cookie sheets with foil, place the pieces, flesh side down and pour 1 cup of water into the pan.
Bake at 400 degrees for one hour. I had to do this in two batches. You knew the pumpkin is done when the skin bubbles and you can easily stick a fork into it; kind of like you would a baked potato.
Let it cool, then remove the skin. It should peel right off. Place the pumpkin flesh into a food processor or if you don’t have one you can use a blender. I did for years.
Blend it up!
If it seems a little dry you can add just a little water. But very little.
Bag it in freezer bags at 2 cups per bag and freeze. It will keep for 6 months. Defrost in your fridge, overnight and you’ll have fresh, luscious pumpkin pie or whatever you want, all season long. Enjoy!!
Grace and Peace!