Recipes and Entertaining

Pumpkins - More Than Decorations, Yummy To Eat

Image from  Great place to get your pumpkins. Find out all the different kinds.

Do you ever look at those beautiful orange globes, so prevalent this time of year, and wonder if you could cook with them?  The answer is YES, if you get the right kind.  Look for the small pumpkins called sugar pumpkins.  You can get them at roadside stands and even at chain grocery stores.  Once you have made a pie with fresh sugar pumpkin you will never go back to the canned, super processed paste that you have used for years.  The taste is so much more elegant and rich it will surprise you.  The first time I made a pie with fresh sugar pumpkin I was not quite sure that I liked it, it was so different.  Now I wouldn't think of using anything else.  

The easiest way to beat the sugar pumpkin into submission is to take a large carving knife and slice it into chunks on a cutting board.  Spray a microwave proof glass pie plate or dish with PAM, put the cut up bits on the PAMed dish and nuke it in 5 minute intervals.  Keep testing for doneness by sticking it with knife or fork.   The average pumpkin will take about 15 - 30 minutes depending on the size of the chunks to get the flesh nice and soft.  Then let it cool for at least 10 minutes ( this is very important unless you have asbestos fingers or enjoy second degree burns).  

Once the cooked bits are cool enough to handle it will be a breeze to remove the rind and seeds. (the seeds can be feed to the birds or dried and salted for a crunchy snack.)  Mush up the cooled, cooked fresh pumpkin and pack up in pint size containers to freeze or make a make a pie!  It freezes well and can be used for up to a year. In case you have no idea how to make a pie with pumpkin a fool proof recipe follows.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

1 unbaked 8 or 9 inch pie crust
2 - 2 1/2 cups cooked, mashed fresh sugar pumpkin
1 can condensed, sweetened milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves  
the spices should all be ground

Put the eggs and condensed milk in a blender or food processor and mix till smooth.  Add the mashed pumpkin and spices and blend till smooth.  Place the pie shell on a cookie sheet and fill with the pumpkin mix.  Cook at 425 for 15 minutes and then lower the heat to 350.  continue cooking for another 35-40 minutes.  Let the pie cool for 30 minutes.  Serve with fresh whipped cream.  YUMMMMMMMM.

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