I did it on a whim; Trader Joe’s had those cute little sugar pumpkins, and they called to me in sweet little voices as I tried to walk past. Three of them ended up in my shopping cart. So tonight they fulfill their destiny and become pies. The old-fashioned way.
Here’s a photo to show you how adorable they were before I violated them. I include my coffee cup for scale; they’re not the teensy tiny little pumpkins you see on people’s desks at work at this time of year, but not anywhere near as big as most of the ones kids carve for Halloween.
Taking my cue from Farmer’s Almanac, I cut the pumpkins into big pieces, scooped out the goopy insides and put them on baking sheets, cut sides down. They baked at 350 for about an hour. And man, did my kitchen smell wonderful.
When they came out, I sliced the soft fleshy part out of the tough outer shell and piled it in a big bowl to chill.
Tonight, I put the pumpkin through my food processor in batches. Nice and creamy:
I freezer-bagged most of it in two-cup portions, since that’s about how much I use for one pumpkin pie. CurvyMama’s got Thanksgiving orders to fill, so this will come in handy, and give my customers bragging rights that they’re serving pumpkin pie made from fresh pumpkin (we can kick some ass when we decide to!). 🙂
I wish I had weighed my three little pumpkin friends before I cooked them, so I could tell you exactly how much raw vegetable to buy for a given yield. I was so enchanted with their cuteness that I got all wrapped up in taking their picture rather than their measurements. So I’m afraid that right now you’ll have to live with knowing just one half of the formula. Those three pumpkins produced 10 cups of pumpkin puree.
Okay. So let’s move on to what happened when I got the puree made. And here I have a short answer for you: nothing.
What I mean is that this is about where the special stuff (using fresh pumpkin, not Libby’s) stops and the regular stuff starts. Because I used the fresh-cooked pumpkin puree just like I would use the canned kind. I mixed it with the sugars, cream, half-and-half and spices, and poured it into a par-baked crust, and finished baking it. So the fun/different part is really in the handling of the fresh pumpkin.
I’ll tell you this, though: I can taste the difference. The pies I make with fresh pumpkin taste, well, more pumpkiny. [Note to the copy desk in my head and anywhere else: I know pumpkiny isn’t a word. But I’m not working on salary here, so go blow. I like it.]
So here’s my recipe, keeping in mind you can use canned in place of the fresh (and I know I will on plenty of occasions, when pressed for time):
- Dough for a 10-inch pie crust (If you use a 9-inch crust, you will have leftover filling. Pour it into a greased Pyrex custard cup and bake a nice little crustless snack for later.)
- 3 eggs
- 2/3 c. cup brown sugar
- 1/3 c. white sugar
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp. cardamom
- Pinch nutmeg
- A couple generous pinches of Kosher salt
- 3/4 c. heavy cream
- 3/4 c. half and half
- In a roomy bowl, beat the eggs and sugars together.
- Stir in the pumpkin puree, spices, cream and half-and-half. Chill while crust is par-baking.
- Roll out dough. Ease into 10-inch pie pan. Trim and crimp. Freeze while oven is preheating.
- Preheat oven to 425. Line dough with parchment and dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes at 425. Remove parchment and beans. Bake 4-5 minutes more.
- Turn oven down to 325.
- Retrieve the filling from the refrigerator. Slide out the oven rack with your pie crust on it, and ease the pie pan to the front edge of the rack. Pour in the filling, and ease the pie back into the center of the rack. Slide the rack back into place.
- Bake for about 50-55 minutes, until the center is just set, but still jiggles slightly. It will set fully as it cools on a baking rack.