One of my earliest food memories as a child is of pumpkin pie. The creamy texture and mild flavors just make my heart and my taste buds melt.
You have to get the seasonings just right for pumpkin pie. I don’t like the frozen store pies that are loaded with cinnamon and nutmeg. The spice should be very subtle, just a note to accompany the orchestra.
Only pie will do for me. Fakers need not apply. No pumpkin pie-ish shake, cheesecake, or cookie will ever cut it in my book.
In my years of playing with recipes, I have come to realize that the best pumpkin pie is made from fresh processed pumpkin and simple ingredients.
If you have never cooked and processed your own pumpkin before there is no better time to start. The holidays are just around the corner and pie pumpkins are abundant in the store. Pie pumpkins are small yet heavy for their size. They yield more and sweeter flesh than the pumpkins you buy to make jack-o-lanterns. A larger pumpkin will work if that is all you can find.
You will need 2 small pie pumpkins or one largish regular pumpkin for 2 pies.
If you can’t find a suitable pumpkin, you can always make sweet potato pie. The process is identical and the recipe is very similar.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
To process your pumpkin you will need 2 13×9 pans. Cut your pumpkins in half and scoop out all the seeds and goopy innards. Just get as much as you can, don’t worry about making it look perfect.
Pour about 1 inch of water into the bottom of your pans. For a larger pumpkin, you want to cut it into smaller chunks. Place your pumpkin pieces flesh-down into your pans. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until you can stick a fork into the skin. (It’s like testing potatoes, the pumpkin will be soft and the fork will just slide through)
Let the pumpkin cool until you can handle the pieces. Peel the skins off slowly. When you have all the chunks ready you are going to process the flesh with a blender or food processor. A potato masher will work but you won’t get the pumpkin as fine as canned pumpkin.
I store my pumpkin in canning jars in my fridge until I am ready to make my pies. Usually 2 pie pumpkins will yield 3-4 pint jars. This is more than you will need for 2 pies but I use the extra in my baking. Try making these Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins with your leftovers.
2 deep dish pie crusts
3 1/2 cups pureed pumpkin
2/3-1 cup raw organic sugar
2 tsp freshly ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups fresh raw cream (more if you want to make whipping cream)
*you can substitute half and half for the cream
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
In a large bowl combine pumpkin, sugar, eggs, and spices. Mix thoroughly.
While stirring or beating on low, slowly add cream 1/2 cup at a time.
Pour 1/2 of the mixture into each pie crust.
Bake for 50 minutes or until center of pie no longer wiggles when you shake it gently.
Are you wondering about the crust? The truth is, I cheat. However, there are some great organic crust recipes out there. Here are two:
- One with white flour from The Day After An Inconvenient Truth
- One that uses whole wheat flour from Food.com