Hey, Pencils. Guess who’s back? Back again. Rola’s back; tell a friend! Fall might bring shorter days and cooler nights, but it also brings seasonal favorites like Starbucks’ “PSL” (Pumpkin Spice Lattes), hot chocolate (don’t forget the ‘mallows, please), gingerbread, burning embers, leg warmers, leggings (they’re back!), and warm and fuzzy feelings. For this baking adventure, I wanted to tackle working with a pumpkin for the first time. I don’t know about you, but I love all things pumpkin and pumpkin-spiced, and for someone who’s a huge chocolate consumer, that’s saying a lot! So, first thing is first. What kind of pumpkins are used for baking/cooking? Well, the smaller varieties “pie pumpkins” are favored for cooking. The sweeter the pumpkin, the better. The pumpkin I used for this baking adventure was a smaller “pie pumpkin” and only cost a $1. Yep, one whole dollar buys you one whole pumpkin. Pocket-friendly. It’s not just an adjective, my friends. Now, if you don’t crave pumpkin pie after this, then I’m afraid I haven’t done my job… Scroll down for pictures, ingredients, recipe, blunders, and tips.
Rinse the outside of the pumpkin. You don’t know how many hands have come in contact with the pumpkin before your hands did…
Take a giant knife, one with ridges, and carefully cut the pumpkin in half. If this task seems a little daunting, have someone help you. When you cut open the pumpkin you’ll see its “brains” which are its fibrous strands and seeds. Need to brush up on your pumpkin anatomy? Click here. Remember the ice scream scooper? You’ll use that to scoop out the fibruous strands and seeds of the pumpkin. Remember, you want to get all of it out. You can place the contents in a bowl of cold water to separate the pumpkin seeds from the fibrous strands. Don’t throw the seeds away! You can roast them, or you can use them to plant your own pumpkins!
Let the pumpkin seeds sit in cold water while you continue tackling your pumpkin. Cutting open the pumpkin, cleaning it out, and then chopping it up into pieces are the hardest parts of making pumpkin pie from scratch. Everything else is easy!
So, it took you a while but you cut your pumpkin in half, scraped out the “brains”, and chopped it up into pieces. Good, now take a moment and appreciate how far you’ve come in the Baking Olympics against yourself…Here’s where you steam the pumpkin slices on the stove for 20-25 minutes or until they’re soft. >>WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! MAKE SURE THE WATER DOES NOT EVAPORATE! IF YOU HAVE TO EXTEND THE STEAM TIME, ADD MORE WATER. IF YOU DON’T, YOU’LL BE LEFT WITH PUMPKIN CONDENSATION AND DRIPPINGS ON THE BOTTOM OF THE POT THAT WILL BE AN ABSOLUTE NIGHTMARE TO CLEAN.<<
If you do inadvertently find yourself with burnt contents of the bottom of the pot now or later, here’s what secret weapon you’ll need: Coca-Cola. Take one can of Coke, and pour the coke on the bottom of the pot, heat for ten minutes, and then let cool for an additional minutes. The coke’s acidic properties will remove any unsightly gook right off. Now, if that’s what it does to the most stubborn of sticky food, imagine what it’s doing to your teeth. I’ve given up my once-in-a-blue-moon soda consumption. My dentist would be proud.
An ordinary pot and steam basket are all you need to cook the pumpkin slices/get the insides soft. When adding water, make sure the level does not exceed the basket. You don’t want the slices coming in contact with the water in the bottom of the pot.
After you’ve successfully steamed the pumpkin slices, use a spoon to separate the insides from out of the skin (rind). If you steamed the pumpkin slices long enough, the separation should be a breeze. Put the contents into a blender and blend until puree has a smooth texture.
After: Voila! Two fresh pumpkin pies! Cool, slice, and serve. Whipped cream, optional. I, personally, like my pumpkin pie without whipped cream. I don’t want anything taking away from its spiced goodness.
I’m pretty sure I ate half of this pumpkin pie on my own. Guilty. Guilty.
Note: I was able to make two, 9-inch pies, with the pie batter. Don’t throw away leftover batter. I used the leftover to make pumpkin french toast and pumpkin pancakes for breakfast the following day. Delicious!
1) One Pie Pumpkin
2) Sugar, 1 cup
3) All-Spice, 1 TBS
4) Ground cinnamon, 1 tsp
5) Nutmeg, 1 tsp
6) Ground ginger, 1 tsp,
7) Vanilla, 1 tsp
8) Four large eggs
9) Evaporated milk or regular milk (scalding). I didn’t have evaporated milk in my cupboard, so I went with the regular milk option, and it made no difference.
10) Salt, optional.
I played around with amounts of the ingredients. The above are starting points/benchmarks. Decrease or increase per your preference. Until next time…
XOXO Hugs & Pencil chatter,