But pumpkin pie is one of Dave's favorite and I was just waiting for the right time to ditch the frozen Pillsbury crust and the canned pumpkin pie filling and go for the gold - completely from scratch. Let's see how it went:
Prepping and Cooking the Pumpkin
After giving it a good washing, I cut the pumpkin in half with a large knife (be careful, this can be a bit tricky). Next, I scooped out the seeds and all the stringy things in the middle (an ice cream scoop worked out GREAT for this). Then, I preheated the oven to 425 degrees, placed the pumpkin halves face down on a jellyroll pan, and popped them in the oven for 45 minutes. Once the pumpkin is cooked, I let it cool on top of the stove for about an hour. So far, so good...
Making Pumpkin Puree
It turns out, when the pumpkin is cooked, the shell peels right off (with a little help from a paring knife). Once I made sure all the shell had been removed, I cut it into smaller pieces and dropped about a cup at a time into the blender (a food processor would probably do a better job, but I don't have one). I did my best to make a nice smooth consistency with the pumpkin, but I still ended up with a few little chunks, but I fixed that later in the process...
Making the Pie
I used the same pumpkin pie recipe (McCormick's recipe) that I always use and just substituted 2 cups of my homemade puree for the 15 oz of canned. Here's where I realized that my puree was much thinner than the stuff that comes out of the can. I was hoping this would work itself out with a little extra cooking time...
Knowing that there were a few pumpkin lumps still in the filling, I tried to use a strainer to filter it as I was pouring it into my shell (more on the shell in a moment). It turns out there were WAY too many lumps, so I just poured all the filling back in the blender and let it run for a few minutes (the mixer we have has a "liquefy" button, which is what I used). Ahh, finally, the filling was nice and smooth.
To be sure, I still poured the filling into the pie crust with that hand-held strainer between the two, but there were no lumps and the filling fit just perfectly into my pie crust, which also from scratch using this recipe (something else I'd never made from scratch before).
Baking the Pie
Ok, this was the tricky part. The recipe I usually use for making pumpkin pie calls for baking at 425 for 15 minutes and then dropping the temp to 350 for an additional 40 minutes. But my homemade puree was much thinner in consistency than the stuff that comes out of a can, so I really had to pay attention. I did the first 15 minutes at 425, then dropped the temp to 350 for an additional 40 minutes, then I checked it every 10 minutes there after for about another 30 minutes until I was sure it was done (when a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean).
From the start, I could see the crust was going to get too dark on the top, so I cut up some aluminum foil and wrapped it around the edges of the pan. This seemed to help. I'm pretty sure it would have been burned otherwise, since it was in the oven so much longer than usual.
Serving the Pie
Of course, this is Dave's favorite part (actually, eating it is his favorite) and what is pie without some fresh whipped cream? So I whipped up a container of organic heavy whipping cream into a light topping and voila! Homemade 100% from scratch pumpkin pie (using local eggs and pumpkin). The verdict? A big smile from the hubby with every last bite! Oh, and Kelsey approves of the whipped cream, too!
Pshew! Ok, so it took more than 3 hours and my kitchen looked like a war zone by the time I was done, but it was definitely worth it - a sweet success!
Any tips out there for making pie out of fresh pumpkin? Should I have cooked the filling before putting it in the crust to thicken it first?...