Sunday, November 21, 2010

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

Sometimes, I like to do things the "old fashioned" way; imagining how my mother, grandmother, and most importantly, my great grandmother did it without the use of food processors or a KitchenAid stand mixer.  Equipment that makes my life easier, although I'd like to think if I wanted to bake and didn't own any of them, I'd have the know-how to accomplish any recipe.

Yesterday, I looked at the sugar pumpkins I bought and decided to challenge myself to make a fresh pumpkin pie instead of using canned pumpkin.  I've made one before with my Mom so I know the tricks of working with pumpkin and I knew it would be delicious!

Pumpkins were plentiful this year and priced very well.  They're grown all over the world, but it's only in the United States that we carve the larger ones into Jack-O-Lanterns--which is too bad because pumpkins provide a lot of beta carotene and the sugar pumpkins make great soup and pies.  The "Cheese variety" of sugar pumpkin, which is a little flatter than the regular ones and grown in New England, makes the best pies, but the ones I used here in the Pacific Northwest would have to do.
It took four sugar pumpkins to provide the two cups of pumpkin puree needed for the pie, but they baked up quickly and before I knew it I was scraping the bright orange flesh from the roasted skins to cool for the filling.  Since I had also made up disks of pie dough, I made the pie in less than 15 minutes and had in the oven to bake for tonight's dessert.

Let me take you through the steps and encourage you to try using fresh pumpkin the next time a recipe calls for it.

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie
2 cups pureed pumpkin (about 3-4 sugar pumpkins)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 T. King Arthur unbleached All-purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground cardamon
1 1/2 cups (12 fl.oz) Evaporated milk
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 T Lyle's Syrup
3 large eggs, beaten
Preheat oven 400F-degrees.
Slice the pumpkins in half and remove the seeds and scrape out the fibrous portion inside.  Place the pumpkins, upside down on a baking sheet.

Place the pan in the preheated oven, then pour boiling water into the pan up to 1-inch.  I lightly cover the pumpkins with aluminum foil to create a steam tent.  Bake 30-40 minutes or until the tip of a paring knife easily goes into the pumpkin.  Remove pan and cool completely.
When cool enough to handle, use a large spoon to scrape the pumpkin meat from the shell.  Place the pumpkin into a cheesecloth-lined collander.
Bring the sides of the cheesecloth together and squeeze the pumpkin to release all the water.  Because pumpkin is in the squash family, it's not different than zucchini with the amount of water it releases.
Place in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
I want to show you the difference between the fresh and can pumpkin.  The fresh is on the right!

Preheat oven to 400F-degrees.  Remove a pie dough disk from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured board.  Roll out, turning 90-degrees each time to form a circle.
Use the rolling pin and roll the dough over to place it in the pie pan or dish.
Flute the edges, then place it in the refrigerator to chill while you make the filling.
 Place the pumpkin, sugars, flour, salt, and spices in a large bowl and stir to mix.  In a 4 cup measure, add the milk, eggs, vanilla extract and Lyle's syrup.  Whisk to combine.  Add a little at a time to the pumpkin mixture and stir to incorporate.  Once it starts to thin out, add the remaining.
Pour into the prepared pie shell and place on a baking sheet.  
Bake 45-50 minutes until the center is set 2-inches from the sides and the middle is still a little jiggly.
Cool completely before serving.

I even whipped the cream using just a whisk.  I placed about 1 cup heavy cream in a bowl, whisking it until soft peaks occurs.  Place 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 tsp. honey in the cream and whisk again.  Serve on top of the pie.

I realize with busy schedules, it takes a little longer to make a pie, the old-fashioned way, but isn't it nice to know you could the way our ancestors did--and isn't that what Thanksgiving is?  Remembering those who came before us and forged this great nation--food and all.  Enjoy!



  1. Yum, I bet that was delicious :)

  2. Susan,
    I am catching up on your blog - once again - this fall and now snowy winter have flown by.
    Your pumpkin pie looks amazing - I am in charge of the pies for thanksgiving this year (my favorite dessert and holiday). I will make a pumpkin pie (using canned pumpkin :( ), a pumpkin cheesecake, and my favorite - apple pie.
    thanks for the inspiration - thinking of you a ton


  3. oh favorite pie.once I get the courage to tackle pie making ( with your crust recipe of course) this will be the first pie I try .