Nothing represents autumn comfort food to me more than a fresh pumpkin pie. This is a dish that brings back special memories of my two grandmothers when I was growing up and celebrating Thanksgiving or Christmas with them in Alabama. Those were some pretty special times that ended way too soon.
I absolutely love the smell and adore the taste of this autumn treat!
Ever since Audley & I made a trip looking for pumpkins in September, I have had a certain 13 year old daughter begging me for a pumpkin pie.
While this week isn’t the one to teach her how to make her own pie, I did take a break from preparing for the wedding I am catering this weekend and cook up a couple of pumpkins to use in some of my autumn baking.
At least this way, Madeline knows I haven’t forgotten her request!
I always thought cooking fresh pumpkin was difficult and so it took a while to build up confidence to cook my own instead of buying Libby’s in a can. Am I ever so glad that I got over that! Cooking pumpkin to puree is easy-peasy; the most difficult part is getting a knife through the skin to cut it in half!
So how do you cook a pumpkin?
First, make sure your kitchen is clean and ready for working. Nothing makes cooking more difficult than cluttered cabinets and a sink full of dirty dishes! Keeping a tidy kitchen makes all the difference in the world in keeping your prep space useful while you putter about the kitchen.
Secondly, make sure you are using a pumpkin that cooks up well, as all do not fit this category. These include the pretty white pumpkins, what I call a Cinderella pumpkin (blue), the squatty orange pumpkins, or the common sugar baby “pie” pumpkin. Any of these are delicious by themselves, but mixed with other pumpkin is just wonderful!
|While you can cook with “Jack-O-Lantern” pumpkins, they are not the best quality & are very tough!|
Third, using a sharp knife, cut your pumpkins in half. Scoop out the insides removing the strings and seeds. A metal ice cream scoop is perfect for this job. If you would like, save some of your seeds to roast for a tasty treat, or save some to plant for your own garden next summer.
Finally, place the pumpkin halves facing down on a cookie sheet, so that the skin is up top. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 45-5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. When you can handle it, the skin should easily peel away from the pumpkin, leaving the delicious pulp for you to puree.
Use your food processor or blender to puree the freshly cooked pumpkin.
See, I told you it was easy!
I measured out my pumpkin into two cup servings and stored it in Ziploc baggies for freezing.
What can I use this pumpkin puree for?
Besides the most flavorful pumpkin pie you will ev-ah taste, you can make pumpkin butter, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bread, or a scrumptious pumpkin cheese ball to use for any number of holiday gatherings this fall!
Stop back by next week for my scrumptious Pumpkin Butter recipe which can be used later in making pumpkin cheesecake! I might just share that luscious recipe as well!