Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pumpkin pie anyone?

Sunday evening DIY Guy took me out for ice cream custard at Culver's.  
It was our anniversary.  Usually he takes me to McDonald's for a cone but this was a special occasion.  I actually really like McDonald's cones -- but Culver's custard is my fav.  
Standing at the counter, staring at my custard choices I sighed a not-so-silent, "I wish pumpkin was back".  Then the sweet young lady taking our order said, you can have pumpkin --- it comes out tomorrow, but we'll give it to you tonight."  

Pumpkin custard concretes rock!

If you are like me and like all things pumpkin flavored --- heed my warning -- there is a pumpkin shortage this fall.  I'm not kidding.  You can read about it here.  There is no Libby's canned pure pumpkin on the supermarket shelves.  No generic pumpkin, no organic pumpkin.  Zero pumpkin.

If you want pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving -- or a pumpkin torte like the one I blogged about here then you will need to do what I did tonight.

You will have to make your own.  
Yes, you will have to get all 
Martha Stewart, Betty Crocker and Susie Homemaker.

First . . .
You'll need to get yourself a couple sugar pumpkins at the Walmarts 

Then follow these easy steps:

Sugar pumpkins are VERY hard to cut through.

1.  So, very carefully cut some slits in the top of the pumpkin.  You'll need a very sharp knife.  Or a drill.  (I am not kidding)  This will let the steam escape.

2.  Next put the entire pierced pumpkin (they are quite small) in your microwave and cook on high for about 4-5 minutes.  Use an oven mit to remove -- they are HOT.

3.  Now it will be much easier to cut through the pumpkin. If it isn't, put it back and nuke it another minute or two.  Then... just peel or slice away the shell, or leave it on.  
Scoop out all the seeds and the stringy insides.  
Save seeds for next year's planting .... or for roasting.

4.  Put the pumpkin pieces (with or without shell) in a pot with a steamer and cover.
Steam for about 15 minutes until soft. Then scrape the soft pumpkin flesh into a bowl or to a plate.

5.  Just to be sure the pumpkin is cooked enough I like to put the cooked pumpkin (minus the shell) back in the steamer for another 5-10 minutes.  I'm neurotic like that.

6.  Next put the cooked pumpkin in a food processor and process until smooth.  This might take a few minutes.

Now you can cook with the pumpkin puree right away, or put in ziploc freezer bags and freeze for later.  I recommend measuring out the amount you need for your recipes and labeling the bags with the amount.

I actually did one more step after this. 
Sometimes the pumpkin can be a bit watery -- I covered this bowl of puree with cheese cloth and turned it upside down in a larger bowl to drain off the water.

Don't wait too long to get your pumpkins. -- I'm predicting that the stores are going to be short on the sugar (pie) pumpkins before long.  Do NOT use regular jack o'lantern type won't be happy with your results --- they will make a grainy puree.

Tomorrow I shall bake.  And buy more sugar pumpkins.
After all, what is fall - and Thanksgiving without pumpkin desserts?


  1. I actually did this last weekend! Made a pie and roasted the seeds! Totally pulled a PW.
    Do you know why canned pumpkin is such a darker orange though? That was our only hangup, the pie didn't have that dark orange appearance. It tasted fine and the recipe I used will need some tweaking, but it was not so aesthetically pleasing.

  2. As a person who likes pumpkin desserts as well -- I'm very happy you discovered the ways of the fresh pumpkin!


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