Pumpkin pie is a holiday treat associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas. One of our family traditions is to make pumpkin pie from scratch; meaning, we make it with our own pumpkin and eggs, mix and spread our own pie crust and measure our own spices. There are several advantages to making your own pumpkin pie. One is that pumpkins can be dirt cheap or free in the fall and winter. Another advantage is that the one who makes their own filling can adjust spices and sweetening to their own taste. Our family typically goes a lot lighter on cloves, sugar and cinnamon than do those who make the pies for the grocery store. We like to be able to actually taste the pumpkin and find commercial pies way too sweet.
A lot of squash will make as good or better pie than the Jack O’Lantern Pumpkin.
It’s true. In fact, “pumpkin” is really a very nebulous term. If you want to make a “pumpkin pie” from scratch, but you have to purchase a “pumpkin,” a butternut squash might make the better pie. Butternut and its relatives, all from the c. moschata family, are some of the best. Hubbard and Delicious are c. maxima species squash which also have outstanding flesh quality, and… they make fantastic pumpkin pie.
First, you need to prepare your squash.
Wash and rinse it, to eliminate possible contamination when cutting it. Then, cut the pumpkin in half.
Once halved, seeds should be removed. My favorite tool for this task is a gravy ladle.
You can save the seeds, removing them from the attached pulp, salt and roast them for an additional treat. When you make pumpkin pie from scratch This is one of the perks!
Place the halves on a cookie tray, face down and bake at 350 F. till very soft.
Be sure the cookie tray has edges all the way around, as most squash will leak a lot of liquid when baked. When done, let the pumpkin halves cool and then scoop out the flesh. Extra pumpkin can be bagged and frozen for future use. See Four Reasons Large Squash are Better. You’ll want 3 cups or slightly more to make two pumpkin pies.
Pie isn’t the only way to use cooked pumpkin. Try pumpkin soup!
Scoop out 3 cups cooked pumpkin and place in a blender. Also keep the oven at 350 F.
Additionally, you’ll want to have on hand:
- 3 eggs
- 1 can of condensed milk (regular milk will also work)
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons powdered cinnamon
- sugar, either brown or white, between 1/2 and 1 cup, depending on your preference
- Two 8″ pie crusts (in another blog we’ll talk about making your own pie crusts)
Blend this all up and pour into the pie crusts and plates. Then place the uncooked pumpkin pies into the oven. At this point they should look like pumpkin pies but be really soupy.
Now, you need to cook your pies.
Bake them until they’re done. It’ really hard to predict how long this will take. Count on an hour, but don’t be surprised if it takes a little longer. First, they’ll smell done. After another half hour they should actually be finished.
When the pies are fully baked, set them out to cool. You’re done!
Once you’ve starting making your pumpkin pie you can experiment with the spices and sweetening, to find your own favorite mix. Remember, pumpkin pie doesn’t have to desert, consider having it as a breakfast food too!