Every year my sons (and daughter when she is here) declare that my pumpkin pie is the best in the world. I must confess: it is delicious.
Yesterday, after forgetting to get celery and pumpkin pie fixins’ I was planning out my Monday shopping trip to pick up the items I forgot yesterday.
My 20-year-old son buys organic pumpkin puree and keeps it in the pantry as a reminder that he wants me to make pumpkin pies whenever I can.
But I don’t use canned pumpkin puree in my pies.
I use something better: roasted sugar pumpkin.
And then it hit me; it is the roasting of the pumpkin that gives it that rich, most amazing flavor.
The years that I grew my own organic sugar pumpkins (above), of course, resulted in the best-tasting pies of all.
But this year I must locate a farm-grown sugar pumpkin for my Thanksgiving pies.
For those who don’t know, sugar pumpkins are a specific variety of pumpkin that has just what it says it has: more sugar in the flesh.
A few years ago I paid $.79 a pound for a sugar pumpkin. I have no idea what it will cost me this week.
Roasting a pumpkin
Prepare the pumpkin
Wash the entire outside of the pumpkin with room-temperature water and a vegetable brush. Dry with paper towels (or a clean cloth towel).
Cut the top of the pumpkin around the stem out, but not large as you would for carving a Jack-o-lantern. You want as much of the flesh to remain on the pumpkin as possible (it is precious, delicious, wondrous).
Cut the pumpkin in half down the center from top to bottom (not side to side). I use a large carving knife for this job.
Scrape out the seeds and strings, leaving as much flesh as you can. Do not be afraid of a few strings remaining.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Large baking dish (13×9 inch)
- cup of water (or more so there is about 1/4 inch of water in baking dish)
- 2 pumpkin halves
Pour water in baking dish and place pumpkin skin-side up, flesh facing down in the dish. (No need to oil the dish.)
Roast the pumpkin for an hour or more until the flesh is tender. It will change to a darker orange color throughout when it is completely cooked.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes (or until it is cool enough to handle).
Scoop out the flesh. It is easier than cutting off the skin which can result in wasted pumpkin (again, it is precious, delicious and wondrous).
Refrigerate until ready to use.
Pumpkin pies made with this roasted sugar pumpkin will knock your socks off. The recipe I use is below (comes from Joy of Cooking 1975 edition – a gift to me from my mom when I was 15 years old).
Makes one 9-inch pie (so I double the ingredients and make two pies, always).
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Pie shell (unbaked) in pie plate.
- 2 cups cooked pumpkin
- 1-1/2 cups cream, condensed milk or whole milk (I always use whole milk)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or allspice (I use nutmeg)
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 2 slightly beaten eggs
Directions using a mixer: Beat the cooked pumpkin first to break it down a little (I don’t puree it ). Combine all ingredients with a mixer. Pour mixture into pie shell(s) and follow the next part of the directions CAREFULLY:
Bake at 425 degrees F. for 15 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 45 minutes more or until knife comes out clean.
Serve with fresh whipped cream (whip heavy cream adding in teensy bit of sugar and vanilla after the initial whipping).
Give roasted pumpkin pie a try and let me know what you think.
Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate, and Happy holidays to all!
[Use any leftover pumpkin to make pumpkin pancakes. Yummy!]