||[Nov. 3rd, 2008|11:18 pm]
If anyone ever tells you about happy childhood memories, helping out in the kitchen to roast pumpkins and make pie from scratch with their mom... it's a load of bull.|
I now understand why canned filling is practically ubiquitous. Dealing with pumpkins is quite a chore. The goal, at least for pie making, is to end up with a puree. Kit did the honors of scooping out the insides and cleaning them. Even once they've been roasted, the oversized gourds don't want to blend.
Sure, if I had a BlendTec, the answer to "Will it blend?" would be "Yes." With a Cuisinart, the answer is "Slowly and painfully." The secret, such as I can tell, is to use a good drizzle of oil to help it along. Not like you're making an emulsion (pumpkin aoili?) but just to lubricate the chunks and get them to swirl around.
Now the pie's out on the countertop, cooling. It's the first time I've ever made a pumpkin pie from scratch. (Well, okay, store-bought crust. So never mind.) We'll see tomorrow if the result is worth the effort expended.
The secrets of pumpkin cookery....
1) Not all pumpkin is the same, there are varieties raised to be good jack-o-lanterns and the ones that are grown to be huge are often stringy.
2) The best variety for pie is actually called 'sweetie pie' and they're meaty little pumpkins with thick smooth skin. Small pumpkins make better pies... trust me on this.
3) The best way to prepare pumpkin for pie is to scoop it out, cut it into strips, pare the skin away, cut into chunks like butternut squash, and then boil the chunks of pumpkin flesh until it is canned-squash consistency. If you want designer pie, toss a couple of whole cloves and a small stick of cinnamon into the pot while it simmers. It's just like making squash - you know you can buy a little bag of ready-to-cook orange squash at TJs that comes in pre-cut chunks? Just like that.
When it's cooked, all one needs is a masher or fork to mash it up. If it's stringy, you can pass the pulp through a colander. You will wind up with fresh pumpkin that is the absolute perfect consistency - just like that canned stuff.
Sounds like your pumpkin dried out during the baking process.
Finally, all pumpkin is is a kind of squash. There's some great red-fleshed squashes like turks' heads that you can make pumpkin pie with and no one will ever know it didn't come out of a can labeled 'pumpkin pie filling'.
Btw rich hates squash, I love it. I eat it greedily whenever I have a chance to "Cook for one."
2 p.s.es... love your icon, and wish I was close enough to drop in for a plate of pie ... since rich dislikes squash I never make them any more... sounds yummy :)
Edited at 2008-11-04 10:43 am (UTC)
We did get proper sugar pumpkins with pie-making in mind.
However, we roasted them as halves on a baking sheet after scooping out the insides or "degooping" to use the technical culinary term. ;)
I didn't think about just boiling them down, though! Ours did dry out on the surface but were still soft and smooth inside. But a pot sounds like the way to go. We still have one pumpkin left so I'll give that a shot. Many thanks!
2008-11-04 09:39 pm (UTC)
I learned that pumpkin is a kind of squash when I was a kid. We planted the squash and the pumpkins too close together; they cross pollinated and we got squmpkins. ;)
Cheap after-halloween dinner/side dish: buy some of those tiny pumpkins that are now on sale for 99 cents at your grocery. Cut them in half, mix heavy cream, maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg, brush on the exposed flesh, bake. They taste very similar to butternut squash.
Thank you for posting this. I have been wondering what it would be like to make a pumpkin pie from scratch.
We're going to eat it tonight (election party at a friend's house). I'll let you know how it turned out.
Roast? Roast? That's your problem. I've made lots of pumpkin pies starting with just a pumpkin. Prefer the small ones about eight inches in diameter, they are sweeter and tastier.
I scoop out the seeds and strings and toss them. (I don't consider pumpkin seeds edible, sorry.) Cut the pumpkin into strips along the longitude lines that are ready marked for you. Then peel with a vegetable peeler. Dice the peeled flesh into cubes one to one and a half inches on a side, and steam them in the microwave or on the rangetop using a steamer to keep the water below the pumpkin level. When the chunks are soft, like boiled potatoes for mashing, you have at them with the potato masher and voila! Usually takes about 15 minutes to steam.
Roasting would dry the flesh, making it hard to mash up and changing the whole character I would think.