Those little pie pumpkins are popping up in grocery stores and farmers’ markets, signaling that it’s time to make a pumpkin pie for tea time! We picked our pumpkin and headed home to make this tasty treat that is becoming an annual tradition in our house (hubby baked pies the two previous years around this same time).
The great thing these days is having a recipe right on the pumpkin. We don’t make these pies on a regular basis, so having this info readily at hand is a time saver. No need pull out the Betty Crocker or other cookbook to look it up.
The recipe on the label:
1 pie pumpkin (duh!) yielding 1½ cup of pumpkin
1 cup sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ginger
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 2/3 cup evaporated milk
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp cloves
9” pie crust – unbaked
Directions (with my enhancements)
Cut pie pumpkin in half. Remove seeds. Cover the halves with foil and bake about 60 minutes at 350-375 F. Remove from oven and let cool slightly (to prevent burns). Scoop softened pumpkin pulp out into a bowl and mash. Mix in the rest of that stuff on the ingredients list so that it is all smooth and well-blended. Pour into the 9” pie crust. Bake at 450 F for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 F and bake another 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
That’s how things were supposed to go. This is how things really went:
Cutting the pumpkin in half was the first hurdle. It’s that stem piece. We ended up cutting it out first, which ― I kid you not ― took about 20 minutes. Then, the seeds ― cleaning out pumpkin seeds is always a bit gloppy and stringy and just plain goopy, but we finally got them done and set them aside to rinse and roast once the pie was done. Following the methods of those TV cooking shows, we had our various ingredients laid out and waiting. That wait ended up being a bit longer than expected since we forgot to preheat the oven (my fault since that was my job ― I got so absorbed in watching hubby try to cut out that pumpkin stem without removing a piece of thumb or a fingertip).
Mashing the pumpkin was the next hurdle. Even after an hour, the pulp was not as mushy as it should have been. We ended up putting it back in the oven for another half hour. Also, we strongly recommend that you let the pumpkin cool about five minutes. Ouch! You might also want to hold onto the bowl containing the pumpkin you’re mashing so it doesn’t slide around too much. Playing “chase the bowl” is not a fun game, especially when the bowl is glass and the counter is slippery (granite composite is downright slick).
We used pre-made pie crusts, thank goodness, because I don’t think having flour all over the place would have been tolerable at that time (nor would it have been a good idea for me to have a rolling pin in my hands as my level of frustration grew). I was close to the breaking point by then (now you know why hubby does most of the baking in our house). The filling was all ready and filled the pie crusts perfectly. Into the oven they went. We bake on a cookie sheet in case there’s overflow.
While the pies were baking, we cleaned up what we could and put the seeds in water to soak off all the gooey pumpkin stuff. A light lunch was all I had the appetite for, plus I wanted to save room for a slice of pie. Having about a half hour of baking time to go, I did some blogging while hubby played the piano. Then, ding! Time to test the pie to see if it’s done. Hubby dons the mitts, opens the oven door, and slides out the rack where the pies have been sitting patiently while the heat chemically changed them. In the center he stuck the tip of a knife and pulled it out. Not clean. Back in the oven went the pies. We set the timer for five more minutes (it’s good in these situations to keep additional baking times short).
The timer dinged again and this time the knife blade came out clean. We let the pies cool about an hour.
About 40 minutes later it was time to put the kettle on. Hubby did the honors while I prepped the teapot (Blue Betty was the choice steeper out of our bevy of teapots this day). The tea of choice was some Keemun Panda. We love it’s lightly smoky flavor and aroma and think it is especially scrumptious with some milk and sweetener, making it perfect with pumpkin pie.
The tea was ready when the timer dinged again to signal that the pie was cool enough to dish up. We sliced a couple pieces and plated them, scooped on some vanilla ice cream, poured cups of tea, and settled at the dining table for our well-earned treat. Ah!
Okay, Martha Stewart we ain’t, but we got the job done with fairly good results. Here’s wishing you pumpkin pie success!
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