How to Prepare Fresh Pumpkin Pie
- It’s pumpkin pie time again – and there’s nothing better than the smell of spicy pumpkin pie baking in the oven. Smaller pie or sweet pumpkins (the size of a baseball or melon) are recommended for pies, but the large Jack-o-lantern pumpkins also serve well. Adding water and a little brown sugar to the inside of the Jack-o-lanterns before baking adds to the sweetness and texture and prevents it from becoming stringy or dry.
There are two ways to prepare the pumpkin – the hard way and the easy way. I recommend the easy way.
THE HARD WAY
1. Carefully remove the top of the pumpkin with a large knife.
3. Cut the pumpkin into slices, then remove the rind.
4. Chunk the pumpkin meat into cubes and boil in water until softened (about 30-45 minutes, depending on the amount and the size of the pot).
THE EASY WAY
After removing the strings and seeds, put the whole pumpkin into a large baking pan. Add a small amount of water to the pan and about 1/8 inch of water inside the pumpkin. Bake the pumpkin 40-60 minutes at 350 degrees (or until a fork can easily go into the pumpkin).
Whether cooking pumpkin chunks until soft, or using baked pumpkin, it should be pureed to a smooth consistency for pie or other pumpkin recipes. It is best to puree the pumpkin rather than mash it. It is alright to let the pumpkin cool before pureeing it.
1. Scoop the pumpkin out of the baked shell.
2. Put a few chunks at a time into a food processor or blender, adding a small amount of water.
3. Strain the pumpkin puree through cheesecloth or sieve a few hours. This will keep your pies from being watery.
*Note –if using fresh pumpkin, it will be a lighter tan in color rather than an orange-tan like store-bought canned pumpkin. If thawing frozen pumpkin, put it in a strainer for a couple of hours to remove extra water.
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ginger
- ½ tsp. allspice
- 4 cups sugar
(Note: 3 tsp. Pumpkin Pie spice can be substituted for the spices, but doesn’t have the same flavor. Multiply the above ingredients by the number of cups of puree).
Put into two unbaked 9-inch pie shells and bake at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.