A year or two ago, I decided to use fresh pumpkin to cook Autumn goodies with – namely pumpkin cookies and pumpkin pie. It was a bit time-consuming cutting up the pumpkin and then boiling it till it was soft enough to dig out of the skin. Baking was worse though, because the oven heated up the kitchen and then I still had to pick pieces of pumpkin skin out of the pumpkin.
The flavor however, was just spectacular, compared to the dark orange stuff that comes out of a can. The goodies made with fresh pumpkin had a lighter orange color and with more flavor than when I made pie and cookies with canned pumpkin. After that, hubby requested that I only use fresh pumpkin to make our goodies if it was at all possible.
This year, I tried using the microwave to cook the pumpkins and found it to be superior to boiling. No heat from an oven, faster, and less of a problem getting the flesh out of the skin. (No, it wasn’t very “Laura Ingalls Wilder” of me to use the microwave, but hey, I have the microwave available. And as long as I know how to cook and smush a pumpkin the old- fashioned way in case of a situation where there is no modern conveniences – I’m good to go.)
I use the small pie pumpkins, although I have heard some people say that they have had good results just using the big jack-o-lantern pumpkins left over from Halloween. Dear hubby helped me out and reminded me that we finally have a solid metal, no-moving-parts ice cream scoop which made digging the stringy “guts” out of the pumpkin a breeze. This year I tried pureeing one pumpkin in the blender, but didn’t like the texture – had to add a little water for the blades to be able to do the job and it was just a bit too smooth for my liking. Couldn’t find my potato masher, but a pastry blender worked well and still left some of the pumpkin texture so it was more like old-fashioned pumpkin instead of machine-made, super smooth, mass-produced pumpkin.
I used the pumpkin today to make an old-fashioned pumpkin pie using a recipe I got from Capper’s. And there is enough left over to make some pumpkin cookies later this week. Gotta love Turkey Day and the special food we make for it!
If you’ve never used fresh pumpkin for your baking – you should try it once. The flavor really is worth the extra effort.
A small pie pumpkin cut in half.
Pumpkin guts. The chickens loved eating them.
Seeds from 3 small pie pumpkins. Haven’t decided if I am going to roast them, keep them to grow, or feed them to the chickens.
After cutting in half, place the pumpkins in a microwave dish, cut side up. Add some water to the dish and cover the dish. These pumpkins were soft and ready to use after 15 minutes on high power.
Pumpkin scooped out of its skin. After that, you just have to mash it up or put it in a blender if you prefer really smooth pumpkin.
The finished pumpkin pie made with eggs from our own chickens!