Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving, Pt. 2 Pumpkin pie/ pumpkin puree/toasted pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin pie ala Darlene

The nutmeg, which was substituted for ground cloves, adds a softer sweeter flavor.

4 eggs, slightly beaten
3 cups pumpkin puree, fresh, or from frozen and then thawed, or 1 29oz. can solid packed pumpkin
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3 cups (2 12 oz. cans) undiluted Evaporated milk, whole or skimmed (NOT Condensed!) I measured this and actually, it wasn't quite 3 cups. More like 2 3/4 cups.

2 9" (4 cup volume) unbaked pie crusts (homemade, boxed, refrigerated or frozen "deep"dish)

Myself, I use Pillsbury from the refrigerated section. My grandfather was a pastry chef, my mom loves to make pie crust. When I made this pie one year, she raved about how I had "my grandfather's touch". I sheepishly confessed to buying it. I hate the rolling out of the dough. However, now that the cost has gone up to almost $3 for 2 crusts, I'll be rolling my own.

1 Preheat oven to 425F

2 Combine filling ingredients in order given; pour into pie crusts. (Actually, this year I put my glass pie plates on the cookie sheet, put the cookie sheet on the pulled out oven shelf and THEN pour the filling into the pie pans. Saves trying to move very filled pies without spilling them. I set the timer for 22 mins and at that point, removed the pies from the baking sheet and placed them directly on the rack. I also covered the edges with tin foil. They have continued cooking for another 22 mins and need about another 5 mins.)

3 Bake 15 minutes at 425F. Reduce temperature to 350F. Bake an additional 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool; garnish with whipped cream, cool whip, etc.

Yield: 2 9" pies

Cooking Tips
If you have any leftover filling, place extra into small, greased casserole and bake along with the pies.

When using metal or foil pans, preheat cookie sheet when you preheat oven. When using a glass or ceramic pie pans, DO NOT use cookie sheet directly under pie pans. (place on next rack)

If using SHALLOW 9" pans (2 cup volume), make in two batches. Bake for the 15 mins, reduce oven and bake only an extra 20 to 30 mins., checking near center for knife to come out clean.

Author: Darlene Burgess

To make pumpkin puree:

This method is very labor intensive. Not! Forget trying to peel the tough skin. Forget the watery taste from boiled pumpkin.

Buy a pumpkin. There are smaller "pie" pumpkins or you can use a "regular" pumpkin. The the two I cooked yesterday were about 10 lbs each. They were regular Jack-o-lantern size pumpkins.

I washed the skin on them with my scrubby to get off some dirt on them. I then had son cut the top off of one, then set it on the cut edge and cut the pumpkin down the middle - from blossom end to stem end (or rather where the stem would have been had he not just cut it off.)That's it, just two cuts.

I removed the seeds (we're using them later!)Just scoop them out. Don't worry about the stringy stuff now, just get all the seeds you can and then set them aside, strings and all.

I didn't bother scraping the insides and trying to remove the stringy insides. Those are more easily removed after cooking.

To Cook:
Place on cookie sheet (well, really, it's a jelly-roll pan - it has a lip on it), cut side down (so the skin is "up"). Place in 350 degree oven and let cook until done. With my large sized pumpkins, I could only cook 1/2 a pumpkin at a time, but a smaller pumpkin will cook with each half side-by-side. It took about 50 mins for it to get tender. It doesn't matter if the skin starts looking "burned" on top. The flesh inside is still good. "Potato test" it - when you can pierce the pumpkin, sort of like a potato and it's tender, it's done. With the smaller "pie" pumpkins it only takes about 30 mins to cook both haves together. So set timer and go do something else (like check to make sure the turkey is really THAWED!).

Carefully remove it from the oven. It will have a little liquid in the bottom of the cookie sheet, so don't burn yourself when you move the sheet. I set mine on top of the stove top and work with it their, rather than moving it else where.

Remove the skin. I use a fork to peel back the skin and cut off any dried out spots - like the cut edges of the pumpkin. I then cut these large 1/2's into 4 parts with the fork. I turn each part over and scrape the edge of the fork over the surface of the pumpkin. Or you can use a spoon. You just want to scrape off that top layer that was the ugly, stringy part. Then put that piece of pumpkin in a bowl. Repeat for the other 3 pieces that you just cooked. Then throw away the scraps (or put them outside for the squirrels, chipmunks and birds to eat). Rinse off the cookie sheet and put the next piece of raw pumpkin on it. Repeat for each pumpkin you've purchased.

While the next piece of pumpkin is cooking or when you're done cooking the pumpkin, you will need to mash up the pumpkin. Yesterday I bought a stick blender. Ehhh, it was ok, but still too chunky for my tastes. (It may have worked better if I had done it in small batches instead of a bread bowl full. lol). So I got out my newish blender. Ehhh, my old blender did better with it, but since it was all I had, I messed around with it until I could get it to make a smooth puree. With this newer blender, I put the semi-blended, almost puree into the blender container in 3 cup batches. Why 3 cups? Well, how many cups is in the above pie recipe? Yup, 3. So after I've blended my pumpkin, I can pour it into a qt. zip bag, remove the air, zip it and freeze it. When I need pumpkin for my pie, I don't have to mess a cup up measuring it. All I have to do is thaw and pour into the crust. If you use pumpkin for other things, measure and blend in the size you will use - or a variety of sizes. Some for muffins, pie and soup. Anyway, back to the instructions. After putting the almost puree (or the just cooked pumpkin chunks) into the blender, I had to use the "pulse" option on my new blender. Before I could just toss it in and hit high and it worked. This machine is a bit more finicky. I had to pulse a couple of times, push the puree down (don't do this with the machine RUNNING!) and then I could use the low setting and have it blend. How do you know how smooth you will like your puree? Well, do you like potatoes with a little bit of unmashed potatoes in it? Yes, then you will probably like your puree with little bits and pieces of unblended pumpkin in it. No chunks in your potatoes? Then blend it smooth. It's a similar textured veggie.

Out of those two big pumpkins, I had six 3-cup bags of puree and one 2 cup bag. I would have had more, but I hadn't eaten all day and was hungry, so I put some of the puree in a bowl and added about 1 tsp of bacon grease. Heated it an ate it. Then I made another bowl. lol So I probably would have had eight 3 cup bags had I not eaten some of it. (And it was GOOD!) I could have added some milk and spices to it and made soup, but I was hungry and didn't want to wait or cook some more.

On to the seeds. When you are finished cooking the pumpkin (if you don't forget them), you can cook the seeds while pureeing the pumpkin.
Put the seeds in a colander and rinse. You will want to pick off all the stringy flesh and break the seeds apart from each other so that you have individual seeds, not seed groups. Toss the stringy part. Shake the colander some so that you get rid of a lot of the water. At this point, there are two ways to do the seeds. Some people bring the seeds to a boil and boil them for 10 mins or so. I don't do that, I just put them on my (was in use, now rinsed off) cookie sheet, spread them out and sprinkle them with salt (or any other seasoning you'd like to use.) I put them in the 350 oven for 10 mins, stir and do another 10 mins. I stir and see if then still need more time to toast. Yesterday, it took me 30 mins to get them toasted, but I had the seeds from 2 pumpkins, so it took longer than a single pumpkin, but short time than doing two separate batches. When golden brown, remove, let cool and store in a zip bag. (store???? hahaha)

No comments: