Wednesday, November 25, 2009

SMASHING PUMPKINS


SMASHING PUMPKINS?
Maybe not. But I thought about it. Just to add some fun to my busy holiday kitchen.
This 4-lb beauty, a "pie pumpkin" was purchased at the State Farmers Market for a buck, or two, can't remember. Thought I'd go local with my pie, esp. given the phrase "easy as pie." It truly does not take long to cut open a pumpkin, slice it and then roast. And I knew it would taste better than the canned variety that I was tripping over during my last foray at the grocery store.
So slice a pumpkin, then with a metal spoon, scoop out the seeds and scrape the threads that cling to the pumpkin slices. I rubbed their wounds with a tiny bit of olive oil. You can cover with foil, or not. Roast in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until a fork can pierce the flesh easily. It took about 5 to 10 minutes to slice and clean the pumpkin, then another 30 to roast (while I did other kitchen chores).


BONUS SEEDS
Here's where this project got time consuming - dealing with the slimy seeds.
Your hands are your best tools for many cooking chores. In this case, I stood at the sink and popped the seeds into a colander with my gooey fingers.
And this is why I love to work in the kitchen alone, at mundane tasks such as this. I wondered about our Thanksgiving dinner, the first holiday and family gathering without my father sitting at the head of the table, and wondered how we would all react to that. It will be sad. And then I remembered that my daughter invited two gay friends who are hilariously fun to be with, and wondered how my conservative extended family will react to them. It should be a hoot with lots of laughs. And wondered also if my namesake, Elizabeth, will bag a deer before her husband and father on their traditional Thanksgiving hunt. They all filled their freezers last year with fresh venison.
Roused from my reverie, I finished rinsing the seeds and patted them dry, then laid them on a baking sheet and sprinkled them with sea salt. I slid them into the oven to roast along with the pumpkin slices, for about 20 minutes, until golden brown, stirring twice.
But hey, it was worth it, and I ate a good portion of them warm, straight out of the oven before I got them all off the pan.

SCOOPED
I let the pumpkin cool slightly before scooping the flesh from the outside peels and pureeing in the food processor. That four pound baby produced about 2 3/4 cups of pumpkin puree, about 22 ounces. A typical can of pumpkin weighs 15 oz.
So I did the math and figured I must add perhaps about half more to the typical pumpkin pie recipe. However, knowing that the pumpkin all by itself was "sweet", I cut back on the sugar. The hubby loves cinnamon, so I happily added another half portion and also to the allspice and cloves.
Wrong! The pie was too sweet. The spices overwhelmed my gorgeous fresh pumpkin flavor. So the recipe below gives what I believe to be better proportions.
The pie still tastes terrific. Better than store-bought. Better than the canned variety.
FLAKY
Me, not the pastry. I will admit a secret.....I used a store-bought rolled up pie crust, rather than making my own. I ran out of time, and I love the convenience of those long boxes with two rolled up pastries inside. Purists may chastise me. Go ahead. I'm still thankful I've got a pie!
During these hard economic times, be thankful for the food that graces your table, no matter where it comes from; thank the farmers who work hard to produce the veggies, fruits and meats, the troops who have no choice but to be over there fighting, and thank the good Lord that we are here in the good old US of A, where PETA and vegans and carnivores can all have a choice.
RECIPE * * * * FRESH PUMPKIN PIE
1 prepared pie crust
1 medium-sized pie pumpkin (about 4 lbs.)
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 small cans (5 oz. each) evaporated milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Prepare pumpkin puree first. Slice pumpkin, remove seeds and flesh, place in oven for about 30 minutes until flesh is tender. Cool slightly then scoop out flesh. Place in food processor or blender and puree.
3. Mix eggs and sugar together. Add spices and salt. Stir in pumpkin puree and blend thoroughly. Stir in milk.
4. Pour mixture into prepare pie crust, and bake for about 45 minutes or an hour, until the center of the pie is set.
5. Cool slightly before slicing, give thanks, and then ooh and aaah as you taste the freshness of the pumpkin.




1 comment:

Daphne said...

I'm sure this pie is a winner, with Beth concocting it!! I, too, used those boxed rolled up pie crusts for my last pies, quiches, actually.