Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tackling a Pumpkin for Homemade Pie (and Pumpkin Seeds)

With Thanksgiving next week, I've got pumpkin on the brain. I love pumpkin--pies, breads, muffins, that over-sweet but delightful latte drink. (I once had a roommate who worked at Starbucks and was lucky enough to be there when the Pumpkin Spice syrup "expired" so got to bring it home and we feasted on Pumpkin Spice coffees for months...happy memories.)

A few weeks ago I decided to give making my own pumpkin puree for baking a try. There are several methods for this--I found baking the pumpkin to be fairly simple.

First--your pumpkin. Buy a pie pumpkin--though you can use the innards of your jack-o-lantern pumpkin (erm, before it sits on your porch for a month...) the tougher, stringier consistency will yield a less-tasty pie. And the extra water in this kind of pumpkin means you'll have to adjust the recipe for your baked goods.

Plus, isn't it cute?

Now that we've admired how cute it is, attack it with a large knife.

I cut the top off first, then set the pumpkin upright on the flat surface and cut the pumpkin in half.

Yicky insides--scoop 'em out.

You'll end up with a clean shell of pumpkin meat and skin, a pile of trashable junk, and a bowl of pumpkin seeds. Save those.

Arrange your pumpkin in baking dishes, open sides down, and then tent with foil. Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour in a 350 degree oven. When the pumpkin is soft and the skin is sorta puckery, it's done!

Let the pumpkin cool a bit. If you're lucky, the skin will lift or peel right off. Otherwise, scoop the pumpkin out. Mash it up. Use it as you like. Leave the oven on for...

...those pumpkin seeds. Wash them thoroughly (this takes much longer than I expected--sticky little boogers!) and then toss with some oil, spice according to your tastes, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until toasty and golden.

My spicy-savory spice blend for seeds:

Toss with Olive Oil and
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne
  • Chili Powder
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt
  • Dash Nutmeg
Happy Thanksgiving Cooking! What's your favorite Thanksgiving recipe?


MrsC said...

Rowenna you continue to be a wonder and a delight! I have been convinced by my wide and diverse range of American friends that noone EVER makes pumpkin pie from scratch, because you can't buy the pumpkins. Dreamstress being the exception of course! For me, the idea of bothering to can something as simple as pumpkin seems like a big waste of carbon footprint energy. So thankyou, thankyou for restoring my faith in tradition. I am hosting Thanksgiving for a few friends which is becoming a tradition in itself, and everyone brings a dish. I have banned sweet potato and marshmallows because it just sounds sooo disgusting and too many packets and cans seem to be involved for it to even qualify as a recipe IMHO hehehe. Otherwise it's a wonderful chance for us antipodeans to experience another tradition, and everyone has soemthing to give thanks about don't they!

Rowenna said...

MrsC--that sounds lovely, a Thanksgiving pitch-in! Yes, that weird sweet potato dish with marshmallows--I do sweet potatoes with toasted walnuts and brown sugar instead :) Have a lovely holiday next week!

Krafty Girl said...

For the first time in my life , I baked a pumpkin and made a homemade pumpkin pie!! Everything was from scratch. I did not think it would turn out so good, so I did not take a pic. It turned out yummy! Everybody loved it!
Very good post.