When pumpkin season arrives with the fall harvest, it is the time to bake a pumpkin pie using the flesh of this orange vegetable. However, the list of ingredients in pumpkin pie recipes differs when you replace widely available canned pumpkin puree with a fresh pumpkin. When picking out your pumpkin, choose a smaller pumpkin, such as those named pie pumpkins, instead of bigger pumpkins that are used for jack-o-lanterns. As pumpkins grow, the insides produce seeds rather than more juicy pumpkin flesh and smaller pumpkins have a sweeter flavor.
Things You'll Need
Sharp serrated knife
6 to 8-inch diameter pumpkin, such as a pie pumpkin
Ice cream scoop
Blender or food mill
Large mixing bowl
4 large eggs, well beaten
1 cup sugar or 1/2 cup molasses and 1/2 cup honey
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
30 ounces evaporated milk
10-inch deep-dish pie crust or 2 9-inch pie crusts
Wash the exterior of a 6 to 8-inch diameter pumpkin. Cut through the center of the pumpkin using a serrated knife so you have two equal halves. Remove any strings or seeds from the pumpkin using an ice cream scoop.
Bake the pumpkin halves skin-side down on a baking sheet at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 90 minutes until the pulp is soft and begins to caramelize. Drain away any excess water and let the pumpkin cool enough for you to handle it without getting burned. Use the ice cream scoop to scrape the pulp away from the skin; you may be able to pull the skin completely off the pulp by grasping it at the stem.
Place the pumpkin pulp in a blender and puree until smooth or run the pumpkin through a food mill. Add 3 cups of the pumpkin puree to a large mixing bowl. Preheat the oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add 4 well beaten large eggs and either 1 cup of sugar or 1/2 cup of molasses and 1/2 cup of honey to the pumpkin puree. Mix in 1/2 tsp. each of salt, ground nutmeg and vanilla extract. Stir in 1 tsp. each of ground ginger and ground cloves; add 1 1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon.
Mix the ingredients well. Pour in 30 ounces of evaporated milk. Stir until the milk is fully incorporated. Pour the pumpkin mixture into a 10-inch deep-dish pie crust or into 2 9-inch pie crusts up to 1/4-inch from the top of the crust.
Place the pie on a baking sheet and wrap a strip of aluminum foil over the exposed crust to prevent burning. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 to 60 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean.
Serve warm or chill before serving.
You can use 3 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice or allspice in place of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. If you have to use a jack-o-lantern size pumpkin, you will need to strain the pulp after cooking to remove stringy pieces and add 1/2 cup of sugar or honey; you need 3 cups of pumpkin per pie.
Do not overfill the pie crust; the pumpkin pie contains eggs that will cause the pumpkin filling to expand.