Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pumpkin Pie from a Pumpkin

Tis the season for fresh pumpkin! While the canned stuff is perfectly acceptable, using fresh pumpkin to bake with is truly a memorable experience for your taste buds. It is a very simple process that only requires a bit more effort and time than opening a can.

First pick a pumpkin.
The smaller pie pumpkins are far superior to their enormous cousins in terms of flavor. The larger pumpkins can be used. In fact, if you carve pumpkins in the fall, all the flesh from the cut out pieces, and much from the hollow pumpkin, can be scraped out to use for cooking. Larger pumpkins though, tend to be more watery with a less concentrated flavor.

Next, clean out the pumpkin.
Cut the pumpkin in half, and use a spoon to scrape out all the seeds and all the gooey stuff in the middle of the pumpkin. The seeds can be saved to roast, or if you are a gardener, some can be saved for planting next year.

Cook the pumpkin.
The pumpkin can be boiled or cooked in the microwave, but I prefer to roast it. Put it cut side down on a jelly roll pan. (Don't make the mistake I made with another pumpkin and use a flat sheet. It left quite the mess of pumpkin juice on the bottom of my oven.) Bake at 425 F for around 40 mintues (depending on the size of your pumpkin,) or until the flesh is easily pierced with a fork.

Make puree.
Allow the pumpkin to cool enough so you can handle. The peel should easily pull off leaving you with the meat of the pumpkin. To get rid of the stringy texture give the pumpkin (in small batches) a whirl in the food processor or blender. If the pumpkin seems a bit watery you can drain it in a fine colander or with a cheesecloth.

Get cooking.
At this point your pumpkin is ready to cook with, If you have more puree than you need simply portion it in recipe sizes, usually 2 cups, and freeze.

Start with a homemade pie crust. Line a pie plate with a crust.

Mix 2 Cups pumpkin with 2 eggs, 2/3 Cup brown sugar, 1 1/4 Cup evaporated milk, a pinch of salt, cinnamon, ground cloves, and ginger.

Pour pumpkin mix into the pie shell. Bake at 425 F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F and bake an additional 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean and dry. Cool and serve with a dollop of homemade whipped cream.


  1. I love pumpkin pie and have always used the canned stuff. I'm kind of excited to try doing one from scratch. Thanks for sharing.

  2. My husband loves pumpkin pie with his whipped cream. I've never made it using a whole pumpkin. Can you can the pumpkin too? I've seen lots of pumpkins in the fields lately and I'm sure I can find a couple to bring home for pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin... Thanks!

  3. Dena,
    I've never canned it before in puree. I did can chunks one year. I won't be doing it again. (it was too much work.) The USDA does not recommend canning pumpkin puree, but I know some people do on a regular basis.

  4. Thank you for sharing your pumpkin pie recipe. I am not too fond of pumkins myself, but everyone I know expects that pie this time of year. I add a little pureed sweet potato, brown sugar, and burbon to mine to spice it up a bit. And I can't recall, are sugar pumpkins the best type for pies? And I always have to strain the puree before using, otherwise I get a soupy mess instead of a pie. Great post! thanks for sharing!

  5. Yep sugar pumpkins are best, but most any small pie pumpkin is good. Bourbon sounds like a wonderful addition. I didn't need to drain my puree I made here. Might be the pumpkin or the way that it is cooked.

  6. Thanks for sharing this recipe! I am excited to try it! I never tried making it from scratch!
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  7. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I only made pumbkin pie from the pumpkin once. The recipe I used required to boil the pumpkin. I think bakeing the pumpkin retains most of the pumpkin flavor. I'm making it now. Wish me luck!


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