Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pumpkin Pie

So it's not exactly an inspired title. With rare exceptions, I'm not witty when it comes to that sort of thing.

After reading a thread on Ravelry about pumpkin pie, it occured to me that perhaps there's a dearth of good pumpkin pie recipes. Several people said that they didn't like pumpkin pie made with fresh pumpkin ("it's runny; buy the canned stuff"). I have never been so horrified in my life. I recoil at the very notion of using canned pumpkin. Just last month, I was telling my mom I just didn't understand why anyone would used canned pumpkin. You can buy and entire pumpkin for $3 and get a dozen pies from it. Why would you buy a can? She did point out that most people don't bake quite as often as we do. Okay. So I can accept that the average person makes pumpkin pie once a year, not several times a month, and for that, it's more convienent to buy a can of pumpkin. But to actually prefer canned pumpkin over fresh? That's blasphemy!

So while I'm not sure how many people will read this, I feel obligated to share my grandma's, Guaranteed-to-Turn-Out Pumpkin Pie Recipe. (And since my grandma got it from her mother-in-law, I can practically guarentee that it was not created for canned pumpkin and will thus turn out just fine with fresh pumpkin.)

In the event that you have never prepared a fresh pumpkin, allow me to explain the "difficult" process (ha!).
1.) Obtain a pumpkin.
2.) Cut the pumpkin in half.
3.) Scoop out the seeds.
4.) Put halves on a cookie sheet and place in an oven heated to 350.
5.) Cook until done--fork tender, like squash.
6.) Take out of the oven; allow to cool.
7.) When cool, place in ziplock bags in one-cup "servings."
8.) Freeze until ready to use.

Should you find it water, just squeeze out the water before placing in the bags.

Tammy, over at Tammy's Recipes, has a great post on canning pumpkin. While it's no longer officially sactioned by the FDA (and as such, you proceed at your own risk, yada yada yada), it's another option if you don't have much freezer space. And Tammy's post is a fabulous tutorial in how to do it. (I believe she boils her pumpkin, though. We've always baked it.)

And without further ado, the much awaited recipe:

Grandma Schmidt's Pumpkin Pie
1 c pumpkin
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp clove
1/8 tsp allspice
1 c milk
Dash salt
1 large tbsp cornstarch ("large" as in heaping; as much you can get to stay on the spoon)

Dump all the ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into pie crust (you did copy down the recipe from yesterday, right?), bake at 350 until center is firm (um, 30-45 minutes, maybe? I guess I've never timed it).

Which leads me to one more question for ya'll: do any of you test your pumpkin pie with a knife? I see all sorts of people cutting into the center to see if it's done. (The worst, though, was when I saw a pie in a magazine with a tell-tale knife mark in it.) I just don't get it. Tap the top of the center of the pie. If it's firm, it's done.

Kinda like this post :)