I don’t know what it is about this time of the year, but I have pumpkin fever! I have temporarily switched over to pumpkin spice coffee, and I have gone crazy roasting pumpkin seeds and baking pumpkin pies. I can’t say my family doesn’t appreciate my fanatic phase, though.
This is my favorite pumpkin pie recipe. I am never very exact with these things, so I hope this comes in handy without being too confusing. For this one, I used a “pie pumpkin” from Wal-Mart, for the convenience (I really needed something pumpkin, and fast). I have found a pumpkin weighing about 3-5 pounds makes the perfect amount of pulp for this recipe (of course, bigger doesn’t hurt at all). The sweeter varieties are the best.
What you’ll need:
- 1 pumpkin, at least 3-5 pounds in weight (1 can of pumpkin will do-15 oz)
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- little salt
- 1/4 cup melted butter; melted to point of light brown, re-cooled to harder texture (sometimes I feel lazy and don’t melt the butter, and it still works great)
- 2 Tablespoons shortening
- 4ish Tablespoons cold water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- ~1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (to your taste)
- ~1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (to your taste)
- a little nutmeg
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup half and half (light cream or milk will do for a lower fat pie)
Baking a fresh pumpkin:
Start by preheating your oven to 375. If you are using a fresh pumpkin, cut it into strips (I do fourths or halves for smaller pumpkins). When preparing the pumpkin, I usually save the seeds for roasting later and pull the most stringy parts out and discard. Place pieces face-down on a cooking sheet so the rind faces up and cover with foil. Bake for about 1 hour, or until tender. Depending on the size of pumpkin, it may take longer or shorter. I usually pull it out when a fork goes through the rind without effort. It took about 48 minutes for the last 3.5 pound pumpkin I used.
- Stir together 1 1/4 cup flour and a dash of salt. If you would like, add a little sugar to sweeten the crust. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening and butter until chunks are about the size of a pea.
- With mixture in bottom of bowl, sprinkle a small portion of cold water on a piece of crust, mix it in, and stick the moist chunk to the side of the bowl. Repeat until all the crust is stuck to the side of the bowl, adding just enough water to make it stick. It should take about 4 tablespoons of cold water.
- When all the mixture is done, place it on a floured surface and roll it out to a circle with the diameter 3 inches larger than your pie pan’s diameter.
- To transfer to pie pan from rolling surface, I find it easiest to avoid stretching by wrapping the crust around the rolling-pin and rolling it out into the pie pan. I generally cut off whatever parts around the edges stick out too far and just add them to torn spots if there are any.
- Fold the edges over and press down with a fork. I generally don’t care if this part is too cute because it just gets cut up and eaten right away when it is ready, anyway. If you have any tricks on how to make the outside edge cute, I would LOVE to hear it! Cover the outside edge with a piece of tin foil for baking.
- When the pumpkin is done cooking and tender, scoop the pulp from the rind and blend in blender until smooth. When there is excess liquid, strain the liquid from the pulp. When the pulp is too dry to blend, try adding a couple tablespoons of half and half to get it to blend. You will want about 2 cups of pumpkin pulp, a little less a more won’t hurt. (Or you can just add 1 can of pumpkin, a little less than 2 cups)
- Combine the sugar, blended pumpkin, and all the spices you want in a mixing bowl. I usually do a bit different spice mixture each time. Beat the 2 eggs and add to mixture, then beating again lightly with a fork until mixed. Add the 3/4 cup half and half just until mixed. Don’t keep stirring.
- The easiest way to add the filling to the crust is by first placing the crust on the oven rack and then pouring the filling into the crust.
- Bake at 375 for 25 minutes with foil on outside of pie crust, and then remove the foil and bake for another 20-30 minutes, until knife inserted into middle comes out clean. Cool on rack or stove top and then cover and refrigerate within 2 hours. Or eat it warm if that is how you like it 🙂