I picked up half a dozen locally-grown pie pumpkins last week at the farmers market, some to set aside for the holidays, but most for a pie-making workshop in Ohio this past weekend. It was a private little workshop for a few friends who wanted to learn how to make pumpkin pie from scratch. All the way from scratch, down to the pumpkin. With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, maybe you want to learn, too. None of that canned stuff for us! Go pick up some pumpkins! (Links to the printable recipes are at the bottom of the post.)
How to Prepare Fresh Pumpkin:
Cut pumpkin open into several pieces. Remove seeds and strings by scraping. Clean and save the seeds to roast if you like! Meanwhile, cook the pumpkin (skin on).
*Microwave–-place pumpkin halves face-down on a microwave-safe plate and cook on high for approximately 15 minutes.
*Oven-–place pumpkin halves face-down on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for an hour to an hour and a half.
*Stovetop–-boil in a cup of water in a large covered pot approximately 30 minutes. (It’s not necessary for the water to cover the pumpkin.) Or, steam pumpkin for about 15 minutes.
We used the stovetop method. I just like it best.
Test for doneness with a fork. Pumpkin is ready when it’s tender and fork slides easily through outer skin. Scoop cooked pumpkin out of skin. Puree with a masher or food processor.
Pumpkin puree should be the consistency of mashed potatoes. Fresh pumpkin puree can be substituted in equal amounts in recipes calling for solid-pack canned pumpkin. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to a week. For longer storage, place in freezer bags or containers for as long as twelve months.
How to make Foolproof Pie Crust:
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups shortening or lard
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 cup very cold water
Add flour, shortening or lard, sugar, and salt to a large bowl. Mix flour and shortening or lard with a pastry cutter until it looks nice and crumbly.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, egg, and water. Add to the flour mixture, stirring in till well-moistened. Knead lightly to mix in all the flour then shape it into a great, big, wonderful ball of pastry dough. (Don’t overhandle.) Divide the dough into four to five equal portions, depending on pie pan size using. Shape each portion into a ball; wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before using.
Or, if you want to use it faster, stick it in the freezer for 5 minutes. (You can keep pie crust dough in the refrigerator for a week before using, or in the freezer for a couple of months. It freezes well–-place dough balls in sealed freezer bags for storage.) To use, sprinkle some flour on waxed paper. Sprinkle some more flour on top of the pastry dough then roll out, adding more flour if necessary to keep it from sticking to your rolling pin.
Place in a greased pie pan.
How to make Pumpkin Pie:
2 cups pumpkin puree
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
5 ounces evaporated milk or light cream
½ cup milk
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the eggs, evaporated milk or cream, and milk. Stir well. Add eggs and stir again. Add the evaporated milk or cream and the milk. Mix well.
We were making multiple pies at once, so this is more than one batch of the custard batter you see in the bowl above. We were also having a side bread-baking workshop. And I was showing them how to do nail art and they were curling my hair! It was a busy afternoon!
But back to pie. Pour filling into prepared pie shell.
Bake at 375-degrees on lower oven rack for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
They were quite pleased with themselves!
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