Making pumpkin pie is nearly as easy as opening a can. For Audria Crawford, however, using fresh pumpkin is the only way to go. "I always used canned pumpkin. But a friend gave me a small pie pumpkin one time, and I used it in a pie. The color is so much better to me, and it simply tastes better. I've really discovered that from scratch is always best. That's the way people have done it for most of history, and the telling is in the taste!"
She starts with small pie pumpkins. "You can use larger pumpkins, but the small ones are just easier to deal with. Sometimes you'll get the right one, and it is just the right amount for one pie."
Simply cut the pumpkin in half, take the seeds out, and place it cut-side down on a cooking sheet or in a large baking dish or roasting pan. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. This time will vary depending on the size and number of pumpkin halves. When done, the exterior of the pumpkin shells will be darker, slightly wrinkled, and easily pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit before handling. "When it is out of the oven and tender, the pumpkin comes out of that shell as easy as pie!" says Audria. And while you are roasting in a large pan, it is a good idea to roast extra pumpkins. Pumpkin freezes well and can be used for future pies and recipes.
While a premade pie crust will work, that sort of defeats the purpose of making a pie with fresh pumpkin, now doesn't it? Audria prefers using King Arthur flour. "It is very fine, and it seems like it doesn't lump as easy as other brands.
For two, 9 inch pie crusts:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup shortening
- 1/4 cup cold water
- In medium bowl, with fork, stir flour and salt. With pastry blender or two knives used scissor-fashion, cut shortening into four until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Sprinkle 5 to 6 tablespons cold water, a tablespoon at a time, into flour mixture, mixing lightly with a fork after each addition until pastry is just moist enough to hold together. With hands, shape pastry into a ball.
- Divide pastry evenly in half. Shape each into a ball. On lightly floured surface, with lightly floured rolling pin, roll into a circle 1/8 inch thick and about 2 inches larger all around than pie plate. Roll pastry gently onto rolling pin; transfer to lightly floured pie plate/pan and unroll, easing into bottom and side of plate.
- Freeze second pastry ball for future use.
For the pumpkin pie:
- 2 cups of pumpkin
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspooon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 9-inch pie crust
- Preheat oven to 425. In a large bowl, combine all ingregients except crust. Mix well.
- Pour into pie crust. Bake 15 minutes.
- Reduce oven heat to 350. Continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted one inch from edge comes out clean. Cover edges of crust with foil as needed if edges are cooking faster than the rest of the pie to avoid burning.
- Cool and enjoy!