One Thanksgiving when I was little, I threw up after eating someone’s pumpkin cobbler. The cobbler really wasn’t bad, it was just kind of the perfect storm. I had been eating a lot of food all day and I probably had run all over the house before my stomach had really settled. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to eat anything with pumpkin or pumpkin-flavoring since that day. As every fall season comes and goes, I pass on that slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving dinner and skip the pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks.
Despite the bad taste the thought of pumpkin desserts brings to my mouth, it’s a fall favorite for most other people. I decided it was time I learn how to bake a pumpkin pie, but I figured if I’m going to make one, it should be straight from the pumpkin.
The first thing I learned is that there are special pumpkins for baking. When you go to the grocery store around Halloween, you will likely see the big pumpkin bins at the front of the store… these are usually “jack-o-lantern” pumpkins. Then if you head over to the produce section, you might see a smaller display of gourds, squash and round little pumpkins that are called “sugar pumpkins” or “baking pumpkins.” These are the pumpkins you want. A pumpkin about the size of a volleyball will make enough filling for 1 pie.
You’ll want to cut off the top stem of the pumpkin VERY carefully, then cut the pumpkin in half vertically. Scrape out the stringy stuff and the seeds. Place your pumpkin halves flesh side down on a baking sheet covered in tin foil. Roast your pumpkin in the over at 415 degree for about 50 minutes or until tend when poked with fork. Remove your pumpkin from the oven when tender and allow to cool. You should be able to easily scoop the flesh away from the skin with a metal spoon. Puree your roasted pumpkin flesh in a food processor with a tablespoon or two of brandy (for flavor) or water. Once you’ve got that pureed into a baby food-looking mush, you’re ready to start your pie!
You will also, obviously, need a pie crust as well. You can find my pie crust recipe here to make two pumpkin pie crusts (with no top crust).
2 cups pumpkin puree (see directions above)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 unbaked pie crust
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and roll out your pie crust into your pie tin. Combine your sugar and spices in a bowl. in a separate bowl whisk together your pumpkin puree, maple syrup, two eggs and vanilla extract. Stir in the spice mixture and then slowly whisk in the heavy whipping cream–mixture will be extremely runny. Pour into your crust and bake for 15 minutes. Turn down your oven to 375 and cover your pie with a sheet of tin foil, making sure the tin foil does not rest on the liquid pie filling, only the crust. Bake for another 90 minutes, or until the center of the pie has set entirely. Let pie cool and top with whipped cream.