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Living in a country where people eat out of the dumpster on a daily basis will change the way you look at things. We brought that lesson back to the US with us, and have since become very conscious of waste.
So, this year when Halloween rolled around, we decided that we could carve pumpkins without wasting the pumpkin. If you read my post last week, you’ll remember that this year, we carved pumpkins on Halloween instead of a week or two earlier.
This allowed us to enjoy the activity without wasting the pumpkin. We left our pumpkin in our living room so we could enjoy it all day, then that night we put it in the refrigerator. The next morning, we cut the pumpkin up into a few big chunks and baked it in the oven until it was soft.
Then I pulled all of the skin off the pumpkin, cut it into smaller chunks and put it in a big Ziploc bag in the refrigerator. The next morning, a lot of the excess water had drained out of the pumpkin, so I put the chunks in the blender to puree it.
It took a long time to puree the whole pumpkin—I think it may have been easier with a food processor. “Jack-o-Lantern” pumpkins tend to be thick and stringy so you have to puree them really well. But once you do, they taste great.
I ended up with about 12 cups of pumpkin puree—enough to do a lot of baking. I’ll probably need to freeze some of it so it doesn’t go to waste.
My first project with the pumpkin puree was to make a pumpkin pie from scratch. I have made a lot of different pies from scratch (like apple, blueberry, peach/strawberry, buttermilk), but this was the first time I’ve done pumpkin and it came out great!
I used my standard pie crust recipe:
- Combine the flour, sugar, butter and lard in a mixing bowl until well blended
- Sprinkle in the water a little at a time and mix just enough to make it hold together—don’t over mix
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface
- Place the dough into the pie pan (don’t worry if it breaks; you can patch it in the pan)
- Press the dough into a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan
- Seal any broken areas and shape the top edge into a pattern if you like
And, here’s the pumpkin pie filling recipe:
- 1 cup pure cane sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups pumpkin puree
- 18 oz evaporated milk
- ½ teaspoon of vanilla
- Mix everything together and pour into the pie crust
- Bake at 350° F for 1 to 1 ½ hours
- To check if it’s done, insert a knife into the center of it—if it comes out clean, it’s done
- Let it cool and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired
Next, I’ll be attempting pumpkin bread and/or pumpkin muffins. It’s always an experiment baking at 7,000 feet!