Pumpkin Heaven!

One of my favorite Vintage Victuals tips is to use fresh, pure ingredients when you can. After Halloween, we slice open the pumpkins that we don’t carve, clean out all the stringy junky stuff and the seeds, cut the flesh into chunks, and put it in a pot! Add a little bit of water to the bottom and cook on low for about 45 minutes, or until the pumpkin is fork-tender. Drain well and smash with a potato-smasher (or a food processor, depending on what texture you like). Voila! You have a great, fresh ingredient to put in your pies, breads, and soups! Also, cooked pumpkin freezes well. I put mine in ziplock freezer bags so that I can thaw-and-snip.

Here is one of my very favorite things to make with fresh cooked pumpkin: pie! We usually leave some lumps in the pumpkin to give the pie more texture and body, but you can puree it, too.

Fresh Pumpkin Pie

2 cups fresh pumpkin (see above for tips)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
2 uncooked pie crusts (use your favorite recipe or – gasp – a store-bought crust)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Gently roll each pie crust onto two pie dishes. In a large bowl, mix well pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, brown sugar, spices, and salt. Pour half of the mixture into one of the prepared crusts, and pour the other half into the second prepared crust. Cover the exposed edges of the crust with strips of aluminum foil, and bake for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the filling comes out clean. Yield 2 pies.

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