Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins...

How to turn these:

Into this:

Good Morning! Like many of you, I'm sure, I have pumpkins that I refuse to not use every last bit of. So, I'd like to share some pumpkin recycling ideas with you. Being the terrible Mom that I am, I waited until after my local store only had very small pumpkins, so I started out with 4 small pumpkins, which is about the same amount I got last year from one medium pumpkin. Start by washing the pumpkins, scrape out the remainder of the innards that didn't get removed when carving, and cut them into pieces and place on a cookie sheet like this:

Bake them in a 350* oven for about an hour. I heard on the Rachel Ray show yesterday, to put the skins up, and I will try it next time, but this method has worked great for me so far. They will come out looking like this:

Let them cool for a while, and peel them. It is easiest to break the piece in half and peel from the middle out, I have found. Keep the peels for the wildlife (or chickens in my case) and put the pumpkin in a bowl. I have tried quite a few ways of mashing the pumpkin, and found my good old fashioned hand mixer did the job best. I have not tried a large food processor, because I don't have one, but my small one didn't work. The pumpkin should come out like this:

To make the crust:

3 cups flour

1/2 cup lard or 1 cup shortening (I used lard because that's what I had for suet making)

1 tsp. vinegar

milk (for consistency)

Place all of the ingredients, except for milk into a mixing bowl, adding it only a little bit at a time, just until it is the right consistency. Combine with hands, it is much more fun that way, and separate into two balls, now you have a spare crust in the freezer also. I put the one that I am going to roll right away in the fridge for a little while before I roll it out, they just seem to need time to "rest". Generously flour your rolling surface and roll 'til you think it's right, we like ours a little thicker, and this is what it looked like:

To make the filling:
Take about 1/4 of your pumpkin, and freeze the rest (you should have three pkgs for the freezer).
Cream together pumpkin, 4 eggs and 1 3/4 cups sugar.
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp ginger
Mix well together with pumpkin/sugar mix.
Heat 1 cup of milk and add 1 T. (not tsp.) butter to milk and mix with pie filling.
Pour into crust and bake at 375* for 30-40 minutes, when center of pie is firm, it is done.
Let cool, and top with one small container of whipped topping.

Now, a few other pumpkin recycling ideas. As we all know pumpkin seeds can be roasted by covering with spices (we use garlic salt, pepper and chili pepper) and roasting at 400* for fifteen to thirty minutes. One very good thing I found with the small pumpkins is that their seeds are much more tender. If you don't like pumpkin seeds, still wash and dry them and put them out for the wildlife, they will really appreciate sharing in the Halloween leftovers. This is what ours looked like, and they were delicious.

But, the funniest part of the story is the pumpkin bread I made the same day as this pie. Everything looked beautiful, I put them in the oven and ran to do other things. Well, I could tell that they were done by smell, and was a little surprised the timer had not gone off, but I went to check them anyway. The middle had fallen so badly that my loaves of bread looked like huge pumpkin canyons! This has never happened to me before, so I was quite flustered and for the life of me I couldn't figured out what I had done differently. The next night (Monday) I went to go make dinner, and when I came back into the kitchen to see if the oven was preheated, it was on FIRE!!!! Our element was literally throwing flames as high as the ceiling of the oven! Luckily as soon as I turned off the oven the flames went out, but I got the giggles so badly I couldn't hardly talk; here I'd been beating myself up over three messed up loaves of pumpkin bread, when I'm darn lucky I didn't burn down the house!

Have a miracle of a day!
P.S. Aren't you proud of me for remembering to take pictures? And, no I'm not showing you my failed loaves-ha!!!!

No comments: