Homemade Pumpkin Puree and Half-Pint Pumpkin Pie

This Thanksgiving, I was asked to bring pumpkin pie to the Family Thanksgiving dinner on my husband’s side. I decided to make my pumpkin pie 100% from scratch with all-natural and organic ingredients.
I purchased a beautiful pumpkin at the Farmer’s Market and it sat on my front porch for about a month this Autumn. It looked beautiful with my decorative gourd and mini white pumpkin, which I made into a flower arrangement (see below).
Here’s the process for going from pumpkin to puree to pie:  
First, Clean the outside of the pumpkin (especially since mine was sitting on the front porch). Remove the top, using a very sharp knife. Remove seeds, using a sturdy ice cream scoop.
Save the seeds for roasting!! I always thought it was hard, but it really was quite easy! Check out this post on how to roast pumpkin seeds, and this site for more options on roasting recipes.
Prepare Pumpkin for  Homemade Pumpkin Puree – two options here: Roast or Steam. My pumpkin was larger enough to use half on two separate pans in the oven as well as two large pots on the stovetop. It was neat to utilize both preparation methods with the same pumpkin so I could compare and contrast. I highly recommend the roasting option.
1. Quarter the pumpkin and Roast (recipe from Simply Bites).

OR  2. Steam: Fill large pot with 1″ of water in the bottom, cut pumpkin into large  chunks (with skin on), bring to boil, turn down to simmer, cover and steam for 25-30 minutes. Drain.

Either way, let it cool before you peel (or cut) the skin away from the pulp.

Meanwhile, make the dough. I used my Grandma Kahler’s Recipe, using butter instead of Crisco and hard white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose. Cut out dough using jar lids (I recommend using the lid from a jar that’s one size larger than the jars you’ll be using) and press dough into half cup or half pint jars; mini pumpkin pie idea from Little Bit Funky blog.

Once cooked pumpkin is cool, peel and cut into smaller pieces and pulse in a food processor until smooth (Note: for the roasted version, you may need to add up to 1/4 c. water, but caution not to make it too watery; for the steamed, you may need to press and drain with a cheese cloth, paper towel or fine mesh sieve).

Using pumpkin puree, follow your favorite pumpkin pie recipe and simply use the same amount as you would canned pumpkin puree.

I used the recipe from the On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals, 2nd edition, by Sarah R. Labensky and Alan M. Hause (copyright by Prentice Hall in NJ, 1999, pages 954-5) that yields enough pie filling for 4 9″ pies:

Ingredients: 4 slightly beaten eggs, 2 lbs. pumpkin puree, 12 oz. sugar, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. ground cloves, 2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1 tsp. ground ginger, 24 oz. evaporated milk.

Instructions: “1. Combine the eggs and pumpkin. Blend in the sugar. 2. Add the salt and spices, then the evaporated milk. Whisk until completely blended and smooth. 3. Allow the filling to rest for 15-20 minutes before filling the pie shells. This allows the starch in the pumpkin to begin absorbing liquid, making it less likely to separate after baking. 4. Pour the filling into unbaked pie shells. Place in the oven on a preheated sheet pan at 400F (200C). Bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350F (180C) and bake until knife inserted near the center comes out clean, approximately 40-50 minutes.”

Here’s another recipe for Pie in a Jar from “The Nerd’s Wife” blog.

Note: I added the little cut out leaves and pastry pumpkins about half way through baking, so they didn’t sink to the bottom. Also, I test the pumpkins about 1″ from the center instead of directly in the center. Custard type pies continue to cook after you pull them out of the oven.

Store remaining puree in glass jars and store in the refrigerator or measure out into the right amount for pumpkin pie or muffins and freeze in Ziploc freezer bags.

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