Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or Sunday dinner – sweet pumpkin pie is a great dessert for any occasion!
After using canned filling for my pumpkin pie for years, I finally decided to make one from scratch (kind of – I still use store bought pastry!). It’s a little time consuming but ended up tasting way nicer!
Some advice on choosing your pumpkin: In New Zealand we don’t have awesome pie pumpkins like they do in America. Never fear, crown pumpkin or butternut squash work just as well – I used ¼ of a Crown pumpkin that was 11″ diameter (you want to end up with 3 cups of pumpkin puree).
|1||cup||sugar (see step 4 for alternatives)|
|1 ½||teaspoons||ground cinnamon|
|1||teaspoon||ground mixed spice|
|1 ½||cans||(375ml each) of evaporated milk (I use the nonfat version)|
|Sweet Short Pastry|
1: Wash your pumpkin in warm water, remove seeds and scrape out the stringy, dangly stuff that coats the inside surface (use a heavy ice cream scoop if you have one), and cut into pieces so that it will fit inside a microwave safe bowl (leave the skin on). The fewer the number of pieces, the easier it will to scoop out the cooked pumpkin afterwards.
Put a couple of inches of water in the bowl, cover it, and put in the microwave. I cook it on high until it is soft. That may take 20 minutes or more, so like anything else, try 15 minutes, see how much it is softened, then do 5 minute increments until it is soft. Alternatively, you can also bake the prepared pumpkin in the oven. Basically, you cut and scoop out the pumpkin as above, place it cut side down into a covered oven container. Cover the ovenproof container (with a lid or tinfoil), and pop it in an 165 °C oven. It normally takes about 45 minutes to 90 minutes (it can vary a lot!); just test it periodically by sticking it with a fork to see if it is soft.
Whichever method you use, cook the pumpkin until it is soft and will separate from the skin.
2: Once it is cooked until it is soft, it is easy to scoop out the flesh with a broad, smooth spoon, (such as a tablespoon). Use the spoon to gently lift and scoop the cooked pumpkin out of the skin. It should separate easily an in fairly large chunks, if the pumpkin is cooked enough.
3: Puree the pumpkin using a hand blender or a food processor, and set aside.
Note: You can freeze the puree or pie filling to use it later! Just use a freezer bag or other container to remove as much air as possible.
4: Mix together the all the filling ingredients.
If you want to replace the sugar, try one of these:
1 ¼ C honey
1 C agave
1 C brown sugar
⅓ C Stevia
1 ¼ C Splenda
I use a 50/50 mix of sugar and Splenda.
5: Press the sweet short pastry into the pie dish, and fill with the pie filling (which should be quite runny), leaving about ½ – 1 cm at the top for the filling to expand with cooking.
TIP: What do you do if you end up with more filling than will fit in your pie crust(s)? Easy! Of course, you can make another, smaller pie crust and fill a small pie pan… or just grease any baking dish, of a size that the extra filling will fill to a depth of about 2″, and pour the extra filling in, then bake it. It will be a crustless pumpkin pie that has the consistency of baked custard – yum!
TIP: You may want to cover the exposed edges of the crust with strips of tinfoil to prevent them from burning!
6: Bake at 210 °C for the first 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 175 °C and bake another 45 to 60 minutes, until a clean knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
7: Remove from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.