Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pumpkin Pie!

Pumpkin Pie in my Emile Henry ruffled pie dish
which my old college friend, Sharon, gave me!
I think what I like most about baking is that it connotes some sort of celebration or special occasion.  Most of us don't bake every single day (unless you happen to own a bakery!).  ;-)  So when we pull out the flour, sugar, butter, etc. and bake something up for our families, it automatically makes a statement that says, "This is special."

Whether it's a special day, a special occasion, or special company (baking is an age-old way of showing our loved ones how much they mean to us), the statement is definitely made.

The minute the cool, fall temperatures arrived here in Colorado, Ana got out her pie pan and made a pumpkin pie.  Why not?  Why wait until Thanksgiving, or even Halloween to enjoy one?

There are pumpkins everywhere here where we live.  I've got two big pumpkins framing my front porch steps, and assorted smaller ones on my kitchen table.  It's never too early to enjoy a warm, spiced, rich pumpkin pie!  Celebrate the arrival of Fall with your favorite pumpkin recipes!

And while we're on the topic, if you've never made pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkin (instead of canned), I can absolutely assure you that it is well worth the effort.  There is such an amazingly delicious difference between a pie made with canned vs. fresh pumpkin.  They're both tasty, without any doubt ... but if you've never tasted a pie made with fresh pumpkin, I encourage you to try it!  You'll probably be a convert at the very first bite!

The easiest way to prepare pumpkin for pie is to roast it in the oven until tender.  Select a good sized pie pumpkin (smaller and sweeter than normal jack-o-lantern pumpkins, sometimes called sugar pumpkins ... ask your grocer or local produce vendor) and wash it well to remove any dirt.  Slice the pumpkin in half and remove all the seeds and strings.  Place the cut-side-down on a parchment- or foil-covered baking sheet to catch any juices, and bake at 350°F until tender (about an hour or so, depending upon the thickness of your pumpkin).

When tender, remove from the oven and allow to cool.  When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, scrape the tender flesh from the rind into a bowl.  Once all of the meat has been removed, mash with a potato masher, and it is now ready for your favorite pumpkin recipes!

In fact, don't forget pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin soup and any other of your favorite pumpkin recipes.  Come to think of it, you may want to roast two pumpkins!

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