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Oh my, pumpkin pie


Before you dump or compost your pumpkin, don't let it go to waste. You know - the one you savagely hacked into over the weekend? It can be made into a plethora of yummy, healthy and unusual dishes for you and your family. Variety is the spice of life.

This is the perfect time to puree your pumpkin that you have carved into - any later and the inside of your pumpkin will start to get moldy. For pumpkins you have not carved, they can last for a number of months, depending on where you have them placed in your home {sunny or warm area = less time}.

The most basic way to store your pumpkin is to cook and puree it. So many pumpkin recipes call for pureed pumpkin - pumpkin pie, soup, sauce, cookies, bread, cheese, chili, fudge, mashed with potato, etc.

To puree your pumpkin: cut a lid in the top and scoop out the seeds and stringy membranes. Cut the pumpkin in half  and place cut side down on tin foil. Cook for 40 minutes at 350F/180C. To check if your pumpkin is ready, pierce it with a knife: knowing if it's cooked will be the same as checking a potato. Don't be surprised if your pumpkin needs more time, since the size and density of all pumpkins vary.

When your pumpkin has cooked and is cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and place the pumpkin flesh into a bowl. My weapon of choice is a hand blender. Blend that baby into a smooth puree. From here, you can use the puree immediately in a recipe, or you can freeze it for future recipes. I'm all about freezing. Freeze in small batches in stead of one big bowl. You'll only ever need two cups of puree at a time in one recipe.

We had two pumpkins this year, so I'm hoping to try as many recipes as possible. Last night I made a scrumptious and simple pumpkin pie. A perfect and hearty accompaniment  for cold autumn nights. To check out the delicious recipe I used and tweaked where I found necessary click below to see more ...

Additional note: a point my dad has made in the past - for when pumpkins are not in season and you have a hankering for pumpkin pie, make a substitute using butternut squash. Your taste buds will be none the wiser.

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups of pumpkin puree
1/2 cup of sugar {the original recipe called for 3/4 cups, which would be over bearingly sweet}
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of ground/dried ginger
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon 
1 teaspoon of all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup evaporated milk {I used soya cream as an alternative}
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 blind baked pastry shell {basic pastry recipe is perfect, or if you're lazy, store bought pastry pack will do plenty}

Method
Pumpkin pie is really straight forward. Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour into pastry lined pan and carefully place into the oven. Bake at 400F/200C for 15 minutes, then lower to 350F/180C for 45 minutes or until center is set. To check this, take a clean knife and insert into the center of the pie. If the knife is clean when you remove it, then the pie is perfect. If not, cook further in 10 minute shifts until set.

For a real treat, enjoy pumpkin pie with whipped cream tainted with either maple syrup or Baileys. YUM.
Click here for a handy cooking calculator, should you prefer to measure in cups, mls, oz etc.

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