OK – I was perfectly fine to set the home-grown pumpkin on the front porch as a fall “decoration”. Maybe it would last seven weeks without rotting and could be carved as a jack-o-lantern. Yeeess – it was very humid and hot still - I live in south Texas, you know - but it might have lasted. Annnd, I got nowhere. No, said MHN, we (did you see the “WE” part? That translates to “you do everything and I’ll kibitz”) should make pies. Pie-S???? As in more than one? Why???
Here I should explain. I don’t care for pumpkin – pie, cookies, muffins, cake – I just don’t care for the taste. Possibly because I was never exposed to it in my growing up years. My mother never did Thanksgiving. We always went to the beach and had chili. (Mother’s comment was – why do a big Thanksgiving dinner in November and then duplicate it three weeks later for Christmas.) And, we only had ambrosia and angel food cake at Christmas.
Fine – I pulled out the cookbooks. Now, remember, this was the mid-1980,s – limited to cookbooks only. I was a pretty good cook but I stayed within my safety net of foods I knew – pumpkin was not in that net. All the recipes I found called for 2 cups of cooked or canned pumpkin. Nowhere did it say anything about cooking a pumpkin. So, I boiled it like I would a potato. Cut off the top then, clean out all the innards (this time all went into the trash). Cut it into smallish chunks and started peeling off the outer skin. Work – mega WORK.
Please note - a this point, MHN made the big mistake by telling me “You are cutting that pumpkin wrong”. Excuse me???? Oh, show me how it’s done – gave him the knife and the pumpkin chunks and said – Go forth and give me peeled pumpkin pieces! When that little chore was done, I put them in a pot of boiling water and about 45 minutes later, had soft pumpkin pieces. Then, I treated it like making mashed potatoes without adding milk or butter. And eventually had pumpkin stuff. This whole process, from uncut pumpkin to now, had taken several hours and still hadn’t made a pie. Way more trouble than it’s worth.
OK, so now I know you do this differently. First of all, you buy or grow pie pumpkins which are fairly small and sweet. And, after cleaning out the guts, you slice the pumpkin in quarters and put it in the oven at 350° for 45 minutes. Then, just peel the fruit away from the outer shell. Much easier. Drop the pieces into a food processor or blender and puree. And VOLIA! Pumpkin stuff!
A lot of pumpkin stuff was produced. A great big huge amount of pumpkin stuff. Probably enough for 42 pies. (OK, so I kept out the necessary 2 cups and threw the rest away - bad, I know but I really don't care for pumpkin anything.)
The rest of the pie making was fast and easy. And, I have to say, it was a pretty good pie. Fresh pumpkin has a much better flavor than canned. So, I hear you asking, do I make pumpkin pies, etc. more often now? Oh hell no. I am not going to that much trouble (even with the easier method of acquiring pumpkin stuff) ever again.