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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Fun at the Farm and A Pumpkin Pie


What a great day we had on Sunday, the week before Thanksgiving.  We visited Mark's Market at Wooddale in Central Newfoundland and the weather was perfect--as nice as any fall day could be.  As we walked around we started peeling off layers of clothing as the temperature rose to a sunny 21degrees (Celsius).

I think watching Lori, our little granddaughter, made the day even more special.  As she ran from one display to another, her toddler joy was contagious.


 We were met at the gate by a trio of Minions who welcomed us to the farm market.

Lori and Daddy pose for a picture.

We met a few more celebrities as we wandered around the farm.  These four fellows have travelled far from their home in New York City.  Hmmm...maybe something's going down at Wooddale!

Lots of fun for the whole family!

Apart from the vegetables, the big attraction at the market this time of the year is the pumpkins.  


Lori picked out a big pumpkin to take home, but Nanny wanted a small one to make a pie.  Keep reading and you'll get the recipe for a totally, from scratch pumpkin pie.

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Pumpkin Pie
With pumpkin season in full bloom there's no better time to post a recipe for a homemade Pumpkin Pie.  With Thanksgiving a few days away and Halloween following in two weeks there will be lots of pumpkins needing to be used.  (Canadian Thanksgiving is the second Monday in October.)  What do you do with all those pumpkins?  I know some of them can't be eaten after being displayed on porches and lawns but for the pumpkins that are intact and perfectly edible here's a lovely pie with not too much more effort than using canned pumpkin.  Of course, if you don't have a pumpkin, use the canned pumpkin and it will be just as nice.

 
 Here's the pumpkin I bought at the farm. It's just the right size for a pie or two.

Prepare Pumpkin:  Thoroughly wash pumpkin to remove any dirt.  Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and any stringy bits that adhere to the pumpkin flesh.  Remove the stem.

Microwave:  Slice the unpeeled pumpkin in about 8-10 slices or chunks.  Place in a microwave safe bowl and cook on high until soft.  This will vary with each oven so check after 5 minutes and turn the slices around.  I cooked 4 pieces at a time and it took 5 minutes in my microwave oven.  When cooked let cool and scrape the cooked pulp off the skin.  Mash or blend until smooth.  

Mashed with a fork.
OR 

Boil:  Peel the pumpkin and cut in cubes.  Boil in a little unsalted water for about 15 minutes or until pumpkin is soft.  Drain off cooking water.  Mash or blend until smooth.  

 OR

You can also bake or roast the pumpkin, but that will take at least an hour in a 350 degree oven.  After baking of roasting, peel and mash as above.

OR   

You can use canned pumpkin. 


Not all pumpkins are pie pumpkins or sugar pumpkins.  That is, the large pumpkins are much wetter when cooked and will have to be drained.  Smaller pumpkins are usually more fleshy and not as wet and make for a better pie.  But never fear, pie can be made from any pumpkin.  If you find the cooked pumpkin is very watery, leave it in a strainer overnight and let it drip.  Keep it covered in the refrigerator if you do this.   

If you are buying a pumpkin specifically for pie, look for ones marked "pie pumpkins" or "sugar pumpkins".

You will also need 1 9-inch unbaked pie crust.

Now, on to the main event!
 
Pumpkin Pie
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix together:
    1½ cups cooked pumpkin, well mashed or blended smooth
    ¾ cup evaporated milk

If the pumpkin is still lumpy after mashing, mix the milk and pumpkin in a blender or food processor.

Stir in and mix well:
    ⅔ cup lightly packed brown sugar (can increase to 1 cup for a sweeter pie)
    1 teaspoon cinnamon*
    ½ teaspoon ginger*
    ¼ teaspoon cloves*
    ¼ teaspoon nutmeg*
    ½ teaspoon salt
    2 eggs, slightly beaten
    
Pour into:
    1 9-inch unbaked pie crust.
   
The filling will be quite runny but it will firm up as it bakes. 

Aluminum foil protecting the crust from burning.
Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking about 35-45 minutes longer, or until pumpkin custard is almost set.  If you find the crust is browning too fast, cover the edges with strips of aluminum foil.

Remove from oven and let cool.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.

Makes 1 9-inch pie, about 6-8 servings.

*If you don't have all the spices and don't want to buy all those bottles of spice, buy one bottle or can of pumpkin pie spice and use 2 teaspoons to replace the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves in the recipe.

My pumpkin was still quite lumpy, so I blended it with the milk.  It became nice and smooth.  If you have an immersion blender, use that.  Instead of making another bowl dirty, I used the blender to mix up the pie filling.  If you use a blender, use a low setting once the pumpkin is smooth because you don't want to incorporate too much air in the filling.


Once the filling is mixed pour it in an unbaked pie crust.  The filling will be runny before it is baked. Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes and then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 35-45 minutes until filling is set.  Remember Pumpkin Pie is really a pumpkin custard baked in a pie crust so that's why the temperature is turned down.


Remove baked pie and let cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate until ready to eat.  If a sweet liquid collects on top of the pie while it is in the fridge, blot it off with a paper towel before serving.


Decorate your homemade Pumpkin Pie with whipped cream and serve with ice cream if desired.  I add the ice cream suggestion because I have friends who wouldn't think of eating Pumpkin Pie without the ice cream.   

 Today we are having cream with our pie.

Now you may have a piece of your well-deserved Pumpkin Pie!

This is my piece!





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