A Plumpin’ Pumpkin Pie

I don’t know what’s happening in the universe, where I would publish three kitchen-based blog posts in a row, but we’re going to roll with it.

I mentioned in this other post how Dad bakes pumpkin pies from actual pumpkins, and I was always super impressed by that. Then I started doing it myself, the first time being mostly unsuccessful, though I’ve only gotten better since.

I remember when Mom gave me her cookbook that had Dad’s super-secret pie recipe in it. Dad wasn’t all that thrilled Mom gave me the book, and had to make sure he had a copy of his beloved pie recipe.

The thing about that pie recipe was Dad had altered it to make it his own. I followed his version of the recipe for years, but lately have altered it even more to be my own, so now it’s only a distant cousin of the original.

First – you need to bake a pumpkin. I used to cut my pumpkins down the middle length-wise, then I saw a youtube video of someone who is a living-history guru, and he sliced the pumpkin hamburger style. This blew my mind.

But you know what? It’s the only way I cook pumpkins now. They’re easier to slice, easier to scoop, and easier to handle after cooking. I slice them in half, put them cut sides down in the oven, and when they’re done (baked at about 350 for anywhere from 45 – 60 minutes), the skin peels right off, and I’m only left with beautiful cooked pumpkin. No trying to scoop it out and leaving half of it attached to the skin. It’s amazing.

Then I take that cooked pumpkin, throw it in a bowl, and use my handy-dandy immersion blender to smooth everything out. At this point, you can store the pureed pumpkin in bags in the fridge or freezer, or get right to making your pie.

Here’s the doctored version I’ve come up with, and have affectionately named the Plumpin’ Pumpkin Pie.

I think I’m allergic to it, because every time I eat it, I swell up and have to buy bigger pants and an elliptical.

(This is for a 10″ pie. Anything smaller and you will only make a huge mess.)

In a medium mixing bowl, slightly beat two eggs. Stir in 1 3/4 c. prepared pumpkin, 1/4 c. brown sugar, 1/2 c. sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 (slightly heaping) tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ginger, 1/4 tsp. ground cloves, and 1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice.

Mix in 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk, and 1/2 c. whole milk.

Carefully pour the mixture into your crust in a 10″ pie pan.

This will be a soupy, sloppy mixture. It’s best if your pie crusts are already next to your oven so you don’t have to walk tight-rope style across the kitchen floor trying not to spill this as you place it in your oven. Ask me how I know this.

Put in a preheated 425* oven for 15 minutes. Turn oven temp down to 350* and bake for another 45 – 60 minutes, or until knife (or toothpick) comes out clean from center. (In crummy ovens, it has taken me 60 – 90 minutes… just know your oven, and protect that pie crust!!)

The pie will look a little inflated, but it will settle back down as it cools.

But you’re not done. Those seeds you scooped out of your pumpkin? Wash those babies off really well, removing any remaining pumpkin guts.

Spread them on a dishtowel (not a paper towel, a real-deal towel) and sprinkle them with salt. (We use pink himalayan sea salt because we’re snobs.) Let them dry OVERNIGHT. Don’t dab them, don’t cover them, don’t get too close and breathe your curious germs on them. Just let them be.

The next morning, pry those suckers off the towel and onto a foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake them at 350 for 10 – 20 minutes, keeping an eye on them (seriously, check them every few minutes) to make sure they don’t scorch.

When they’re done (you’ll know because they’ll be a light shade of brown and look toasted), put them in a bowl you can eat them from once they’re cooled off.

The best part – peel the foil off the cookie sheet, throw it away, and put the cookie sheet back in the cupboard. No washing! Then, enjoy some of the tastiest (and easiest) roasted pumpkin seeds you’ve ever had.

I guess you just got a two-for-one recipe post.

And pages 2 and 3 of my cookbook. To be released at a later date when I make up more recipes and have coffee with Ree Drummond.

…so maybe don’t hold your breath. Make this pie instead.

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