Sunday, November 15, 2009

Getting into the Holiday Spirit

I spent an entire afternoon last year calling grocery stores. Why? I needed some pumpkins. I called every single major grocer within a 100 mile radius from my house. Whenever they'd answer, I'd ask for produce, then tell the person on the other end of the line that I was looking for sugar pumpkins. These aren't your Jack-o-lantern pumpkins, they're smaller, full of sugar and meat, and used for pies. I'm a pie snob. I make my own crust (finally got that figured out, but it took a while) and I make my own fillings. No canned stuff for me. Which is why I was on a mission. But it was to no avail. The folks at A.J.'s (a snooty, high-class grocer) weren't much help at all. But the lady from Trader Joe's was super friendly. I learned from her that last year was apparently a bad year for pumpkins. Trader Joe's suppliers couldn't get any in stock at all. And so I brought a pie with canned pumpkin to my friend Melissa's giant Thanksgiving shin-dig, head hung in shame.
So I felt all sorts of giddy when I walked into my normal grocery store the day after Halloween and saw the display of tiny pumpkins. Even with nearly a month before Thanksgiving, I knew I had to have them. Cooking them is almost as easy as opening up a can of "pumpkin." Did you know that most canned pumpkin is not really pumpkin at all, but some other squash? The first step is to cut them in half. And who doesn't like getting all stabby?
You may notice all the pumpkin guts already on the counter. I'm a messy person in general and this project isn't for the clean freaks anyway. But it's all worth it in the end. Of course, the next step is to get out all the goo from the insides.
Once the pumpkins were all cut, I put them face down on a cookie sheet and baked them until they smelled good. That comes out to about 45 minutes or so. How do they smell so cinnamony already? I love the color of the pumpkin here.
The easiest part is getting the good stuff out of the pumpkin skins. You'd think that you should let it cool so that you can scoop out the flesh, but since they're already face down, they easiest way is just to peel the skin off of the still warm pumpkins. Once everything was cool, I ran the pumpkin through a food processor to smooth it all out. Four little pumpkins make an awful lot of goo. Here's the results after getting processed. It'll probably give me two pies with enough left over for pumpkin bread. Awesome. And since I still had nearly a month until Thanksgiving, it all went into the freezer. But I'll have a real pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving this year at Melissa's.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome post! I did NOT know that pumpkin from a can wasn't pumpkin at all! What a farce! I know feel like maybe I could make real pumpkin pie on my own...thanks for the directions and pictures! And I do like getting all stabbity =)