A Great Pumpkin Pie!

Those that know how I cook, know that nothing gives me greater satisfaction then making something from scratch.  And a 'scratch baked' pumpkin pie has to rate right up there.  This recipe starts out with one small "Sugar Pumpkin", and ends up as one delicious dessert.

You can also make excellent and savory pies from some of the fleshier winter squash varieties such as Butternut, Buttercup, Red Kuri, or Kabocha.  However, these types of squash have a meatier texture and a more distinctive, vegetable flavor.  The pumpkin is lighter in texture and flavor than is winter squash which makes it unsurpassed in a desert pie.  NB:  You can even use the sweet potato as filling for your pie.

In any event, by using quality ingredients you’ll be rewarded by optimum flavor.  Fresh pumpkin tastes more vital, so you can use less sugar for a satisfying rather than cloying sweet taste.  And, according to Oriental medicine, pumpkin specifically helps regulate blood sugar and digestive functions.

Finally, pumpkin pie from scratch enables you to enjoy another homey treat—roasted pumpkin seeds.  A great-tasting snack, high in fiber (if you eat the shell as I do), a superior source of omega-3 fatty acids, and an excellent source of iron, zinc, phosphorus and vitamin-A.

Yield:  One 9-inch single-crust pumpkin pie

Ingredients:  Crust

Directions:  For Crust

In a large enough bowl, use your fingers and combine the flour and salt.  Cut the butter or lard into cubes or chunks, and add them to the flour/salt mixture.  With your fingertips (or you can use a pastry cutter), quickly and deftly rub the butter or lard into the flour to make a dry, crumbly mixture.

Sprinkle about 2 of the 3 tablespoons of cold water over the mixture.  Using a fork, rapidly stir the mixture until it gathers into clumps.  If the mixture seems too dry, add a bit more water, but only enough to hold the dough together.  Gently form the dough into a disk.  Wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator to rest and chill for 15 minutes to 1 hour.

Ingredients:  Filling


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

While the dough is chilling, cut pumpkin in half, remove the seeds, place the pumpkin halves in a pan, skin-side up, and bake for 1-hour or until the pumpkin is tender and exudes liquid, and the shell starts to sag.

While the pumpkin is roasting, lightly butter a 9-inch pie pan.  Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and, starting from the center out, roll the dough to about 2 inches larger than the size of the pan.  I find that a piece of baking parchment works well under the dough (a silpat matt or pad should work as well).  Lift the pastry, fold it in half, and unfold it into your pie pan.  Press it into place, trim off the excess dough and crimp the edges.  Set aside until the filling is made.

When the pumpkin is ready, scrape the pulp from the shell and purée it with a fork, potato masher, or in a blender.  Measure out 2-cups of the purée.  Reserve any additional pumpkin purée for another use (another pie or even soup).

Increase the temperature of the oven to 425°F.

In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs.  Add the purée and the remaining ingredients and stir until blended.  Pour the mixture into the pie pan prepared in the previous step.

Bake for 15-minutes at 425°F, then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake an additional 45-minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool slightly before serving.