Over eight bucks for a pumpkin this year which is bigger than medium sized — barely. Got enough meat to make NINE pies from it!
Ever wonder if it is worth it paying so much for that pumpkin to make a Jack-o-lantern for Halloween only to throw it out afterwards? Well, there is a way to put it to other good uses!
First, however, you should wait until closer to Halloween to carve it so it doesn’t spoil. Clean the outside with bleach and allow to dry before wiping it down and carving to decrease spoilage and sanitize. Do not use petroleum jelly, paints, or other products on it and make sure candles are inside glass candle holders so not melting all over the pumpkin meat.
Afterwards, rinse and wipe dry (to remove dirt and any bugs attracted to the light), cut it up and oven roast just until tender but not browned then scrape meat off the rind and puree it. Package it up in 1-3/4 to 2 cup serving sizes and freeze it for making pumpkin pies! Two liquid measure cups is enough to make one 10 inch pumpkin pie or one deep 9 inch pie!
A little browning won’t hurt and it helps to put a little water (thin layer) in the bottom of the pan or brushed over the meat. Place the pumpkin pieces skin side down and meat side up on the pan. Roast at 350 F to 375 F degrees for about an hour to an hour and a half — just until the meat is tender when a knife or fork is stuck into it.
It’s a bit more work but you can also boil until tender (avoiding the roast flavor if prefer for other recipes) but it will need to be drained well and excess liquid squeezed out well before it is pureed and frozen. When thawed you should then squeeze and drain more liquid out before using to make pies, cakes, or breads so they don’t end up soggy and water logged. But it can be used in soups and stews much like squash or zucchini without any additional removal of excess fluids.
You can also cut the Jack-o-lantern up, sprinkle it with brown sugar and cinnamon or pumpkin pie spices (see pie recipe below for spices), then oven roast and when cool enough eat it off the rind!
The following recipe shows substitutes to use in place of the sugars and evaporated milk if needed for dairy free, very low sugar, and vegan versions.
There are commercially available cans of lactose free evaporated milk.
To go egg free, substitute 1 Tbsp. cornstarch for each egg.
Almond milk works just as well as evaporated milk in this (and many other) recipes.
If gluten sensitive or have celiac disorder, use a purchased or homemade gluten free crust or simply oil/grease a baking dish and bake the filling without even using a crust to eat just like you would a baked custard or flan.
Yield: 2 pumpkin pies
2 pie crusts, 9 or 10 inch, may use choice of shortbread or graham cracker
unsalted butter for greasing
2 pie pans or pie dishes, 9 or 10 inch, recommend a deep dish if going with a 9 inch
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (or substitute 1/2 cup sucralose with either 2 Tbsp molasses or 4 Tbsp dark brown sugar)
1 cup granulated sugar (or substitute sucralose)
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground clove
4 cups pumpkin puree (or 2 cans of pumpkin 15 ounces each)
2 cans (12 ounces each) evaporated milk (or may substitute lactose free evaporated milk or almond milk)
Lightly rub two pie 9 or 10 inch pans or glass pie dishes with butter and line with crust. Crimp edges with dinner fork tines or by hand as desired.
Poke tiny holes if using a shortbread crust with fork tines to prevent air pockets forming underneath and pushing crust upwards shoving filling out. Do not pre-bake crusts; it would then over bake in time needed for the custard to cook.
Blend pie fillings ingredients together in a large bowl until well incorporated and smooth.
Divide equally between the two crust lined pans.
To prevent crust edges from over browning or burning, cut a hole in the center of a pie pan sized circle of heavy duty foil or into a same sized foil pie tin to cover the crust edges while leaving the filling uncovered.
Preheat oven to 425° F.
Place spaced apart on center rack of oven.
Bake at 425° F for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.
Cool on wire racks (about 2 hours). If do not have wire cooling racks, may cool on top of cold stove top burner.
May also just place on a heat safe surface or doubled over towel, but it may take up to four hours to fully cool. To help get air flow underneath try placing something heat resistant under the edges to lift the bottom of it upwards or balance carefully on top of a slightly smaller spring form pan ring, bowl, or pan — anything so that the bottom of the pie is suspended.
Serve immediately or cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate to chill first if desired. Top with whipped cream before serving if desired.
I have never personally refrigerated a pumpkin pie because they never last long enough here to require it. They are usually gone within two hours if not sooner!
Recommendations are that they be loosely covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated — once they have cooled down enough not to sweat and become soggy.