Can you believe it?! A pumpkin pie post!!!! I am screaming and jumping internally while writing this and also externally, because there's nothing better than a taste of autumn so early in the year. Truthfully, as soon as September 1st hits, I believe it is fall and just ignore anyone who says otherwise. I saw a hilarious post about shutting up about fall until the 22nd (the autumn equinox), to which I said, "BYE, HATER" and picked pumpkins from my garden. The pumpkins are ready, and so am I! Did you grow pumpkins this year? How did they fare? We have received about 10 early pumpkins already, which is what I used to make my pie, and there are another 20 or so left in the garden. They still need another week or two, so I will be picking them when we come home from Country Living Fair.
I debated back and forth about making this post a Colonial Kitchen feature or a From the Garden feature, since it is true... this pumpkin came from my garden! If you are like me and growing little pie pumpkins, or sugar pumpkins, than you can make them into pie and other types of dishes. I plan on using mine for chili and stew! And even pureeing the flesh and canning it. Yummy! I picked these pumpkins at the beginning of August and was so excited that I immediately went inside to make a pie super early. To my surprise, the inside of the pumpkin was completely green! Call me silly, but I assumed once the skin turned orange and hard, the pumpkin was ready to eat. Nope! They need at least 10 days to cure in 80-85 degrees. So I placed the rest of the squash in the greenhouse (we always keep the door open to lower humidity) and let them sit for actually about 3 weeks. Then we moved them into the shed, where a breeze could reach them, and only lost one to rot. It was a process, but cracking open this pumpkin was such a pleasure! Orange and fleshy... ready to bake!
I decided to go with a Colonial Kitchen post because autumn always makes me feel sentimental. It's my birth month this month, and I definitely think there is a celestial pull for me. My emotional tug is taught, and I get so filled with watery eyes and this out of body wonder every year that it's sometimes strange. Do you ever feel that way during certain seasons? If I could compare it to anything, it's a similar feeling that Lorelai has when the first snow happens in Gilmore Girls. Something wonderful or awful usually happens, creating lasting memories all throughout my life. Which brings me to wonder how this time was for those colonists that I am always talking about. How is it that I am so interested in the 18th century? I don't know, but I would really like to experience an autumn harvest with them! Maybe they'll invent a time machine before I move on.
I wasn't aware of this, but pumpkins actually originated in Central America around 5,500 BC. It was one of the first crops that the European settlers brought back with them after visiting the New World. That's pretty cool! Which means that turning a pumpkin into a pie wasn't something that was common in Europe at the time, though perhaps it was with other squash. The amazing thing about this pie recipe is that you can use really any type of sweet, orange/yellow squash to make it! I have even used sweet potatoes.
The earliest English recognition of pumpkins goes as far back as 1536, and they soon became well known in England, making it certain that creating pies out of the squash was quite normal when the colonists arrived in the states. Most associate pumpkin pie with Thanksgiving, though it's fairly certain that whatever type of pie they made with pumpkin was created differently than the pies we eat now. Did you know that the "pumpkin filling" you purchase in a can at the grocery store is actually a blend of all different squashes? Have you actually eaten a real pumpkin pie before? I strongly urge you to purchase a pie pumpkin this year!
- Pie Crust (two of them)
- 2 cups pumpkin puree (one pie pumpkin)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- a pinch of ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup milk or half/half
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp butter
- Lately I have been making my pie crust, rolling it out immediately and shaping it to the dish. Then I refrigerate while I prepare everything else. In my pie crust recipe, I tell you to refrigerate it in a disk. Shaping it out first seems to work much better in the long run! So shape your crust. I created the edge on my crust by rolling out a second pie crust, cutting it in strips, and then folding the strips like pictured around the entire edge. It turned out really cute!
- Preheat your oven to 350.
- Line a baking sheet with tin foil and brush with olive oil. Cut your pie pumpkin in half, remove the stem, and place flesh side down on the foil. Cover with more foil and bake for one and a half hours.
- Keep the oven on.
- In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. I sift mine! Mix in the milk, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, and vanilla.
- When warm enough to handle, scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin from the skin with a spoon. It should slide out easily. In a food processor or with a fork, puree the pumpkin. If possible, remove as much moisture from the puree as possible without losing too much of the pumpkin. You may want to do this before pureeing it! If the pumpkin is too wet then the pie will be soupy. I usually put the puree in a cheesecloth and squeeze.
- Mix into the pie filling.
- Over the stove, heat your butter until browned but not burnt. Brown butter! Pour into the pie filling mixture and stir. Pour the filling into the pie shell.
- Brush the crust with whisked egg and place in the oven. Bake for 1 hour. If you want, try using this pie crust protector! It works really well and keeps my crust nice and golden.
- Remove from the oven when the filling is set with a wobbly center. Eat at room temperature or chilled!
While reading up on the history of pumpkin pie, one of the articles I pulled up mentioned an early recipe that used layers of pumpkin, apples, rosemary, sweet marjoram, and thyme. Doesn't that sound delightful? I may have to find that recipe if possible! Or recreate my own version. I love that England was so big on making savory pies at the time. Of course, now when we think of pie, we immediately imagine a sweet fruit pie - at least I do! Another thing I want to mention before we part is the little white lump in my finished pie! It's actually some egg that fell into the filling before I baked it while I was brushing the crust. I don't currently have a pastry brush (mine was so gross), so I have been using a towel to brush with. Super fancy over here! Anyway, some egg fell in and I just left it, resulting in some cooked egg on top. I could have photoshopped it out, but I just didn't feel like it truthfully. That's real life right there! The pie still tasted delicious. Something has to be imperfect, especially since these photos were my dream autumn setting!! (;
Hope you enjoy. Make with real food, people!!!