The Art of Darkness

This Pumpkin Pie Will Change Your Life (Possibly. Could Happen.)

December 15th, 2011 by Cobwebs

Jarrahdale PumpkinHey, kids! I don’t post recipes too often, but I think I might have inadvertently created the Holy Grail of pumpkin pies and I wanted to share.

I’m going to be honest right up front and say that achieving the very best results is going to take a little bit of work, because it involves making your own pumpkin puree instead of using the canned stuff. However, that’s really quite easy–just a bit time-consuming–and holy moses is it worth it.

And if that sounds entirely like too much effort, you can cheat and use canned pumpkin and still get a pretty amazing pie. I won’t tell.

To make your own puree, for pie or other purposes,* you’ll need a pumpkin in the 6-10 lb range–preferably of a variety that’s meant for cooking. Pumpkins called “sugar” or “pie” are fairly widely available at grocery stores and farmer’s markets in the fall, but also look for heirloom varieties like Jarrahdale (above), Queensland Blue, or Cinderella’s Coach.

Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out all of the seeds–save for toasting–and stringy stuff. Place face-down on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 350F for about an hour, or until easily pierced with a fork. Cool, then scoop out the flesh with a big spoon or an ice cream scoop or whatever sort of utensil makes you happy.

Now for the boring part: Run all of the scooped-out flesh through a food mill. You can puree it with a food processor or blender if you have to, but running it through the mill makes a much finer puree, and the resulting pie is almost mousse-like. After it’s smoother than a stripper’s legs, line a strainer with a couple of layers of cheesecloth or a few disposable coffee filters (which is what I use), put it over a bowl, and drain the puree in the refrigerator overnight. You will be astonished at how much liquid comes out, so make sure whatever bowl you use will handle at least 3-4 cups without overflowing. Throw this out or use it to water houseplants or put it in a smoothie or whatever.

At this point, you can optionally concentrate it even more by putting it in a saucepan over very low heat and stirring it occasionally to prevent scorching for half an hour or so, to drive off more moisture. Cool, and refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to six months.

And now for the pie.

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