Last year, when the farmer's market was looking sad with nothing but kale and onions and potatoes, I bought a sugar pumpkin, just 'cause it looked so cute. When I got it home I wasn't quite sure what I'd do with it. Unlike Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins, which really aren't the most delicious for cooking and eating, sugar pumpkins are much smaller, more round than squat, and they have flesh that is firmer, and less stringy and watery, than their larger sisters.
That makes them perfect for cooking and baking.
I searched around for a recipe and found the following extremely simple, and extremely well reviewed one, called Mrs. Sigg's Fresh Pumpkin Pie. I made it. Readers, I died. I DIED! It was delicious, and even kinda healthy (I swapped out evaporated skim milk for the evaporated milk). It made me want to hunt down Mrs. Sigg and slap her silly. In other words, I was hooked-- I must have made this pie 4 or 5 times last winter.
Making pumpkin pie from scratch may sound a bit crazy - why buy the cow when you can get a can of pumpkin at the supermarket for next to nothing?--but I promise once you make this recipe you most likely won't ever go back to yucky canned stuff again. The only thing that takes time here is roasting the pumpkin, which you do by just cutting the thing in half, scoop out the seeds (ice cream scoop works well), then putting both halves cut-side down on a baking sheet and letting it hang out in a 325 degree oven for half an hour or longer.
You'll know it's done when you squeeze it's little tushy while wearing an oven mitt (it will be freaking hot at this point!) and it gives in to your squeeze. When you take the pumpkin out of the oven, let it cool off a bit before holding each half over a bowl and scraping out all the mushy goodness (you'll want to be wearing oven mitts for this part too, cause that thing will still be hot). The recipe says to puree it but that's not even really necessary. It will just mash up like baby food.
In fact, I started getting so into this that I roasted and saved a few bags of pureed pumpkin in the freezer, so I could make this pie whenever the mood hit me. BeeTeeDubs, if you're looking fora crust recipe, you can't go wrong with this no-cholesterol pie crust recipe, which is what I use when making this pie.
Okay, on to the recipe:
1 sugar pumpkin
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch single crust
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1. Cut pumpkin in half and remove seeds. Place cut side down on a cookie sheet lined with lightly oiled aluminum foil. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the flesh is tender when poked with a fork. Cool until just warm. Scrape the pumpkin flesh from the peel. Either mash, or puree in small batches in a blender. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C.)
2. In a large bowl, slightly beat eggs. Add brown sugar, flour, salt, 2 cups of the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and evaporated milk. Stir well after each addition.
3. Pour mixture into the unbaked pastry shell. Place a strip of aluminum foil around the edge of the crust to prevent over browning.
4. Bake 10 minutes at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C), then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake an additional 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove the strip of foil about 20 minutes before the pie is done so that the edge of the crust will be a light golden brown. Cool pie, and refrigerate overnight for best flavor.