This Quilter Eats Pumpkin Pie for Breakfast! Plus…my recipe.

On Friday I prepared a homemade pie crust. I’m neither the best nor worst crust maker. Truthfully, I could use more practice making pie crusts. But I’m afraid. You see, I love pie so much that if I practiced more that means I’d be baking more pies. And eating more of them. Probably for breakfast! Once in a while is fine, but at 55 years old, my metabolism isn’t what it once was and I’d like to not have to buy or sew a whole larger size wardrobe due to an out of control pie habit.

OK. Sew. Don’t judge.

This was the last piece. And it was DEEEEEElicious! Plus, pumpkin pie has way more nutrition than most commercial cereals! And technically, this isn’t even “pumpkin”. It’s an heirloom Spanish Squash called Buen Gusto de Horno which means, “good taste from the oven”. I just couldn’t help myself when I saw the gorgeous warty green “pumpkin” picture in the seed catalog listing, but I digress.

So…squash pie. This breakfast is actually pretty darn healthy, don’t you think? You knew all pumpkins are squash but not all squash are pumpkins, right?

I planted just a couple of this variety in my garden this year. Squirrels took one of the plants, but I still managed to get a few 7+ pound beautiful warty fruits from the remaining plant before the early freeze and snow came.

Buen Gusto de Horno Squash

Baker Creek (the seed company from which I purchased my seeds) says this in their description of this pumpkin…er…I mean, squash, “The dense, firm, medium yellow-orange flesh is sweet and fine-grained, and definitely excellent for baking. Add excellent keeping quality, and you’ve got a real winner that everyone is sure to love!

Here’s what it looks like when it’s cut open and the seeds have been scraped:

Now, maybe you’re thinking the inside flesh and thin green rind reminds you a little bit of cantaloupe? Well, I was surprised to discover it also smelled very sweet and quite a lot like cantaloupe. I wondered how this was going to work out for making a pie, but I charged ahead using the roasting and pureeing techniques I used for my New England Sugar Pie Pumpkins.

I was surprised again when I pulled the roasted squash out of the oven and the flesh had turned the most gorgeous deep gold. And the most heavenly, rich pumpkin aroma (no more cantaloupe smell).

OK…on to my recipe. This recipe is inspired by the one I used for YEARS (it came from the back of the can of a famous brand of commercially canned pumpkin). Yes, I did change it up. I don’t like my pumpkin pie too sweet so I cut the sugar a little bit. I also don’t care for quite so much ground cloves. I feel cloves are very strong and overtake the delicious pumpkin flavor; so, I use about 1/2 as much as the original recipe called for.

SewThankful Pumpkin Pie Ingredients:

  • Slightly less than 3/4 cup Granulated natural/unbleached Sugar (I remove about a tablespoon +/- from the 3/4 cup measure)
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon Ground ginger
  • Scant 1/8 Teaspoon Ground cloves (if you don’t have a 1/8 teaspoon, just eyeball about half of a 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups pumpkin (or winter squash) puree (or one 15 oz. can of commercial pumpkin puree)
  • 1 12 fl oz Can Evaporated Milk
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell (4-cup volume)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Whisk together the dry ingredients: sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Mix well, making sure all ingredients are evenly distributed.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs. Then add puree and sugar/spice mixture. Next, slowly stir in the evaporated milk. Stir thoroughly, making sure everything is well mixed and evenly distributed.

Pour pumpkin filling into pie shell.

Bake pie at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes.

Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for an additional 40 – 55 minutes or so. Test for done-ness by inserting a knife straight down near the center of the pie. The pie is done when the knife comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack for at least 2 hours, then chill in the refrigerator at least another 2 hours to over night before serving.

Optional Serving Suggestion: Top slices with a dollop of your favorite whipped cream, ice cream or other topping.

SewThankful Pumpkin Granola

When you’ve grown lots of baking/cooking pumpkins, you find lots of ways to use the flesh…and the seeds. I love this recipe because it uses both the pumpkin flesh and the seeds.

This pumpkin granola is soooo flipping delicious. It never lasts more than a couple of days in our house and the house smells absolutely wonderful as it’s baking. It’s fantastic to snack on plain, eat as cereal or sprinkle on yogurt or ice cream.

If you are using your own pumpkin puree and haven’t seen my post on how to puree fresh pumpkin, you can find it here.

If you’re using your own fresh pumpkin seeds, be sure to check out my post on brining pumpkin seeds and the one on toasting pumpkin seeds.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (“quick” variety is NOT recommended for this recipe)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) Butter OR 4 tablespoons Butter + ¼ cup Coconut Oil OR ½ cup Coconut Oil
  • 1 cup Nuts, coarsely chopped. Suggested: pecans, walnuts, almonds, pinons or blend recommended
  • 1 cup plain, lightly toasted seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, etc. or a blend)
  • 1/2 cup Maple Syrup OR Honey
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ginger (optional—if you don’t like ginger leave it out)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground Cloves (optional—if you don’t like cloves leave it out)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Combine all dry ingredients (oats, nuts, seeds), Cinnamon, Ginger, Ground Cloves and Sea Salt in an X-large mixing bowl. Stir and mix well until all dry ingredients are evenly distributed. Set aside.

Melt butter (or butter/coconut combo or coconut oil) until just melted and pour into small mixing bowl. Add remaining wet ingredients (maple syrup or honey and pumpkin) and mix well making sure the mixture is evenly combined and smooth.

Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients. Stir and mix well, making sure wet ingredients are evenly distributed and coating all the dry ingredients.

Divide mixture evenly between two regular size baking sheets (or one extra large baking sheet if you have it).

Bake in 250 degree oven for approximately 2 hours, stirring every 20 – 30 minutes. If you prefer chunkier granola, be more gentle and leave larger chunks when stirring.  

When time is up, remove from oven.

Cool completely, stirring periodically.

Once completely cooled, this granola should store quite well in an air tight container for up to a couple weeks (not entirely sure as it never lasts that long in our house).

Toast Fresh, Clean, Brined Pumpkin Seeds

Once you have cleaned, brined & air dried your fresh pumpkin seeds you’re ready toast them. If you haven’t read my post on how to brine fresh pumpkin seeds, you can find it here.

There are many recipes out there for seasoned pumpkin seeds and truly the possibilities are endless (a quick internet search will turn up tons of results).

These instructions are for plain/brined, toasted seeds. They are delicious to snack on as is or to use in other recipes such as granola where you may not want certain other seasonings to interfere.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Place your seeds on a clean baking sheet.

Toast seeds for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, stirring at least once at the half way point.

Remove seeds from oven when they are beginning to turn golden brown around the edges (at approximately 25 – 30 minutes from when you first put them in the oven).

Allow to cool.

Enjoy snacking on as is or store in an air tight container until you’re ready to snack again or use them in a recipe, such as SewThankful Pumpkin Granola.

Brine Fresh Pumpkin Seeds before Toasting for the BEST Results

  1. Scrape seeds from pumpkin
  2. Remove as much of the large stringy guts as you can
  3. Fill a large pot with water 1/2 – 2/3 full and add a tablespoon of salt
  4. Place seeds (it’s OK if there’s still some pumpkin guts attached to the seeds they will come loose in the boiling) into your pot of water.
  5. Bring water and seeds to a boil.
  6. Boil for 10 minutes.
  7. Drain well in a colander, removing any remaining bits of pumpkin string & guts.
  8. Spread damp seeds across a baking pan and allow to air dry overnight.
  9. Tomorrow we TOAST!

Everything Pumpkin!

Where do I begin? That’s right.

In the beginning…

To this day I have a vivid memory from when I was about 8 or 9 years old. Our neighbor lady up the country road told my mother she had made her own pumpkin puree and it was just HORRIBLE! She told my mother not to ever bother wasting her time growing or making her own pumpkin puree for pies, etc.

Oh dear.

I have no idea what method or what kind of pumpkin that lady used in her attempt. I suspect it was not a baking type. Who knew there were different types?

I was just a kid back then. So yes, I’m sorry to say that cooking tidbit stuck with me for nearly 50 years! And even as a pumpkin lover, I never questioned it. That’s right, every year (until this one) I have purchased the canned stuff (which is fine if that’s all you have access to–I’m not judging anyone). But seriously, HOW silly of me not to push a little harder and try things for myself?!

Fast forward 47 years +/- and here I am growing my own heirloom baking pumpkins. And YES! I use them to make my own puree for pies, pancakes, cakes, breads, scones, soups/stews and so much more! I can’t even believe how easy it is to do. Or how delicious it is compared to the store-bought stuff in a metal can.

After I did it the first time, I had a face-palm moment. HOW on earth could I not allow myself to try this sooner? Sheesh!

Well…I absolutely adore growing these pumpkins because we use the ENTIRE thing. Nothing is wasted. At all. The skins get chopped up, simmered and fed to the chickens; the stringy guts also get fed to the chickens. Did I mention that my chickens LOVE pumpkins?

Even the seeds are used. The seeds get cleaned. Some of them get saved for planting next year. The rest get brined, roasted and seasoned for a delicious, nutritious snack OR saved roasted and unseasoned in an airtight container to be used in making granola, etc. Be sure to check out next week’s post on roasting pumpkin seeds and making pumpkin granola (it uses puree and seeds)!

Even the hard stem goes into the compost.

Part 1: Choose, Clean, Cut, Roast, Puree–>Then Use or Freeze!

You’ll want to choose a nice baking style pumpkin which is usually going to be about the size of a volleyball OR SMALLER. Giant pumpkins are tempting, but they are not ideal for the flavor profile you want in a baking/cooking pumpkin. Look for heirloom “sugar pie” or “baking” types. If you have a local farm store or farmers’ market, that’s often a great source. Plus, supporting your local growers helps keep your food producer in business and a strong food supply chain close to you. That’s especially important these days, right?

Once you’ve chosen your pumpkin and you’re ready to make some puree, give it a good rinse, clean and pat it dry. Place it on your cutting board. Poke your knife into the top at one side of the stem and carefully cut down the outside curve until you reach the center bottom. Pull the knife out. Turn the pumpkin and repeat on the opposite side of the stem, cutting until you reach the bottom center and the pumpkin split is complete, except for the stem. Please don’t try to cut the stem, it will ruin your knife. Set your knife aside, insert a finger or two inside the split at the bottom. Use both hand to grasp each side of the pumpkin bottom and pull it apart. The stem should snap right off from one side or the other at the top.

Place one half in a colander and scrape out the seeds and guts. Repeat with the other side. SAVE your seeds!

While your pumpkin is roasting, you can clean the seeds to roast separately. If you have chickens, they will love the stringy guts. If not, the guts are great to compost along with the stem (and skins after roasting).

Now let’s get roasting. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle the inside flesh lightly with salt. NOTE: The salt is optional, so if you don’t want it, can’t have it or don’t like it, don’t use it! Place flesh side down on your parchment lined baking sheet. Depending on the size of your pumpkin(s) and your oven, you’ll roast them anywhere from approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour +/-. You’ll know the pumpkin is done when the skin is golden, wrinkly and you can easily pierce the pumpkin all the way through in several places with your knife.

The pumpkins below are done and cooling.

Once the pumpkin is cool and able to be touched, flip over and scoop the soft flesh into your food processor. Process/puree until pumpkin is smooth.

You can use the puree now, save it in a sealed container in your refrigerator for up to about a week OR freeze it. It lasts in the freezer for 3 – 6 months (or more)!

Here you can see the load of frozen pumpkin I made from our early harvest in September (because it SNOWED the Wednesday after Labor Day 2020). I’ve made a bunch more since then and I still have over 50 pumpkins to process. Thankfully, they are very good keepers and I can work on them a few at a time.

How about you? Have you ever made your own pumpkin puree before? I’d love to hear about it. Tell me about your pumpkin puree making experiences in the comments below.

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