Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pumpkin Face Pie: A Jack-O-Lantern Recipe

Even though the title of my blog is pie related, I sadly have little experience with that most delicious of desserts. Up until a few weeks ago, I had never even attempted to bake one on my own. But after carving my jack-o-lantern on Halloween (which I blogged about here), I attempted to remedy that in a very ambitious way: I decided that I would bake a pie, entirely from scratch, out of the jack-o-lantern's face.

As the photo above shows, the design I carved into my pumpkin involved cutting out quite a few fairly large pieces to make up the eyes and the grinning mouth. I saved these and refrigerated them in anticipation of my attempted baking.

Next, I needed a recipe. I found a good one here -- don't be put off by the fact that it's an older site written in Comic Sans, the information is good. Although I did need to make some adjustments to quantities of ingredients due to the amount of pumpkin I had, so I'll give the details about exactly what I did here:

Pumpkin Pie Ingredients
  • Pumpkin Pieces (enough to make 1.5 cups pureed)
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 4 large Eggs
  • 9 oz. Evaporated Milk

The first step was to cook the pumpkin face pieces. I did this by putting them in this steamer basket we had, which I only very recently realized wasn't a spaghetti strainer.

Then I filled the pot with a few inches of water and left it on the stove for about half an hour. When it finished, the pumpkin face pieces were very soft, and I was able to scoop the flesh off of the hard orange outer shell using an ice cream scoop.

Next, I put them in a blender and blended them into a pulpy oblivion. My pumpkin face pieces made 1.5 cups of pumpkin glop, which was exactly the right amount for a single pie -- so depending on how you carve your pumpkin, it might take more than one jack-o-lantern to make this work.

Since the pumpkin pie recipe linked to these instructions for making a home-made crust, I decided to try that too rather than using a pre-made frozen one. This seemed like the most demented part of my whole pumpkin face pie baking scheme, but it was actually pretty easy, and I think it turned out reasonably well.

After that, I put the pumpkin and the rest of the ingredients together in a big bowl and mixed them thoroughly. The mixture turned out to be really, really watery, but apparently that's normal. I poured it into the pie crust and baked it for 15 minutes at 425 degrees and about another 40 minutes at 350 degrees, like the recipe directed, until stabbing it with the butter knife didn't leave the butter knife coated in goo.

The result? To my great relief, it turned out to be a pie! Look at how pie-like this concoction looks:

And as an added bonus, it even tasted like pie -- the homemade crust and watery pie mixture firmed up into a genuinely yummy dessert. I was pleasantly surprised, since I felt like I hadn't the slightest idea what I was doing.

So anyway, that's the story of my first attempt at pie baking. It was enjoyable enough that I'll have to do it again sometime, so there may be future blog posts documenting my various pie-related misadventures.

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