There's something about pumpkins. When the bright orange globes start sprouting on doorsteps around town, you know that fall is in full swing, with Halloween and Thanksgiving sure to arrive before you can say, "gobble, gobble!"
When my son was small, the season usually meant a trip to a pumpkin patch to pick out perfect candidates to carve into jack-o-lanterns with face-splitting grins. Sometimes a slight detour took us to a haunted house--and once to a cornstalk maze where a scary guy with a chainsaw tore after us (supposedly there was no chain in the saw so it couldn't actually do any real damage--or so my husband assured me while laughing hysterically).
|No chainsaws in this North Carolina corn maze|
Photo credit: hallfamilyfarm.com
Lately, I've been in DIY mode--probably something to do with starting this blog. I figure I can experiment with anything edible, and, if it doesn't turn out, I'll just write about it; my readers will presumably be entertained and learn what not to do--for instance, how not to make a stringy pumpkin pie (yeah, just open a can!).
Next, I chopped the pumpkin into pieces small enough to fit into my 3.5-quart steamer, put water in the pot up to just below the bottom of the steamer basket, then popped the pumpkin pieces inside, put the lid on and turned on the burner.
After first allowing the water to come to a boil, I turned down the heat and cooked it for about 25 to 30 minutes, poking a fork into the pumpkin meat occasionally to see if it was soft. When it was, I took off the lid to let the pumpkin cool for a bit. Then came the fun part: scooping out the goop with a spoon. It came away from the rind pretty easily and wasn't at all stringy. Samples of the orange goo were sweeter than I expected and definitely more flavorful than the canned variety. I fantasized about mashing it with a little butter, brown sugar and nutmeg and eating it for dessert. But I'll save that for a future blog.
To make sure there were no lumps or strings, I used my Cuisinart hand blender to puree the mixture (a food processor might work even better). That was a little tricky. The blender works great for liquefying soups, but this mix was a bit thick, so I had to add some of the leftover pumpkin water, which helped. In a few minutes, the mix turned into a gorgeous orange mush. My pumpkin yielded about 2 1/2 cups. Yours might make more, depending on its size, but I was happy with the result. The downside was the entire process took almost 2 hours. On balance, I might just open a can next time!
Don't forget to check out my recipe for a lighter (but still delicious) Pumpkin Pecan Bread!