The pumpkin is the iconic symbol that autumn is here and heralds the advent of Halloween. I take great care in choosing a pumpkin to adorn our front door because they come in all shapes, sizes and colors. I have learned from experience that I am not alone in my love of the pumpkin, the squirrels that inhabit my back yard love it too and they take the unabashed liberty of gnawing at my pumpkin until they break through the shell and reach the coveted seeds in triumph!
When I was a girl my mother would purchase a pumpkin and carve it freehand with two triangle eyes, a triangle nose and a half moon mouth, insert a candle and set it on the kitchen table for us to look at and admire and then place it on the porch. While carving our pumpkin she would set aside the seeds and later magically transform them into an annual treat by salting and baking them. After they cooled, she would lovingly put them in a bowl for us to enjoy.
A lot has changed since the early 1960’s in terms of carving a pumpkin. Today there is an industry devoted to pumpkin carving. There is even a tool made just for carving a pumpkin as well as design transfers for creating fantastic Jack-O-Lanterns. It seems the more intricate a design, the better! Pumpkin carving has become somewhat of an art form and one that I prefer to admire rather than to partake in.
What sets Halloween apart from other holiday celebrations? In my opinion it is not just the spooky decorations, the scary images of spiders lurking and bats flying overhead and the possibility of sighting a witch conjuring up a potion in her cauldron, it is instead the image of the bright, cheerful pumpkin keeping watch over the festivities like a proper Royal English Guard standing steadfast at the entranceway of the homes that greet the little ones going door-to-door in the hope of receiving a treat rather that the prospect of performing a trick.
It almost seems like sacrilege to want to cut the pumpkin, remove the seeds and then bake the flesh into a delicious pie, but it must be done! You may recall that I mentioned that my family loves the idea of eating a pumpkin pie but the truth is that they really only enjoy eating the pumpkin filling and not the crust. On the other hand, I love biting into a slice of pumpkin pie with a flaky crust along with a glass of milk.
Every family has a favorite pumpkin pie recipe but if you are new to baking and you want to bake a home made pie rather than secretly going to the bakery and unwrapping it to serve guests then I have a suggestion for you. Pie baking can be overwhelming but the following easy steps can make the process a bit easier to begin baking your own pies. It is time to get started in the pie baking process!
Pumpkin Pie Recipe
Purchase a fresh or frozen prepared pie crust from the grocery store. Note: There will be a minimum of two crusts in the package. This is because most pies require two crusts, one for the pan as a base for the filling and the other to form a seal on top of the filling. A pumpkin pie is made with a single crust to hold the custard like filling, which remains uncovered.
Purchase a large (1 pound 13 ounces) can of pureed pumpkin with the recipe on the can. While at the grocery store, make any additional purchases of items that you may not have stocked in your pantry.
Go home and bake your pie. Shopping for the ingredients is the most time consuming part of baking the pie. Now the fun part begins; simply follow the directions printed on the can and pour the filling into the prepared pie shell and bake.
Note: I suggested the large can of pumpkin filling because you can bake two pies instead of one with the amount of filling that it will make so you can share your handiwork.
Pour a glass of milk and enjoy a slice of your home made pumpkin pie!