October 19, 2012
On Sunday, Matt brought home a trunkload of squash from the garden. Most were pumpkins and buttercup (or possibly kobucha) squash, one or two hubbard squash, and only a handful of acorn squash. Acorn squash is generally my favorite, but unfortunately there weren't many this year to harvest. I saw them running at 5 for $5 at the market recently, and was tempted to pick up a few just to even things out, but Matt brought me back to my senses, reminding me that we're up to our ears in squash, and we don't need more. That's part of the joy of gardening, really. You take what comes and make the best of it.
As for the pumpkins, I began roasting one of the smaller fruits right away for pie. I don't know if slow roasting at a low heat works the same for pumpkins as it does for sweet potatoes, breaking down the sugars more thoroughly for a sweeter flavor, but I'm inclined to think it does because this one came out of the oven more delicious than any other pumpkin I've tasted. It was sweet enough to eat plain.
While I was waiting for the roasted pumpkin to cool enough for me to make into puree, I set about the task of preparing this year's batch of pumpkin pie spice by first roasting the spices whole, and then grinding them into a fine powder to use in all my pumpkin and apple treats this fall.
And to mix things up, I decided to make one larger pumpkin pie in a small cast-iron skillet, as well as several miniature pies in jars. Both methods turned out really well, so I've written out directions for you to make them either way.
The Filling (Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes)
2 cups pumpkin puree (store bought or freshly roasted)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, plus the yolk of a third
2-3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
To Make a Regular Pumpkin Pie
Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F. Bake for another 45-50 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
To Make Pumpkin Pie-in-a-Jar:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 stick (3/4 cup) cold butter
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons sugar
Mix all of the ingredients for the filling together in a bowl and set aside.
Place the ingredients for the crust into the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until combined. The butter should be evenly distributed throughout the flour mixture in a coarse crumb.
Press the mixture into the sides and bottoms of your clean and dry jars. (You can use 4 oz regular mouth jelly jars, or half-pint wide mouth jars) The mixture should stick to itself once pressed. If not, add another tablespoon or two of cold butter and pulse until you've reached desired consistency.
Once all your jars are coated with crust, spoon in the filling, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Bake pies for 15 minutes at 425°F, then reduce heat to 350°F. Bake for another 20-30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool before serving. Alternatively, you can place lids and bands over jars and store in freezer until ready to bake.