Pumpkin Pie with Real Ingredients
By Candi Johns
If you want to enjoy pumpkin pie without the processed ingredients, then this is for you. This is everything you expect in a pumpkin pie — it’s creamy, pumpkin-y, and wonderful.
I avoid all things processed whenever possible. I like food made by people like me and Mamaw. I don’t like food made by companies. However, I love Libby’s Pumpkin Pie. I have always made the Libby’s Pumpkin Pie recipe. As my diet has changed, though, I have had to adapt many of my favorite recipes to include real food instead of processed foods.
If you want to eat the best pumpkin pie ever, but don’t want to eat evaporated milk or pie crust with hydrogenated, non-food substances, you have come to the right place!
You can use the pumpkin from a store, or you can use the homemade stuff. I grew a pumpkin patch this year and have been having all sorts of fun with pumpkin from the garden lately.
What I’ve learned about homemade pumpkin puree:
1. Homemade pumpkin is definitely healthier, fresher, and more organic (since I know exactly how the pumpkins were grown, harvested, and handled as they became puree).
2. Every blog everywhere says that homemade pumpkin puree makes a better tasting pumpkin dish.
3. Homemade puree is more colorful, brighter, and less firm than the canned stuff.
4. It tastes just like squash baby food.
5. In the pumpkin bread contest we had earlier, the homemade stuff beat the canned variety.
6. A wonderful bi-product of making pumpkin puree is a crunchy, salty, tasty snack in the form of roasted pumpkin seeds.
Just for fun, we have been having a friendly, pumpkin puree contest in our home. So far, the homemade puree is leading. In our pumpkin bread competition, the homemade pumpkin puree beat the canned stuff by a nose. The color was a bit brighter and the overall bread tasted a little sweeter. The homemade variety definitely won the first round.
Today, I am making pumpkin pie from scratch.
I’m baking two pies, which will be identical except for the origins of the pumpkin. The contest will end with a blind taste test and we’ll see if homemade pumpkin puree is superior to the canned stuff once again!
• 1-1/2 cups cream (I am using raw cream from my Jersey cow; you can use heavy whipping cream if you prefer)
• 2 large eggs
• 3/4 cup sugar (I am using organic cane juice crystals)
• pie crust (homemade)
First, I made the pumpkin pie filling. I am basically making the Libby’s recipe with a few adaptions:
• Instead of evaporated milk, I am using raw cream.
• Instead of sugar, I am using cane juice crystals.
• Instead of using cinnamon, cloves, and ginger, I am using just cinnamon. (When pumpkin pies have too much spice, they taste like a clove cigarette to me.)
Combine cream, eggs, and sugar and whisk. Add salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin and whisk again. Done!
Next, it’s time to roll out the pie crust:
1. Lay out a piece of foil.
2. Sprinkle on some flour.
3. Plop down your pie disk.
4. Sprinkle it with more flour.
5. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, beginning in the center and rolling toward the edges.
To move the crust into the pie pan:
1. Lift one side of the foil up and drape the pie crust over the rolling pin.
2. Continue to let the pie crust drape over the pin until it is balanced and you can move the entire piece.
3. Slowly unroll the pie crust off the rolling pin over the pie pan.
4. Press crust gently into the pan.
5. Trim off excess pie crust with a knife.
6. Crimp edges if desired.
Time to pour the pie filling into the unbaked pie crusts.
Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350 for 50 minutes to 1 hour. It’s done when the edges are brown and only the very center of the pie is a little jiggly.
The long awaited moment is here. Drum roll please …
Who will be our winner, homemade pumpkin puree or the canned stuff?
I am going to burst the bubble of every homesteader raising pie pumpkins everywhere with my next words:
There wasn’t a difference.
Two pies — one from homemade pumpkin puree, one from a can — identical flavor.
Some of our taste-testers chose the homemade, some chose the canned, but everyone had the same remarks: They were both delicious. They were so similar that it took several bites from each pie to even try to pick a favorite. Three people couldn’t choose because there was so little difference.
I was really surprised. The pumpkin bread from the homemade puree was better; I thought the homemade-puree pie would be a landslide winner.
I can say that homemade pumpkin puree is still fresher, healthier, and more organic. I know how my pumpkins were raised and processed. I feel better about eating the homemade variety, but as far as flavor goes…
It’s a tie.
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