You will need:
"Pie pumpkins" are smaller, sweeter, less grainy textured pumpkins than the usual jack-o-lantern types and are usually about 8 inches in diameter. Grocery stores usually carry them in late September through December in the United States.
Look for a pie pumkin that is firm, no bruises or soft spots, and a good orange color.
Wash the exterior of the pumpkin in cool or warm water, but do not use soap.
Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the stem. A serrated knife and a sawing motion works best - a smooth knife is more likely to slip.
Scrape the insides. You want to get out all the seeds and the stringy stuff that coats the inside surface. A heavy ice cream scoop works great for this, but a large metal spoon will do.
Place the halves in a microwaveable bowl so that they are both resting on the bottom of the bowl. You may need to cut the pumpkin further to make it fit; cutting the pumpkin in quarters or smaller chunks is fine, but the fewer the number of pieces, the easier it will be to scoop the cooked pumpkin away from the rind afterwards.
Put a couple of inches of water in the bowl, cover it, and put in the microwave.
Cook for 15 minutes on high. Check to see if it is soft, then repeat in smaller increments of time until it is soft enough to scoop the pumpkin meat away from the rind. Normally it takes a total of 20 to 30 minutes.
Note: You can cook the pumpkin on the stovetop or you can cook it in the oven. To cook the pumpkin in the oven, place it in a pan with 1/2 inch of water, cover with foil, and bake at 375 degrees for about an hour, or until a knife slides easily into the flesh. Let cool, and scrape the pumpkin away from the rind.
Using a broad, smooth spoon, (such as a tablespoon) gently lift and scoop the cooked pumpkin out of the skin, away from the rind. It should separate easily and in fairly large chucks if the pumpkin is cooked enough.
Mash the pumpkin up as best you can, then put the puree into a colander and let it drip into a bowl. Cover the whole thing with plastic wrap and set it to drain in the refrigerator overnight. This helps avoid having a watery pie.
We recommend combining the pie filling ingredients and running it all through the blender to smooth it out.
So to begin, in a large mixing bowl, using a large spoon or spatula, combine the eggs, egg yolk, white sugar, and brown sugar. Then add salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Gradually stir in the milk and cream. And finally, stir in pumpkin.
Then, to get that nice, smooth consistency in your puree and filling, you can use a hand blender, a regular blender, or even just a hand mixer to smooth out your filling. Taking the time for this extra step will give your filling an incredibly silky-smooth texture.
You are now done with the pumpkin puree, and if you took our advice, you are done with the filling. Set the filling aside. It's time to make your crust.
You will need:
In a large bowl, mix the flour and shortening first. Then sprinkle in the water, just enough to make a good dough consistency. Note that flour varies considerably in moisture content, so add the water slowly, mixing, and only add just enough to make a dough that will hold together and make pea sized granules.
If you have one, or can get one, we recommend using a pie crust bag (a circular plastic bag that zips up around the edge), but if you don't have one two pieces of waxed paper will work just fine.
Roll the dough out to an even thickness, and just an inch or two wider than your pie pan. Ideally, your crust should be about 1/8 inch thick.
Place the dough in the pie pan. Don't worry if it breaks. You can easily fix that. Press the dough into the pan, seal any broken areas, and shape the top edge into any pattern you like.
You are now ready to add the filling.
Pour the filling into the pie crust to about one quarter to one half inch from the top.
Bake for 15 minutes at 425 F (210 C) in preheated oven. Reduce heat to 325 degrees F (175 degrees C), and bake for an additional 45 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set (a clean knife inserted into the center should come out clean).
Allow the pie to cool. This will make it much easier to cut and give you firm, beautiful slices.
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