Pumpkin Pie in a Pumpkin
Pumpkins on the granite steps at the front door, pumpkins propped up near the road by the mail box, pumpkins on the porch, pumpkins sitting on bales of hay, and soon, one pumpkin serving as the “crust” for an inside-the-pumpkin pie.
Last year, we tried serving a beef stew inside a hollowed out pumpkin, which came out very well. This year, it’s baking pumpkin inside a bright orange, all natural “pie” plate.
October is the month for admiring the beauty and color of these lovely winter squash. I so much enjoy decorating the outside with them, along with some incredibly huge yellow and green gourds that seeded themselves this year, then took over my gourd patch.
I don’t know where those gourds came from, or why they grew so huge, but they sure did. Some are more than a foot long and more than a foot in diameter around the base. Maybe it was where they seeded themselves – right on the edge of the seasoned and ready to use compost pile.
But it’s the pumpkins I am concentrating on now.
This wasn’t the best year for growing them. They got a late start with the wet weather so I harvested only a dozen or so, some pretty big. If this was mid-September rather than mid-, late October, I’d have quite a few more.
And then there were the deer.
While these gentle, graceful animals didn’t eat a whole lot of my garden this year, they did feast on some of my pumpkins. Here and there I’ve found bites taken from the pumpkins. One, rather large pumpkin, was cleaned out of seeds and most of the shell eaten.
I’ve found deer tracks all over the garden But then, I know, that these creatures must fill up as much as possible with food now because the cold weather and snow will soon arrive. Pumpkin pie, or a variation, is one of the most popular pies we make here in New England, outdone by only apple pie.
Serving pumpkin pie in a hollowed out pumpkin is a great way to impress company as well as to satisfy our desire for fresh pumpkin pie. The pumpkin custard recipe, using canned pumpkin, may be used for filing a two- or three-pound hollowed out pumpkin. Or you may make your own pumpkin filling by baking another pumpkin, seeds removed, cut into large pieces and baked at 400 degrees until soft. Then remove the flesh, mash well, and use this instead of the can of pureed pumpkin.
To make pumpkin pie in a pumpkin, cut the top from a two or three-pound pumpkin. Set top aside.
Remove the seeds and strings. Butter the inside. Bake at 450 degrees for about an hour. Remove from oven.
2 large eggs
one-quarter cup honey
three-quarters cup whipping cream, whipped
one-quarter cup dark or light brown sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon softened butter
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree, or your own cooked and mashed pumpkin
Pour pumpkin filling into the partially baked pumpkin shell until it is about 80 percent full. Replace the top of the pumpkin, leaving it a little off kilter. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Return filled pumpkin to the oven and bake for about 30 minutes. When serving, slice from the top of the pumpkin to the bottom. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
When filling the prepared pumpkin, if any custard is leftover, simply butter one or two custard cups or ramekins, and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Or pour the remaining custard into a prepared pie shell and bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.
I hope you and your family have fun with this recipe. I guarantee it will bring on smiles when served.
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