(This recipe was first posted in October, 2006.)
When you have a craving for pumpkin pie, and you happen to have a couple dozen real live pumpkins within 50 feet of your back door, it seems a trifle silly to run to the store for a can of pumpkin pie filling. So here for your viewing pleasure I present yesterday afternoon’s pumpkin pie marathon.
3:45 pm. Go to garden, trailed by 4 youngest children. Wade thru viney weedy pumpkin patch, tripping repeatedly. Realize this would be easier if you were wearing tennies instead of gold wedge flip-flops that were conveniently sitting by the garage door from Sunday.
Bypass at least 4 monster pumpkins because, really, how much pie do ya want to make? Carefully select 3 smaller-than-soccer-ball pumpkins, one for the front porch and two for pie. Hand two to the 8 year old boys and 1 to the 4 year old girl, cautioning them not to drop them on the way in. Pick up one year old who does not want to leave the mosquito-ridden garden.
3:50. Set kids playing in back yard. Go in and wash pumpkins, absently scratching mosquito-bitten knuckles.
3:52 4 year old comes in sighing and saying it is ‘sweaty out there’. Thermometer reads 74 degrees. Tell her she can help if she washes her hands. Chop pumpkin in half and hand half to the 4 year old. Once she stops saying ‘ewwww!’ she proceeds to do an excellent job scraping seeds out of the interior of the pumpkin. Put large pot of water on to boil to cook pumpkin in.
4:00 pm. Finish chopping pumpkin into large chunks (skin still on). Put into boiling water. With 4 year old’s help, sort pumpkin seeds out, sprinkle with oil and garlic salt, and stick in oven on 300 degrees for half an hour or so. One year old is still thankfully playing outside with 8 year olds.
4:10– 4 year old loses interest once pumpkin is boiling and goes back out to join them. While pumpkin boils (about 20-25 minutes) begin to make easy press-in pie crust. Line up 4 pie pans (hope there’s enough pumpkin for that many!) and in each pie pan put 1-1/2 cups flour, 1 T. sugar and 1 t. salt. Mix with fork and add 1/2 cup oil and 2 T. milk. Mix with fork to combine wet and dry ingredients. When mixture begins to ball up, finish mixing with fingers, then gradually spread dough out on the pan, pressing dough into bottom and sides of the pan with fingers.
4:25–Do a fancy edge on crust if there’s time–yup– toddler is still happily playing in back yard. Remember just in time to take pumpkin seeds out of oven.
4:30 –Drain pumpkin which is fork-tender by now. Rinse in cold water till it is cool enough to handle. Peel with a sharp knife. Drop peeled chunks into blender as you peel. Puree pumpkin in blender, adding a cup of evaporated milk to help it puree easily. Make mental note that you have already added that much milk to the recipe.
4:45- Follow this recipe to make filling for pie. Pour into pie shells. Fill 4 pie shells and discover you have only used half the filling.
4:50-Put first 4 pies into oven, and pull out 3 more pie pans to make more crust. Kids come inside, and promptly eat most of the freshly roasted pumpkin seeds. Manage to save a few for hubby. Enlist one of the 8 year old boys to help press piecrust into pans. Other 8 year old reads a story to one year old who is beginning to whine at mom’s legs.
5:05 –Hurriedly finish pressing out piecrusts, fill them (3 more was just right!) and then set them on stove to be cooked after first batch comes out. Sit down and cuddle one year old. Wow– 7 pies in an hour and a half. No wonder I’m tired.
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