Theyâre great in pies! PUMPKINS.
A short history of pumpkin pie.
There is a great tradition of serving Pumpkin Pie on Thanksgiving Day in both the United States and Canada. It all began when the European settlers first came to the New World and were introduced to the pumpkin by the American Indians. Once the settlers realized the pumpkin's wonderful versatility they began using this new fruit in both sweet and savory dishes. For guidance on how to make a sweet pie using pumpkins, the settlers turned to their English recipes and substituted pumpkin for the thick pulp of other boiled and spiced fruits that were called for in their recipes. Today the pumpkin pie has evolved to an open-faced single crust pie shell that is filled with a smooth custard-like filling made with pumpkin puree, eggs, cream or milk, sugar, and spices (mixture usually consisting of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and cloves). It is considered a "soft" pie because it is made with an unbaked crust and uncooked filling that is baked until the crust has browned and the filling is set. After letting the pie cool to room temperature, it is usually served with a dollop of softly whipped cream.
Now, to make our lives easier we really do not have to make our own pumpkin puree as there are excellent brands of canned pure pumpkin on the market today. Just make sure you do not buy the pumpkin which already has the spices added to it. That being said, if you have the time and are so inclined, you can make your own puree using the smaller pumpkin varieties like Sugar Pie, Baby Bear or Cheese Pumpkin (approximately 5-7 lbs., 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 kg.). To begin this process, first cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise, remove all the seeds and stringy fibers, and then place cut-side down on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) for approximately 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours (depending on size) or until easily pierced with a knife. Scoop out the pulp and puree in a food processor until smooth. You do need to extract all the liquid, so strain the pumpkin through a cheesecloth lined strainer and then cool the puree before using.