This is guest writer Paul, Lizzie’s usually patient husband. So, we have had a tradition of going to a pumpkin patch as a family every fall for the last four years or so. Well, except last year when I had to miss it since the Rugby World Cup final was on (in my defense, it was New Zealand vs France, my two favorite teams). Anyway, it is my own personal tradition to get a couple of sugar pumpkins and make pumpkin pies out of them.
This has worked out fairly well in the past, but I wanted to do something more molasses-y this time around. So, I made the following recipe: (Lizzie note: Paul found the recipe on about.com.)
Molasses Pumpkin Pie
- ¾ C sugar
- 1 T flour
- ½ t salt
- 1 t ground ginger
- 1 t ground cinnamon
- ¼ t ground cloves
- ¼ C unsulphured molasses
- 2 C mashed, cooked pumpkin
- 3 large eggs
- 1 C undiluted evaporated milk or light cream
- One 9”, unbaked single-crust pie shell
Mix together the sugar, flour, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Add the molasses, pumpkin, and eggs. Mix well. Stir in evaporated milk or cream.
Pour mixture into the pie shell. Bake in a preheated hot oven (400°) 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool pie before serving.
First of all, you are perfectly free to use pumpkin puree from the can, but since the whole point of my exercise was to use the actual pumpkins, I went the extra-authentic route. It’s quite easy: First you cut the pumpkin in half horizontally. This is the hard (as in physically) part; I suggest you use a sharp knife with a serrated edge to start the cut, then insert a cook’s knife at the edge of the cut to make the crack elongate. When it cracks more, yank the knife out and reinsert it at the new edge of the crack in the shell, and so on and so forth.
Once you have opened the gourd, scoop out the soft bits in the middle and discard them, saving the seeds so you can roast them later. Set the halves upside down in a lined baking sheet and cook for one hour at 325°. Afterwards, scoop out the insides and there you have it. You can put it in a blender for extra smoothness at this point, but I find that to be unnecessary.
For the pie itself, I used a ready-made crust. Make sure to let the crust warm to room temperature before you unroll it, or it will be very frustrating. I made the mistake while mixing the goods together of pouring in the entire can of evaporated milk, only to discover to my horror that the can contained 12 oz of milk while the recipe called for 8. So, we troubleshooted (troubleshot?) and solved the problem by adding a bit more flour without any ill results. And, make very sure you are using unsulphured molasses, I have some blackstrap molasses for home-brewing purposes and I once thought it might be delicious to put it on toast. I was wrong, it is quite bitter. Unless you are making a silky-smooth porter in your basement, opt for the more refined product.
Next time, I would add more molasses. But, I really like molasses. Due to my sloth, I did not make the pie until the day before Election Day. But when I brought it to work the next day, I was able to use that to reinforce the socio-historical make-up of the pie itself. I sent out an email first thing in the morning proclaiming that the molasses represented one leg of the triangular trade that for better and worse shaped our colonial economy. The pumpkin was reminiscent of our aboriginal inhabitants and the sharing of foodways that we remember on Thanksgiving. And finally, the pie was quite awesome, just like the fact that we get to choose our leaders every few years. Whether my coworkers were inspired or just puckish, the pie was gone within a half hour.