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Fresh Pumpkin to Pie

Well, it’s about that time.  The time when the pumpkins that you picked up for that Jack-O-Lantern that never materialized are starting to look like they might not make it to Thanksgiving.  It’s the time when open-air markets and grocery stores are bathed in seas of orange and inundated with the bland-tasting gourds.

Fear not!  Because if you have a cool snap (like we did recently) and the dropping temps make you frisky and feeling like you want to do something to get into the post-Halloween-pre-Thanksgiving spirit, I have just the thing for you . . .

Fresh Pumpkin Pie

. . . Pumpkin Pie!   Made from your very own pumpkin.

Or maybe, like me, you have a young mother of five living next door who comes to visit and says something like, “I would really like to learn how to make pumpkin pie from these real pumpkins we have leftover from Halloween.”  Well, she hit BW on the right day, because on my trip to town that afternoon, I picked up the couple of items I didn’t have on hand to embark on this new adventure with my neighbor, Tab, and her twelve-year-old daughter.

Bayou Woman must confess right here and now to all the world wide web, that she has never in her whole wide life ever made a pumpkin pie from scratch.

Oh no no no, dear friends.  We’re not talking about scratch from a can of adulterated pumpkin.  We’re talking about going from pumpkin to pie right here in the Bayou Woman Kitchen.  It happened on a recent  fall day, and how about I share the experience with you?   And THEN you can share yours with us, because I just know y’all have done this before!

Of course, everyone knows all good cooks looking for a recipe now go to the Internet.  Gone are the days that we dig around and find Great Grandmother’s old hand-scrawled recipe notebook.  Give me credit, though, because I did first consult my old go-to cookbook, The Good Housekeeping Cookbook, which I’ve had for about forty years.  I also wanted to know how to prepare and freeze pumpkin for future pies.

So, let’s get started, shall we?  First you need a pumpkin.  Recipes will tell you that you need a certain kind of small pumpkin that are better for pie making than the large ones.  Remember, though, we already had the large pumpkins–the kind you decorate your front porch with–that became the start of this pie-making experiment.

Preparing the Pumpkin

Pumpkin.Pie Innards

After we washed the outside, we cut that baby in half, scooped out the strings and seeds, and using an old metal ice-cream scoop, scraped the rest of the innards away from the flesh.

Pumpkin Seeds

Next, I rinsed the seeds in a strainer to get all the stringy stuff off.  These are much larger in life than they look in the photo.  Maybe all pumpkin seeds are this large, and you will probably wonder if I toasted them for snacking.  No, alas, I did not.  My neighbor wanted them for his garden, so that is where they went.

Raw Pumpkin in the roasting pan

Raw Pumpkin in Glass Bowl for Microwave

Now, the recipes tell you that you can cook pumpkin several ways:  Bake it in the oven or steam it on the stove top or in the microwave.  Well, since we had so MUCH pumpkin, I cut the pumpkin into manageable hunks and used my huge roasting pan and another dutch oven on the stove top.  I also used a glass dish and put in the microwave.  Be sure and add about an inch of water in the bottom of your pans to do the steaming.  All told, it took about 30 minutes to steam the pumpkin to the desired softness.

Peeling the Pumpkin

Remove the pumpkin from the cooking pot and place on a cutting surface like this cookie sheet.  Let them cool for a few minutes, and then carefully remove the skin with a knife.  With some types of pumpkin, the skin will just pull right off, but not with this one.  After cutting the pumpkin into smaller chunks, I put them in the strainer to let the excess water drip off.

Pumpkin Puree`

Now, if you have a food processor, you could do this in one step.  However, since my ancient one bit the dust last year, we had to do a two-step process.  First, we let the Kitchen Aid hack the chunks into smaller pieces, which we then put into my blender to puree`.  Look at that beautiful yellow color!  Who ever knew that processed pumpkin wasn’t orange-brown?

I opted to put each batch of puree` into a fine-mesh strainer to again remove some of the water from the pumpkin.  But I didn’t have time to let it sit very long, which was fine.

The Crust…

Now, it’s time to put all the players together to make a pumpkin pie.  Oh wait, we need a pie crust.  Would it surprise you to know that making pie crust is something I never mastered?  Well, I might have made maybe one regular Crisco-flour based pie crust in my life.  So, from example, I learned to do pie crust the hard way – by looking in the freezer section at the grocery store and deciding which brand to choose.  Oh my, there are just so many.  What a chore.  Just choose a deep-dish version for this recipe, and make sure there are two in the package, because you will need them both.

The Recipe

Fresh Pumpkin to Pie

  • 3 cups fresh pumpkin puree
  • 1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • teaspoon Optional: 1/2 mace (which I could not find at my store)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (also optional, but I did use it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional, but I did use it)
  • 4 large eggs – (you can get away with using Egg Beaters)
  • 1.5 oz cans of evaporated milk (a total of about 18 .)
  • 1 Cup sugar (OR 1 Cup brown sugar. OR 1/3 Cup Stevia. OR 1.25 Cups Splenda)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Thaw pre-made pie crusts for 30 minutes.
  3. Mix all the ingredients well with an electric mixer.
  4. Place the two pie crusts in the pre-heated oven BEFORE you fill them. Then, fill them almost full.
  5. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes to “set” the filling.
  6. Reduce oven temp to 350 and bake another 45-60 minutes, checking every five minutes are the 45-minutes have passed.
  7. Check by sticking a butter knife into the center of the pie. When it’s done, the knife comes out clean.
  8. Place on cooling rack and cool at least 15 minutes before slicing.

Pumpkin Pies in oven

To make this easy on yourself, place the  crusts on the oven rack BEFORE you fill them.  Then, fill them almost full.

Our pies took the entire 60 minutes to bake through.

 Serve plain, with whipped cream, or maybe even vanilla ice cream!

Fresh Pumpkin Pie

And there you have it straight from the BW kitchen.  And yes, this pie was delicious.  We had enough puree` left to make four more pies, so we each kept one batch of puree` for the freezer and for making that special Thanksgiving Day pie.  Except that, my family wanted more pie, so ours is gone already.  Since the entire process took about four hours, I might not process another whole huge pumpkin at once.  I might just process enough to have 3 cups of pumpkin pie filling to make two pies for that special day.

Now it’s time for you to share your comments, like, “Just buy a pie at the grocery store.  It’s much easier!”  Or, you can share your pie-making tips and encourage us to do more of these down-the-bayou-sharing-the-work kitchen experiences.  We had three generations in my kitchen working on these pies, and it really felt good–made me think this might happen one day in the future with my own granddaughter.  One can dream, right?

Happy pre-holidays,


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    1. Oh, fantastic! I would be happy for you to try this and come back and let us know how your gang liked it. If you have questions, I might not be able to answer them immediately, but post here and I’ll check back once a day! (sometimes more if I’m at my desk) Happy Pie Making!

  1. I like a denser pumpkin pie, so I’d reduce the eggs and milk myself. And don’t forget – if you roast or cook up even more extra pumpkin, you can make pumpkin soup. It’s one of my very favorites – I have some in the fridge right now, and intend to have it for lunch. 😉

    Oh – if you ever need a piecrust making machine, I’m it. I use grandma’s method (1 c. flour, dash salt, 1/3 c. Crisco and ice water as needed) and just roll. (So to speak!) Now I’m hungry for pie!

  2. As you know, I’m not much of a baker. I passed that duty off to my daughter. She makes the pies forour holiday meals.
    I’ve never had pumpkin soup. BTW, I would NEVER take a photo of the inside of my oven. I dislike cleaning it almost as much as I dislike eating Liver! LOL
    Off to Ms. till Tues. We SHOULD finish up the plumbing tomorrow.

      1. When stuff boils over/spills in the oven, if possible, immediately pour salt over it. Once you finish cooking and let the oven cool off, most of it will scrape right off.

  3. We never raised pumpkins in the fall garden. I can understand the farmer’s nature to automatically save the seeds vice toasting them though. I have an entire freezer door full of small plastic bottles and Ziplocs full of seeds. LOL… I am sure most are way past their rejuvenation possibilities now.

    The times I attempted fresh pies I roasted the meat in the oven after coating them with oil which makes a small difference in the taste, color, and density of the finished meat. There is something about cooking fresh foods, the “olden” way that is just satisfying, even if we cheat a little.

    I want to learn how to consistently make those Pillsbury cook-off flakey pie crusts. Using Grannie’s recipe I never get two the same, I guess I need to spend more time paying tribute to the pie-crust Gods.

    FYI other gourds and squashes make good pies also. An old neighbor made a killer butternut squash pie. She also showed me about crumpling a couple of old pralines on top of the finished pie, (Like anyone ever has old pralines sitting around, LOL) Pralines on pumpkin pie is like peas and carrots, perfect buddies!

    Termite is gonna be a Daddy? Congrats Termite!

      1. I know, the trucks are sitting on the side of the road selling Opelousas sweet taters right now. It’s about time to buy some and make bayou sweet potato pies.

    1. Whoa whoa wait a minute! Where did anybody say Termite was gonna be a daddy? You got me shakin’ in my consons! Termite is only 16 and he’s a long ways off from taking care of himself, much less a wife and a child, lol!!! But I loved your comment! Shoreacres says she’s a pie-crust making machine. I wonder if her Grannie’s came out like your Grannie’s? Yes, you can substitute butternut squash for pumpkin in this recipe!!! And Dotter has a recipe for pumpkin soup that is both healthful and delicious!!

  4. I did this one time only. I had so much puree left that we got tired of pumpkin pies, muffins, bread, soup and anything else I could think of . I eventually tossed the remainder out. I now use the canned along with store bought pie crusts. I can’t make them either. They either shrink into the pan or are so hard you could use them for a frisbee!

      1. Pie crust and gravy are two items that defeat me totally. We eat my gravy with a fork and knife. So, I use packaged.:)

        Oh, if you have some puree left, make pumpkin cookies or bar cookies. Those are really good with a powdered sugar/milk/vanilla glaze. Also, donuts.

        1. Oh, I had some of the pumpkin pie filling left over all right – I found it in the frig. last night and almost threw it away and thought, “Oh, wait. I can make muffins.” So I added baking powder and flour and they turned out terrible! Should’ve taken the time to find a cookie or bar recipe and added the right things. The inside never cooked through before the outside was too dark brown. As the kids would say, “EPIC FAIL, MOM!” BUT, I could teach you how to make gravy!

  5. Great job BW,you sure make it look easy and tasty but with all the cooking and shopping I have done in the past year I am not going to test this one,just have to hope some of the local ladies will feel sorry for me and bring me one,I did just start on sourdough bread last Thursday,let you know how it turns out.

  6. I’ve done the fresh pumpkin pie from scratch and it’s a lot of fun. I only used half of the pumpkin for pies and candied the other half. Makes a great side dish for turkey or pork roast.

    Your pies look wonderful! I can almost smell them cooking.

  7. Ok roast the buggers open side up….
    Make your pies denser.

    I am getting a couple pie pumpkins today.

    I try linking a killer low carb pumpkin pancake recipe here.

    Tastes like carrot cake with creamcheese walnut topping.


    Be nice these people here are saving my life a day at a time.

    The last 32 batches of orange spuds from Loozy I bought up here were not aged properly and quite green tasting and odd texture.
    But in order to support the struggle I got 4 more on kitchen floor.

  8. You eat that many sweet potaoes you won’t need to buy any heating oil this year! But you wouldn’t have to worry about a lot of visiters dropping by either.

  9. Ohhhhh, I have a new Cajun pie recipe I am going to tweek, make it a Bayou pie recipe, and then make it for T-day. If it’s good, then I will post it here and y’all can make it for Christmas if you want!

  10. Rosa Flores of WBRZ – Channel 2 Baton Rouge is doing a feature about BW Friday (today) at 4 p.m. I might be out fishing so maybe somebody can record it for me!!

  11. You guys keep eating low fiber diets you’ll be getting colon issues.
    never ever had gas from a sweet potato. And since adding a lot of fiber to my diet do not get gas from beans as a rule either. It isn’t me it s you.