We all know made from scratch always tastes better, but with LOCAL made from scratch and you're entering next level territory. Sure, you can grab some canned pumpkin from the store, but wouldn't it be fun to start out with a real Seminole pumpkin??
Seminole pumpkin/squash are hard-shelled winter squashes that were found growing in Florida back when the Spanish landed. Native people saved seed from hardy wild squashes, and after generations of selective growing, we now have pumpkins that grow well in Florida's hot, humid, buggy summers. By the way, they're not called winter squash because they grow in the winter-- they still grow in the summer but preserve throughout the winter.
We're following Martha Stewart's pumpkin pie recipe here, but with a tiny change- Seminole pumpkins are more watery than pie pumpkins, so you need to strain some water out of the baked pulp before using it. Enjoy this local, seasonal treat!
- All-purpose flour, for surface
- Pie crust for Pumpkin Pie
- 2 cups Seminole pumpkin, baked and strained
- 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
- Ground cloves
- Whipped cream, for serving
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pumpkin cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, till pumpkin is soft. After it cools, remove skin from pumpkin, and place flesh in a large square of cheese cloth. Wrap the cheese cloth around the flesh, and squeeze over a bowl till most of the water drips out. You can do this up the three days ahead and store pumpkin in the fridge.
2. Turn down oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll pie crust 1/8 inch thick, then cut into a 16-inch circle. Fit circle into a 9-inch deep-dish pie dish, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Pinch crust around the edge. Prick bottom of dough all over with a fork. Freeze for 15 minutes.
3. Cut a circle of parchment, at least 16 inches wide, and fit into pie shell. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until edges of crust begin to turn gold, about 15 minutes. Remove pie weights and parchment. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes more. Let it cool for 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, blend pumpkin, sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, eggs, milk, and a pinch of cloves in a blender till smooth.
5. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Pour pumpkin mixture into cooled crust. Bake until center is set but still a bit wobbly, 50 to 55 minutes. (If crust browns too quickly, tent edges with a strip of foil folded in half lengthwise.) Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 6 hours (preferably overnight). Serve chilled with whipped cream.