Beginning in early fall, pumpkins begin to arrive at farmer’s markets, supermarkets, nurseries, and fall harvest festivals. Pumpkins are versatile in that they make colorful fall home decorations, but also can be utilized in all sorts of recipes. In fact, pumpkins are a type of winter squash.
While some people may be quick to think that the larger the pumpkin the better it is for baking up delicious treats, that’s actually not the case. According to the gardening resource Gardener’s Path, although most pumpkin cultivars are edible, the big pumpkins carved into jack-o-lanterns for Halloween tend to be pretty bland, watery and stringy. They’ve been hybridized to produce a large Halloween-friendly shape, not for flavor. Those traits are not ideal for a delicious pumpkin pie or pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.
The best pumpkins for purees used in recipes are those that were specially cultivated for cooking. When shopping for pumpkins for your next recipe (if you’re opting for fresh, rather than canned puree), select one of the following:
• Baby Bear
• Early Sweet Sugar Pie
• Galeux d’Elsines
• Orange Smoothie
• Small Sugar, among others
Once you’ve selected your perfect cooking pumpkins, it’s time to whip up a pumpkin pie. Enjoy this recipe, courtesy of McCormick, which can be served anytime from Halloween through Christmas.
Classic Pumpkin Pie
Pastry for 9-inch pie crust
2 eggs, well beaten
1⁄2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons McCormick® Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tablespoon flour
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin (or equivalent in fresh puree)
1 teaspoon McCormick® All Natural Pure Vanilla Extract
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line 9-inch pie plate with pie crust.
2. Mix eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, flour, and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Stir in pumpkin and vanilla. Gradually add evaporated milk, mixing well. Pour into pie crust.
3. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F. Bake 40 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
4. Serve warm or cold. Garnish with whipped cream and sprinkle with additional pumpkin pie spice, if desired. Store covered in refrigerator.