Hello Pumpkin : Roasting, Toasting and Brewing

pie-pumpkins

With American Thanksgiving on Thursday and Pumpkin Pie on the menus of many people, I thought I’d save my post about home-roasting your own pie pumpkins for this week.

One of the first things Nick cooked for me was a Pumpkin Pie from scratch. I was making him dinner at my place and he volunteered to bring dessert, and when I say from scratch I mean it. I was blown away by the fresh flavour of the ‘real’, not from a can, pumpkin (and clearly by the man who introduced me to it!)

So we’ve been buying pie pumpkins in the fall, and roasting them ourselves since then. The puree stores well in the freezer and you can enjoy pumpkin baking and soups throughout the year.

Pie pumpkins are those small ones about the size of a bowling ball and their flesh is tender. I wouldn’t use the typical jack-o-lantern pumpkins for this as they tend to be stringy and tough. 6 pie pumpkins yields enough puree to make 9 pies (or soups, etc.), so at the price here of about $1.75 per pumpkin, the puree is only a little over a dollar per pie. So not only does this method result in wonderful flavour but it’s very economical too.

pie-pumpkins-for-sale

This year we bought ours while on this autumnal day-trip out to the countryside, and roasted them last month, during the weekend of Canadian Thanksgiving. So we had a pumpkin pie for our dessert. I also set aside a small portion to make some Pumpkin Lattes and then the rest was put in the freezer, where it awaits being turned into some pumpkin bread, pumpkin cheesecake, this soup, and of course, PIE!

Another thing about Pie Pumpkins is the seeds are smaller and more tender than with big pumpkins, so are really good to toast and eat as a snack.

To Roast Pumpkins :

Cut pumpkins in half and remove the innards (eww) and seeds. Place the halves cut-side-up on pans with racks in the bottom that will elevate them a bit. Add water to the bottom of the pan (so the will steam and not dry out). Place in pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 1.5 hours, or until the flesh is very soft.

Remove pulp from the skin using a spoon and mash well with a potato masher or blender. Use pulp right away or put in freezer bags for later use. We have taste-tested both, frozen and non-frozen pulp in a pie and honestly you absolutely cannot tell the difference.

roasted-pie-pumpkins

roasted-pie-pumpkin-pulp-ready-to-freeze

Moving onto the seeds …

pumpkin-insides

rinsing-pumpkin-seeds

roasted-pumpkin-seeds

bowl-of-roasted-pumpkin-seeds

To Toast Pumpkin Seeds :

Wash the seeds to remove the pulp. If you do this in a colander over a bowl you’ll notice that the seeds float, making your job easy! Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and then toss them in a small amount of peanut oil, (we used about 2 teaspoons for our quantity). Sprinkle with salt. Place inside pre-heated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until nicely toasted, tossing every 15 minutes.

diy-pumpkin-spice-latte

Now lets talk about pumpkin in coffee. First I have to admit that I have never had a Pumpkin Latte from Starbucks, who I believe first came up with the idea. I know they’re supposed to be delicious but although we have one nearby, I rarely go there. There’s no particular reason for that except that it’s never been part of my routine.

But I do love coffee, and with all the raving going on about Pumpkin Spice Lattes, I was very curious to see what pumpkin in coffee tasted like. So I went online to see how it is done and came up with this recipe. Verdict? I quite like pumpkin in coffee! It is very different than regular coffee but quite delicious.

pumpkin-pie-spices

To Make Pumpkin Latte at Home :

Pass about 2 tablespoons of roasted pumpkin pulp through a sieve into a saucepan, and add 1 cup milk, 4 teaspoons sugar, pinches of ground nutmeg, ginger and allspice and 2 pinches cinnamon. Heat gently, stirring occasionally, and then add 1 1/2 cup freshly brewed coffee. Makes two large serving.

Curious to know how much a pinch is? We found a set of measuring spoons that tells you just that …

a-pinch-equals

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

I’ll end this post with a Pumpkin toast. Have you ever tried Pumpkin Beer? I had not until this year after picking up a bottle made locally by Great Lakes Brewery. It is an ale with pumpkin and spices mixed right in. The thought of it wasn’t that appealing to me and I wouldn’t have bought it, but at the liquor store they were giving out small samples of it and I found it to be quite good. I am late to the party with this though, as it is only available in the fall, and of course here we are on the brink of December, so you might have to wait until next year to have pumpkin beer.

pumpkin-ale-great-lakes-brewery

great-lakes-brewery-pumpkin-ale

But I notice from the Great Lakes Brewery site that they also have a Winter Ale on offer, made with cinnamon, honey, ginger and orange peel. I see that it’s a medal winner so would be good to try. I’ll get back to you on that.

Thanks for checking out my post. I hope I’ve inspired you to try roasting your own pumpkins!

Here’s wishing you a great Monday.
xo loulou

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