Plastic-Free Pumpkin Pie

slice of pumpkin pie

Think of autumn and chances are that thoughts of falling leaves, apple cider, and pumpkin pie come to mind.  I enjoy baking this time of year, partly for the delight of eating sweets as well as for the comfort a warm oven brings on a cool day.  Last Saturday I bought a pie pumpkin at the HUNI Farmer’s Market.  I’ve only ever used the canned variety for baking, but I was up to the challenge of baking a pumpkin treat from scratch.  Being that hormone-disrupting BPA is used to line most commercially canned food, the idea of using fresh pumpkin sounded even more appealing.  I cut the pumpkin in half, scraped out the innards (setting the seeds aside for later), and placed the halves in a Pyrex baking dish with about 1/2″ of water.  I baked them at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes (until a fork slid in easily).  I scraped the pumpkin from the skin and put it aside to cool.  Some recipes say to puree the pumpkin, but I just mashed it with a fork and that worked fine.  The next day, I made a pie pastry and set it in the fridge to chill while I mixed up the pie filling.  I use lard these days for my pie pastry because I can only find shortening in plastic tubs or non-recyclable cardboard/foil containers.  Here’s the pie recipe:

Pumpkin Pie

  • 8″ or 9″ unbaked pie crust
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 C home-cooked pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 C milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp molasses

Combine brown sugar, salt, and spices; add remaining ingredients; mix until smooth.  Pour into pastry and bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean (bake at 425 degrees for 30-40 minutes if using canned pumpkin).  I have to thank Julie, a mom from my daughter’s swimming class, who gave me the advice to bake the pie longer at a lower temperature because home-cooked pumpkin puree is juicier than canned pumpkin.  To keep the crust from burning, place the oven rack near the bottom.  After 15 minutes of baking, I wrapped foil around the pie crust to keep it from getting too brown (though some edges still over-browned).  Historically, I haven’t been a huge fan of pumpkin pie, but I liked the taste of this one.  Dan really liked it and said that the home-cooked pumpkin made the pie taste fresh.  Be sure to save the pumpkin seeds and toast them for a yummy salty snack.

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