You know it’s Fall when you start to see the amazing varieties of pumpkins appear at the store. Even in Austin when ours were showing up while the temperatures were still hitting 100+ a day you immediately thought of beautiful Fall days.
Usually, I only make pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and most of the time it doesn’t get eaten. Everyone is too full after dinner and I think I’m the one that likes it the most. A whole pie often goes to waste.
Last year I discovered these wonderful little pie molds at the Williams-Sonoma Outlet store and I picked them up to give them a try.
It was also the first year I had successfully cooked pumpkin from scratch. There are various methods to do it and I haven’t worked it all out yet. I peeled mine and baked the pumpkin in the oven. But a pumpkin, or any kind of squash, is hard to peel. And scraping all the insides out is a lot of work. Don’t let me discourage you. The flavor is worth it.
Oddly enough, I remembered afterward that I have a pumpkin screen on my food mill and I only needed to wash the outside of my pumpkin, chop it up, cook it by steaming, baking or boiling and run it through the food mill. The skin and seeds would have been removed for me. But if you’re going to cook any kind of squash with the skin on MAKE SURE YOU WASH IT FIRST! Unwashed food contains bacteria that can make you extremely ill.
I use pie pumpkins, the pulp is a different taste and texture than the kind of pumpkin you carve. But there are a huge variety of pumpkins, even white ones, out at the store and I’m curious about how they cook up and will work for baking. I see more experimenting in my future.
There are great advantages to making these Mini Pumpkin Pies. First of all, I spend a day in the kitchen getting them all assembled and put in freezer containers before baking. Then when I want them I just pop them in my toaster oven and bake them fresh. They can be done in advance and it makes the amount of time in the kitchen on Thanksgiving day shorter.
Secondly, I can bake as much pie as I want at a time. If only three people want pie you only have to bake three and by time anyone wants dessert you’re done using the oven for the turkey and trimmings.
And needless to say I can have one of those little mini-pies anytime I want so they can last me weeks. If they last that long, even in the freezer.