Saturday, 10 October 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 Pre-amble and Dessert

I have our traditional Thanksgiving feast all planned and ready to go! Pasture raised turkey ordered; CHECK. Menu sorted out with all dietary needs sorted out; CHECK! Grocery shopping done; CHECK. Pumpkin puree from farm fresh pie pumpkins made and waiting to be turned into pumpkin pies. I plan on making my regular, tried and true pie which is always a family favourite. In addition to my traditional pumpkin pie, I also plan to try my hand at a dairy free version using coconut milk instead of evaporated milk. If this goes well, then, next time, I will try a gluten free crust.  Cross your fingers for me! So that I can accommodate my dairy and gluten free requirements, I am making my apple crisp which I have tested thoroughly with great success and TWO thumbs up from my omnivorous family.

Yesterday, I was at the apple orchard again.  I was there a few weeks ago to pick a bushel of MacIntosh apples for the apple sauce I can every year. Normally, I pick half a bushel of Cortlands for pies, crisps and salads at the same time. Sadly, they were not ready when I was there so I had to make another trip. 

After picking my apples,  I found some of the most adorable pie pumpkins available for sale. I decided I would try my hand at making my own pumpkin puree for the pumpkin pies this year. This gives me another opportunity to support a local farmer and another way to skip the factory kitchens PLUS no BPA infused cans touching my food. A Win/Win/Win scenario me thinks! FYI: a rule of thumb is 1 pie pumpkin = 1 pie. 

Isn't this the cutest little pumpkin ever?

First of all, you need to take a really sharp knife and cut the stem off close to the pumpkin. Then, cut the pumpkin in half. Remove the seeds and the stringy bits. 

Place the pumpkin halves face down on a parchment lined roasting pan. Roast in a 350° F oven for 35-50 minutes until a fork or a knife is easily inserted isn't the skin and flesh of the pumpkins.  Roasting time will vary depending on the size of your pumpkins.

Let the pumpkins cool so you can handle them. Then, with a spoon, scoop out all the pumpkin. Place the pumpkin into a food processor and purée till smooth. Today, I used my Vitamix to blend, but next time I will use mynfood processor because it is hard to get every last bit of pumpkin out of the blender. Once the pumpkin is puréed, gently pout into a fine mesh strainer so that the excess moisture drains. It will take a few hours. For my 2 pumpkins, I got 1 1/4 cups of water.  For pumpkin pie, it is important to remove the excess moisture so that the pies set. I would think you can skip this step if you are making a pumpkin quick bread liaf or muffins. 

Since I prepared this today and will be making my pies on Sunday morning, I stored the purée in mason jars and refrigerated till pie making day. 

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours! ❤️❤️