Pie Pumpkins

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by mikky, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. mikky

    mikky

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    I am making some of my pumpkin pie, I always use real pumpkins, one of the sugar varieties I can get locally.

    Since we are at the end of the season, options are very limited.  I cut one up that is good but the second one is very hard and much more yellow than I am used to.  I question if it would be a good choice.  I'd like to make at least 2-3 pies which I have to have for tomorrow but I am not sure if this one is a good choice. 

    Usually the sugar / pie pumpkins I get are much more orange, and not quite as hard.  My gut feeling it is just not completely ripened, but it is very late in the season so I find that hard to believe and it may just be a different variety I haven't used before.

    Any pumpkin experts have any input?  I am usually very picky on the pumpkins I use in my pie but I'm out of options this late in the year for this batch.
     
  2. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Don't over-complicate.  If you can, get another pumpkin you feel better about.  It's only a pumpkin, not a sibling. You don't use raw pumpkin to bake a pie, you have to cook and mash them first.  While you're cooking the pumpkins for the pie, cook the questionable pumpkin as well and taste it so you'll be prepared for next time.

    If you can't get another pumpkin you have to use what you have.  Taste the prepared custard and adjust the seasoning before filling the crust.  You may well need more sugar.   Trust yourself and adjust seasoning according to taste.  You should do that anyway.

    Remember that unless they're written by a fiery finger on stone tablets, recipes are guides and not commandments.

    BDL
     
  3. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    This is one of those cases where I think the canned stuff is much better.
     
  4. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    IMHO, that is because it is, in most cases, not pumpkin/img/vbsmilies/smilies/laser.gif but Butternut, or another, winter squash. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/crazy.gif
     
     
  5. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Your first guess is correct, Mikky. The yellow one is unripe. Doesn't matter that this is the tail-end of the season, because they were all harvested at the same time and put in storage.

    For the record there is no such thing, horticulturally, as a pumpkin. What we call pumpkins are just hard-shell (i.e. winter) squashes. Commercially canned pumpkin, for example, is either hubbard or cushaw squash, depending on canner.

    I disagree with BDL on this. The yellow one will take longer to cook, be less sweet, and will be more watery (I'm assuming you're roasting rather than boiling). That's a lot of modification to reach the same end result.

    Were it me, I'd either go with canned, as KK suggests, or try a different squash, such as butternut or red kuri. Any sweet, orange-fleshed squash will do. Indeed, if you can use the quantity of puree they produce, even a cushaw or hubbard.
     
  6. chefross

    chefross

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    I too use real fresh pumpkin meat for holiday pies. We grow them on the farm here.

    There is a difference in mouth feel.

    The main thing is to puree it fine enough so there are no chunks or fibrous material in the mix.

    I don't care for pumpkin pie spice in the jar and measure out my own spices.

    can tell the difference in that.

    I also use dark brown sugar instead of white and scrape vanilla bean into my mix as well.
     
  7. amazingrace

    amazingrace

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    Pumpkin is just another kind of squash.  I use butternut squash rather than pumpkin for my pies.  They are richer in color,  creamier in texture,  and IMHO easier to work with.  Once it is peeled and the cavity scraped,  I cut into 1" chunks and put on steamer rack in the pressure cooker over 1 cup water.  Sprinkle lightly with salt.  Put on the lid,  bring to pressure and time 4 minutes.  Let pressure drop naturally.  I woud never boil it.  Use just like pumpkin in your pie recipe. 

    By the way,  most of you already know this,  but I'll say it anyway.  The pumpkins that are sold for Jack-0-Lanterns are not pie pumpkins.  They can be used,  but the result will usually be less than wonderful.  They are stringy and more difficult to work with in addition to not being as flavorful as some other pumpkin or squash varieties. 
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011
  8. wyandotte

    wyandotte

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    You're right about squash vs pumpkin.  I was given a bunch of pumpkins and I feed them to my chickens, who love them both cooked and raw!

    For pie or dessert I always use winter squash, same as you. The jack o' lantern pumpkins are quite flavourless and you have to put more sugar and spice in.  You can't even taste anything other than these additives!  If you want your dessert to taste like food instead of sugar you have to use "pie pumpkin" or winter squash.  Glad to see you saying these things here.
     
  9. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Pumpkin is just another kind of squash.

    True, as far as it goes, Grace. But "pumpkin" is merely part of the common name of certain squashes. There is no way to differentiate them, taxinomically, from other hard-shelled squashes. Indeed, early European settlers called all hard-shelled squashes "pompions."

    Here comes the lecture, so you can skip this part: There are six (well, now seven---but that's a different story) species of domesticated squash, four of which are commonly grown in North America. All four of them have varieties commonly called "pumpkin." Yet, there are vast visual, textual, and flavor differences between these pumpkins. We've been socialized into thinking of pumpkins as generally round, orange-skined, orange-fleshed squashes. Taken collectively, however, that's the least usual shape and color. For instance, the most popular pie pumpkin among commercial pie makers is the Long Island Cheese pumpkin. This one is tan skinned, and flattened----looks more like a light-brown tire than a ball. Of late, white pumpkins are becoming popular (although they've been around for centuries). Unfortunately, the ones generally available are more like Jack O'Lantern pumpkins, when it comes to texture and taste. On the other hand, the White Boer, from South Africa, is considered one of the best culinary pumpkins in the world.

    Because of this, the flesh of any winter squash can legally be called pumpkin. From an efficiency point of view, for commercial canning, you want a large, firm-fleshed, orange squash, hopefully with a high sugar count. This is why Hubbard and Cushaw are used. While less sweet than, say, Butternut, their size and shapes lend themselves to easier processing.

    Until recently, it was hard to find pie pumpkins in regular markets. Although this has changed, somewhat, the past few years they are still often hard to come by. So, for home-use, rather than choose a Jack O'Lantern, which has a fibrous and watery texture, it's better to choose an alternative squash that meets your actual needs. Most often that would be butternut, because it's commonly available, and is sold in realistic sizes. It's one thing to prep a 2-3 lb Butternut, another thing to play with a 30-lb Hubbard. In theory, you could even use Acorn squash. Unfortunately, they've been hybridized to the point where the flesh is white (it was originally orange), and the sugar content low. Or, just do what most of our Mama's did, and go with canned pumpkin.

    There is a difference in mouth feel.

    Are you saying a difference between pie pumpkins and Jack O'Lanterns, ChefRoss? Or between fresh pumpkin and canned?

    If the former, you're absolutely correct. If the latter, I believe any difference in mouth feel is in your mind rather than in your mouth.

    I, too, grow my own pumpkins and other squashes. Don't fool myself for a minute that I could detect any difference between them and canned in either sweet or savory dishes. Nor do I believe you could, either, in a blind taste test.
     
  10. airwolf444

    airwolf444

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    Hi Im new to south Africa and was wondering what kind of pumpkin variety is good for making pumpkin pies as I make these myself to can anyone help me with this
     
  11. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Right above you is the answer,
    And as mentioned, a butternut squash or canned pumpkin work just fine as well. 
     
  12. kingnothing

    kingnothing

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    My favorite and which I'm growing this year is sugar pumpkin. It is unbelievable the difference between the canned stuff and actually using the real thing. I will never go back to the canned stuff.