Pumpkin pie is, for me, one of those defining autumn flavors. Most pumpkin things make me think of Halloween, but pumpkin pie is usually a Thanksgiving standard. The smell of pumpkin and cinnamon accompanies the scarlets and golds on the trees outside. It's the kind of thing you smell as you pull your sweaters and gloves out of storage.
We had a pumpkin that we didn't think was going to last until Halloween, so we went ahead and cut it up for cooking with. I used the first half of the pumpkin to make pumpkin soup (one of my kindergartner's favorites...although she has a lot of favorite foods). My husband decided to make pumpkin pie with the second half. Plus we roasted the seeds--very easy, yummy, and nutritious. Just stick the seeds on a baking sheet, season lightly if desired, spray with a little olive oil, and then bake for about 20 minutes.
To make the pumpkin puree, we cut, skinned and gutted the pumpkin and cut into segments. Then we sprayed with a little olive oil and sprinkled a little brown sugar on top. We baked them in a large glass dish for about 40 minutes at 350 F (180 C), until the pumpkin was very soft. Then he just tipped it out into the food processor. The pumpkin will probably release some juice as it bakes, so just puree the pieces first, and then add some of the juice back as needed to get the right consistency.
We also used a shortcrust pastry for the shell rather than a pre-made pie shell.
Other than that we followed the recipe, then served with whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon. The results were fantastic. I have to admit that, growing up, I only ate one slice of pumpkin pie a year (on Thanksgiving), and even then it was more out of the spirit of the holiday than because I really enjoyed it. This pumpkin pie, though, was delicious. I'm definitely looking forward to Thanksgiving and making another one.