Fall means pumpkins! Or it could mean apples, but for the purpose of this post we will focus on pumpkins. Now that the temptation to carve pumpkins has passed, now we face a new temptation–baking our own pie pumpkins for pies!
Every now and then I get the urge to be uber domestic and make something from scratch (is it just me?) Forget that canned stuff, I’m going to make my own!
And you CAN! But there’s a reason most people prefer pulling out canned pumpkin for those pies. It’s a lot easier and faster. But it’s a lot less satisfying, too.
Should you decide to channel your inner domestic, too, here’s a few tool tips to make it a little bit easier on you!
Three Handy Tools That Will Make It Easier To Bake Pie Pumpkins
1. A large non-serrated knife (Sharp)
This may seem a bit obvious, but truly, I sometimes have trouble deciding when to use a serrated knife and when to avoid it. I’m not the most skilled person in the kitchen. When I step out of my box I tend to make very simple mistakes, like choosing the wrong knife. I have heard that it’s best to not use a serrated knife for this–and let me tell you, I tried both, and that’s true.
To cut that pie pumpkin up the easiest, pick up your biggest smooth-edged knife and cut right through the middle — no, just off the middle so you don’t have to bother with that pesky stem. Then lay the biggest piece cut side down and slice through the middle of that one. Now, you have manageable pieces for baking, because you want to lay cut side down on a baking sheet in similar-sized pieces.
2. Your favorite ice cream scoop
YES. You read that right. Your ice cream scoop is your friend in more ways than one. And actually, for pie pumpkins, you’ll be using it twice. First, you’ll use it to scoop the seeds and pulp out before baking. But later after you bake it, that ice cream scoop is just perfect for scooping the soft pumpkin flesh up off of the baked pumpkin skin.
Pumpkin pie! Pumpkin cookies! Pumpkin pancakes! Can you taste it?
3. Aluminum foil (seriously)
The last “tool” is actually the FIRST thing you need — aluminum foil. If you’re smart enough to line your baking sheet with aluminum foil first (I wasn’t always so clever) you can actually save yourself a ton of time on cleanup.
After baking your pumpkin and letting it cool, you can do the pumpkin scraping on the same baking sheet and then ball up the skins in the foil and toss it in the trash. Done! But the best part is that you don’t have baked on pumpkin juice to scrub off of your baking sheet. How about them apples? Or, er, pumpkins?
How to Bake That Pumpkin?
And by the way, if you want to know, you can bake that pie pumpkin at 375 degrees for 60-90 minutes (depending on the size) until it’s fork-tender. If you saved those seeds, you can boil them in salt water for about ten minutes (to make them salty and tasty!) and then roast them in the oven on 325 degrees until they are toasted as you like them. Enjoy!