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A Pumpkin Pie Shortage? Say it Ain’t So!

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Have you done your Thanksgiving shopping yet? If not, you could be out of luck when it comes to the pumpkin pie. Reports of the great pumpkin shortage have been all over the news, and yes, it has even affected that reliable standby, canned pumpkin puree.

What to do? We have had some luck in our test kitchen finding fresh sugar pumpkins, both at chain supermarkets and from local farmers. But we’ve been underwhelmed by their flavor, another likely effect of the heavy rains this summer.

Instead, we’ve got some great alternatives for folks who crave that classic pumpkin pie: Substitute fresh butternut squash, sweet potatoes, or most surprisingly, parsnips. The white root vegetable contributes its own sweet, nutty flavor that, combined with the traditional pie spices, is both comfortingly familiar and exotic at the same time.

             
Parsnip Buttermilk Pie     Sweet Potato Pie           Brown Sugar Squash Pie

Or consider this the year you break free from pumpkin pie tyranny. We’ve got a lot more creative options in our Thanksgiving Dinner Guide.

 And if you’re dead set on pumpkin pie, better hit the store today!

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  • tom0527 | 11/25/2009

    "Pie pumpkins" are smaller, sweeter, less grainy
    textured pumpkins than the usual jack-o-lantern
    types. grocery stores usually carry them in late
    September through December in the U.S.
    Just like selecting any squash, look for one that is firm, no bruises or soft spots,
    and a good orange color.
    Step 2 - Prepare the pumpkin for cooking
    Wash the exterior of the pumpkin in cool or
    warm water, no soap.
    Cut the pumpkin in half. A serrated knife and
    a sawing motion works best - a smooth knife is
    more likely to slip and hurt you!
    Step 3 - Scoop out the seeds...
    And scrape the insides. You want to get out that stringy,
    dangly stuff that coats the inside surface. I find a heavy ice
    cream scoop works great for this.

    Step 4 –Cooking the pumpkin
    There are several ways to cook the pumpkin; just choose what is most convenient for
    you: microwave (my preference), steaming on the stovetop, pressure cooker or bake
    in the oven. I’ll describe microwaving here.
    Remove the stem, and put the pumpkin into a
    microwaveable bowl. You may need to cut the
    pumpkin further to make it fit. The fewer
    the number of pieces, the easier it will to
    scoop out the cooked pumpkin afterwards.
    Put a couple of inches of water in the bowl,
    cover it, and put in the microwave.
    Step 5 - Cook the pumpkin until soft
    Cook for 15 minutes on high, check to see if it is
    soft, then repeat in smaller increments of time
    until it is soft enough to scoop the innards out.
    Normally it takes 20 or 30 minutes in total.
    Note: You CAN cook it on the stovetop; it will
    just take longer (almost twice as long)
    http://www.pumpkinpatchesandmore.org/pumpkinpie.php
    Step 6 - Scoop out the cooked pumpkin
    Using a broad, smooth spoon, (such as a tablespoon)
    gently lift and scoop the cooked pumpkin out of the
    skin. It should separate easily an in fairly large
    chucks, if the pumpkin is cooked enough.
    Step 7 - Puree the pumpkin
    To get a nice, smooth consistency, I use a Pillsbury
    hand blender. A regular blender works, too. Or even just a hand mixer with time and
    patience.
    With the hand blender, it just takes 2 or 3 minutes!
    Step 8 - Done with the pumpkin!
    The pumpkin is now cooked and ready for the pie
    recipe.

  • Salzburg1 | 11/22/2009

    I love Pumpkin pie but in Europe you cannot buy pumpkin, squash or anything else for that matter in a can that would suit the filling of a pumpkin pie.
    How does one make pumpkin pie filling. I would really be interested in the recipe.
    Helen, Salzburg1

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