Pumpkin Pie…. Oh My!

Hey remember way back when I was posting about all this crazy new shit I was doing, like making my own foods from scratch and canning stuff for god’s sake. Canning… me!  It was bizarro world. Kookier still to think that all those jars I bought would also enable my newest hobby as a “citizen scientist” for the national ZomBee Watch project, melding my other new alternative lifestyle choice as a beekeeper into the mix. Seriously, in 4 days I will have been on this weight loss program for one year, and if I tried to make a list of the lifestyle changes in that time, it would be one truly weird list! In fact, I guess I know what my one year post on Tuesday should be now!

Anyhoo… I have been doing vegetable gardening the last 5-7 years as a hobby, and this year I had a rogue pumpkin vine grow, whether from compost (we make our own man, and it’s really good shit :-) ) or maybe a bird dropped a seed, but either way, we ended up with a huge pumpkin vine, with a ton of blossoms too, but then as it started to fruit, some insect or pest was eating them right away. Despite that, we ended up with 2 pumpkins. A small one which fell off the vine early (it was hanging) and then a second one that we put a support under, and grew to be just beautiful. Now, I doubt these were sugar pumpkins (what you normally use for pie), no clue what the actual variety is, but either way, I was determined that we would EAT the first pumpkin we grew. Now, in my family, there has been only one way we eat pumpkin – in pie of course. My mother LOVED making (and eating) pumpkin pie (PP). My husband loves PP. My kids LOVE PP. I love to MAKE PP, but I don’t eat it. In fact, never in my life have I even had a bite of PP, and I have no interest in adding it to my consumables repertoire at this point. I have spent my life as one of those nonsensical fat people who is an incredibly limited/picky eater. I suspect there are a lot of us.  We eat A LOT, but there is not a lot we eat! For me, no seafood, there are tons of fruit and veggies I don’t eat, and I do not like (in my head because I have not tried them), cooked fruit pies… of any kind. Yes, you read that right. No apple, cherry, berry, etc., pie has ever passed my lips.

Now, one could make a compelling argument for why I need to get over myself and start eating seafood (and I don’t mean lobster in butter, honey) and way more veggie and fruit varieties than I do now, but really, there is no earthly reason why I need to start eating pie. I have gone 48 years without being a pie eater, I can get through the second half of the game doing the same.

But I do LIKE making pies, especially pumpkin. In fact I am always trying to make a better PP than the prior year’s version. It’s an annual pilgrimage toward perfection of a pastry I do not eat.

Yes, I am a very strange woman. But you knew that already.

So anyway…

We had this gorgeous, homegrown pumpkin. And this weekend, many of our friends from the Fatcyclist.com community will be riding in Levi Leipheimer’s Gran Fondo in Santa Rosa, including Fatty himself and his wife The Hammer. You know, the same dynamic duo who just cycled the 423 mile Salt to Saint ride in 27ish hours. Yes, these people got on bikes, and other than short breaks, rode 423 miles in just over a day. Yeah. I know, I know. I hate ‘em too, except I don’t. They are both just amazing people. But they do give any normal person a serious inferiority complex. Fortunately I go through life with a greatly inflated sense of self-worth, so it evens out in the end.  ;-)

Okay back to the damn pie.

So David and his tandem partner (who became a couple 4 years ago because of this event) are riding Levi’s Gran Fondo along with some Team Fatty peeps. Post-ride pie consumption (inhalation?) is considered mandatory for being part of the Fatty family, and David started being a major pie bringer to these Bay Area Fatty events. Since I like to make but not eat pie, I started making pies for him to bring, and then he also buys a bunch more, because you know, it’s David, who considers the proper ratio of pie to people to be 1:1!

Which brings us to yesterday and this weekend. I signed on to send a PP and a Shoo-fly pie. And I decided I was going to use our homegrown pumpkin, because as stated previously, by gawd we (and by we, I mean everyone I know except me), were gonna eat that thang!

So I washed it, cut it, removed the seeds and strings, roasted it, scooped out the cooked flesh, food processed it, then pureed further in the blender for extra smoothness, divided it into 12 ounce portions (my new PP recipe using homegrown pumpkins calls for 12 oz of puree per pie), and then because this was still a complete science fair project that could end horribly, bought frozen prepared crust from the store. No way I was making crust from scratch in case the filling was terrible.

Interestingly, the recipe made enough filling for two very pies though it called for just one pie crust. So then I was really hoping it tasted good since we’d have two of them, and boy was I glad store crusts are sold in pairs!

PumpkinPie

To make a long story no less short, David and the kids LOVED it (I wouldn’t know of course because I didn’t have any). Well to be precise, David said the flavor was great but he was wondering if it should have been cooked a little longer – he just wasn’t sure. Whatever the case, he sucked his piece down in record time. I cooked them for the full-time called for, they certainly it looked cooked, and I tooth-picked them too, so I suspect maybe the fresh pumpkin texture is different from canned and that’s what he was reacting to? The kids did not share his concern. They had hoovered theirs and were wanting more before I had even put the whipped cream away. In any case, we ended up with two test pies that the family loves, so I will be making two more from a second jar of puree tonight, and using home-made vodka crust for those, plus the shoo-fly pie.

So I will have made 5 pies in 2 days, without having any pie, and without wanting to have any pie.

As I said, I’m an odd duck.

But hey, at least I was back in ONEderland this morning, and as a bonus I have 2 more jars of puree in the freezer so I can make 4 more pies for Turkey Day and Christmas from that same  rogue pumpkin. Damn that pumpkin was good to us. I probably should have named it in retrospect.

Happy Friday all!

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