Homemade pumpkin pie — from a real pumpkin

My boyfriend is big on culinary adventures. When other people go to make a pumpkin pie, they might do something like — oh, I don’t know — buy canned pumpkin. It’s quick, easy and ready to go. It’s convenient. And portable.

But Spencer enjoys a challenge. When we went to pick pumpkins to carve for Halloween, an annual tradition, he asked the woman at the farmer’s stand which gourd would be best for pie making. She recommended a sugar pumpkin — smaller and more flavorful than the bigger jack-o-lantern varieties — and off we went.

After hanging out at a fall festival last weekend, we decided to give the pie making a go. I was skeptical, to be honest; how were we going to take a big, fleshy and seed-filled orange thing and turn it into a pie? But in the end, it really wasn’t too tough. Especially when we found plenty of tutorials online.

So here’s how to make your own pumpkin puree for pie-making — or other recipes. If I’m being perfectly honest (and don’t punch me), I didn’t taste a huge difference between fresh pumpkin and its canned counterpart. If you’re short on time or just don’t want to be bothered, the traditional from-a-can method works just fine. But if you’re ready for something different or want to use up the pesky half-carved toothy gourds you have lingering around? This might be a good way to waste not, want not.

Two cups of the pumpkin puree we made amounted to about one 15 oz. can of pumpkin, which most pie recipes call for. And with about a million pumpkin pie recipes floating around the ether, how can you settle on one? We chose a recipe that worked based on the ingredients we had on hand, which happened to be this one. It was sweet without being cloying, and stood up very well!

Though nothing stands up to the pumpkin lovers in my house. It was gone in a day.

Happy Halloween, everyone!