If I Can, You Can! Making a Farm Fresh Pumpkin Pie

If I can make homemade pumpkin pie in a dorm room, you can make one in your kitchen! Last Fall on Halloween, I was feeling a bit homesick at Rhodes. I had decided to skip class, (mom- my professor cancelled class), and I had the entire day free with nothing to do. The weekend before, I had participated in a pumpkin painting contest with local kids at the farm park where I worked, and I had a leftover pie pumpkin. Feeling spontaneous and in the Fall mood, I decided to try my hand at baking a real pumpkin pie.  Off to Kroger I went. I really wanted to do it the right way, but living in a semi- dorm apartment on campus, had very few cooking tools, so I ditched the idea of rolling out a homemade pie crust and bought a delicious whole wheat crust from Kroger.

As I got back to Rhodes, I was getting more excited by the minute. Fall leaves were everywhere, I had a great Halloween costume for later that night, and I was about to make a REAL pumpkin pie! I scrubbed the kitchen clean, lit some candles, put on some upbeat music and got to work baking. What surprised me was how simple it was. All you have to do is bake the darn pumpkin (scooping out the seeds to roast later of course) and follow some simple directions. I loved every minute of it. It made my entire hallway smell heavenly, and it gave me a few hours to enjoy the smell of fresh, warm pumpkin and de-stress from the hectic flurry of school and work. If you enjoy baking even a little bit, I would recommend trying this out. The taste is incomparable to store bought pumpkin pie, and your family and friends will love you forever.

I used the recipe below adapted from Taste of Home. It had the fewest ingredients and seemed the most straightforward. However, many of my friends said it was a tad spicier than a traditional pumpkin pie. This year, I’m going to decrease the ginger to 1/3 teaspoon and increase the cloves to 1/3 teaspoon. I’ve also been curious about replacing the 2% milk with heavy whipping cream for added richness and flavor. Either way, you can’t go wrong. This pie was so delicious that I made it again on Thanksgiving- this time making my 17 year old brother Nick join in the fun. Whether you need to de-stress or just want to eat some delicious pie, baking a homemade pumpkin pie versus store-bought is always the way to go. Enjoy!

What you need: 1 medium pie pumpkin, 1 whole wheat pie crust, 2 eggs, 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves,1 cup 2% milk and a good attitude.

How to make it: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut pumpkin in half lengthwise; scoop out seeds and place in a bowl for cleaning and roasting later. Cover cookie sheet with foil, and rub edges of cut pumpkin with a bit of canola oil. Place both halves, cut side down on cookie sheet. Bake one hour or until outside of pumpkin begins to cave and get soft and the inside is warm and golden brown. Meanwhile, get your whole wheat pie shell out and mixing bowl. When cool enough to handle, scoop out pumpkin pulp and mash. Set aside 2 cups (save remaining pumpkin for another use). In large bowl, combine the mashed pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves; beat until smooth. Gradually beat in milk. Pour into crust. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°; bake 40-45 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cover edges with foil during the last 30 minutes to prevent over-browning if necessary. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 8 servings.