My life's birthday tradition is pumpkin pie. Don't get me wrong, I love cake just as much as the next five year old, but pumpkin pie is meant to be eaten on November the 10th. On this great day, mid fall in North America and mid spring in South America, the crisp wind of almost winter and not yet summer should bring hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and earthy vegetables to the palate. A buttery crust topped with creamy spiced filling is just what you need. And lucky for me, here in southern Chile, ten days into November, pumpkins are abundant for the taking. While their jack-o-lantern faces are rotting on many a door step in my hometown, here, around Valdivia, they are rotting in the fields unless someone decides to cook one up. Pumpkin season has almost past, people are sick of the stuff and ready for corn, cherries, tomatoes and other warmer weather eats. So, there are piles of them in the grocery, $3, pick your pumpkin. And I'm not sure why, but it seems that here, there is not an industry that cans them. Forget trying to find your Libby's pie in a can, when pumpkins are ripe, harvest them, and when you want to make a pie, you've gotta start from scratch.
Thank you for all of the nice birthday wishes. If you would like see more photos of my first journey converting pumpkin to pie, click the arrow below. Also, at the bottom you will find a few photos of the dinner that Pablo made to accompany the pie.
First, I peeled off the skin, just like a potato.
Then, I... and my strong assistant... chopped 'er into chunks.
...and scooped out the seeds
...and loaded it all into my big pressure cooker. Note: if you ever have thoughts of buying a pressure cooker, do it. This baby has changed my life. What can be done in a normal pot over the course of an hour takes half the time with pressure... beans, pumpkins, potatoes, you name it, she cooks it!
Voila! Pumpkin puree (pressure cooked chunks were blended with a food processor)! I now have enough pureed pumpkin stored in my freezer for 40 more pies :)
Flaky crust, so important, such a pain in the a$% to make. I love pie, I am not a fan of making crust but this one did turn out pretty well. I used 1/6th cup of butter and 1/6th cup of lard from the chicharrones that we made a few weeks ago. It has a slight bacon flavor... very yummy :)
LET THERE BE PIE!!!
The few (not so great) photos below are from the birthday dinner that Pablo made me. Three kilos of mussels!! I had never had them before but they are delicious! Pablo cooked them in butter and white wine with onion and miscellaneous spices. We ate them all. On looking Gordo received nothing, he's spoiled enough :)