Sunday, October 31, 2010

Recipe: FUBAR - Edible Carvings

Halloween is here and we had the annual pumpkin carving contest at work this week. Unfortunately for me, I was the first person to send out an email and thus designated captain of the team. We floated a couple of ideas around; Grabbing a tall and skinny pumpkin, carving the Starbucks logo on it, spray foam the top and making a pumpkin spice latte; Grab any pumpkin and market it as a DIY pumpkin carving kit. Bam. Done. What we ended up doing was completely out of left field: A pumpkin pie.  
Since the inception of the blog, F-Log For Thought has always been about the restaurants and their delicious (sometimes not so delicious) foods. But by popular demand (my friend Jon from work), I have decided to share my secret recipe, that I found on the internet. As a first time baker, I was able to easily follow the steps and produced 6 edible pies. If I can do it, you can too!
Alright - the steps. Here is the pumpkin that our work provided us with sitting on my kitchen table. I would say that this is a pretty small jack-o-lantern pumpkin. Normally, pumpkin pies are made with pie pumpkins. They are less grainy and sweeter but according to the site, this will also do.

Step 1 - I took a cleaver I found at home and chopped it in half like a pro. I saw on youtube that it is better if you cut the pumpkin laying sideways. I don't know. I don't think it really matters. I then gutted the pumpkin. To remove the seeds and the stringy pieces, I used a spoon. Ice cream scoops works. You can freestyle this part. Use your imagination. If you like roasted pumpkin seeds, wash and save them. I'm sure there are recipes online. If not, then whatever.

Step 2 - Moving on, I chopped the pieces into smaller manageable piece in preparation to cook them. There are several ways to do this. I tried two methods. They are both pretty easy. You can either put them into a pot with some water and boil them. Or put them in a pot and stick it in the oven at 350F. I can't really tell you for how long because it varies depending on your oven. Just cook it till it's soft. I know it's kind of a subjective term but think of it this way - you have to scoop out the flesh so... if you can scoop it out easily then it's soft enough. Funny story with the oven method. So I filled the pan with my pumpkin pieces, slapped it in the oven and started watching videos on youtube. As I waited for the videos to load, I reread the instructions and realized I was suppose to put the pumpkin in a pot FILLED with WATER and then put it in the oven. Rookie mistake! I looked through the little window on the oven to find some dried up pumpkin, some of the edges were starting to burn. Crap! I quickly unloaded the pan and stuck all the pumpkin pieces into a pot, filled it with 3 cups of water and slapped it back in the oven. I think it still turned out okay so... No biggie.
Clearly not how you were suppose to cook the pumpkin

Getting ready to steam them
Step 3 - Once the pumpkin is soft enough, remove from heat and scoop the flesh out. I used a spoon and a knife to remove the crusty burnt parts. The pumpkin was a little watery but apparently this wasn't a huge issue. Just make sure you are not adding the extra water you used to steam them. I put the pieces into my trusty blender and pureed it until it became super smooth. My little pumpkin yield two giant bowls of pumpkin goop.

Step 4 - Alright. The recipe.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 0.5 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups pumpkin goop from step 3
  • 1 can of evaporated milk
  • 2 six inch pie crusts
I hit up the grocery store and got all 4 spices from the baking aisle. You can also just get pumpkin spice instead of the 4 separate ground spices. But that's just lame. Thoroughly mix all the ingredients, san pie crust, together. You can use less eggs or evaporated milk to make the filling denser as it is pretty fluffy. Who doesn't love fluffy pumpkin pie? Use less eggs if you don't. 

Step 5 - Once you mix everything together, pour the mixture into your pie crusts. I actually got the wrong pie crusts (Makes you feel super confident in my cooking skills don't it?). I picked up the first pie crust I saw at the store - which turned out to be graham cracker pie crusts... you know... the kind you use for cheesecakes? Yeah. I filled it anyway. It tasted okay so it another option I guess. I wanted to make my own crust but I ran out of time. Set the oven to 425F. Slapped these bad boys in there and set the timer. 15 minutes at 425F and then 350F for 45 minutes to an hour. The actual recipe says to put a knife in it and when you can take it out cleanly then it's ready. My knife didn't fit so I said Eff it and just cooked it for an hour. 

An hour and fifteen minutes later.

Chow time!

I thought it turned out okay. Everyone said it was pretty good or pleasantly surprised. Definitely not known for my stellar cooking skills at the office (I'm actually known as the guy that took a soccer ball to the face, but that's another story). Our pies were auctioned off for a whooping $25! That's 5 times more than what you pay at the store! The winning pumpkin went for $511 but look at it! We may have a pie but we can't compete with this. Happy Halloween!

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