After a disappointing harvest from our garden in 2020 when only six pumpkins matured into orange balls, we were excited to see more than thirty pumpkins of various shapes, sizes, and colors in the garden this season. Hubby and I are delighted. And, to think we considered not planting them at all this year.
Sadly, now, this year we didn’t plant the pie pumpkin variety. While I’ve never made a pie using from-garden-to-pie puree, it would have been fun to try. My mother-in-law cooked mostly from-scratch meals. She was well known for her fabulous tasting pumpkin chiffon pies. If she didn’t have any pie pumpkin to use, she substituted cooked and mashed butternut squash. With the spices she used, no one was the wiser to her substitution. When she put the finished pie on the table, it never lasted long enough for complaints. That was music to her ears.
So, what are we going to do with that many pumpkins? I have a couple of ideas. I saw posted on Facebook a picture of a wavy arrangement of pumpkins, from large to small. They were decorated like a caterpillar. Big eyes and antennae on the first pumpkin and legs on the rest to the smallest at the end. How cute is that?
I’m sure we will make an assortment of jack-o-lanterns by the front door. They will have many different faces: tooth or toothless, smiles, frowns, big eyes or small. Add a small light and they will glow in the night darkness. I’ll also put some in the flower beds that are cleared of plants now. Something to add color to the barren spots.
We didn’t plant any seeds for the miniature pumpkins either, so I’ll buy a few at the fall markets for inside the house. I’ll put them on the table in a large wooden bowl I use in the fall season the year. Maybe, if available, I’ll add a few ears of multi-colored corn or the dark red popcorn ears. We have country style furnishings in our home, so I like to have natural seasonal decorations.
This Pumpkin Chiffon pie recipe has lots of steps and makes more than the usual dirty dishes for a pie, but it is well worth the time and effort.
Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
½ cup white sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
¼ tsp ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
¾ cup whole milk
2 slightly beaten egg yolks (room temperature)
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 egg whites (room temperature)
¼ cup sugar
½ cup whipping cream
1 – 9 inch baked piecrust or graham crust
Combine first 7 ingredients in saucepan. Stir in milk, egg yolks and pumpkin. Cook and stir constantly over medium heat until mixture boils and gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat and chill in refrigerator until partially set (about ½ hour, or so).
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
Beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
Fold (do not beat) egg whites and whipped cream into pumpkin mixture.
Pour the filling into the crust and refrigerate several hours so the pie sets.