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Pumpkin Heaven

Island Epicure

Your Halloween pumpkin, if bought with future culinary uses in mind, can have a second life as Pumpkin Soup or Pumpkin Pie, or if there’s just a bit of pumpkin pulp leftover, you might create a Pumpkin Smoothie. If your Jack O’Lantern is not made from the edible variety of pumpkin, just skip the next three paragraphs and go straight to the recipe below, using canned pumpkin.

The first step is to cook the pumpkin. It works to prick it well on all sides so it won’t explode, creating a horrible mess, and cheating you out of the pumpkin treat you meant to make. The least labor intensive way is to bake it in your oven, either whole or halved, after removing the seeds and the stringy stuff around them.

Second step: When the insides of the pumpkin are tender, scoop them out with a tablespoon or ice cream scoop. Transfer to a blender or food processor. Add enough cider to create a smooth pumpkin puree.

Third step: Measure out 1 ¼ cups of pumpkin pulp for Pumpkin Chiffon Pie or 1 ½ cups for a Pumpkin Custard Pie. Pasteurize eggs to be sure they contain no salmonella. That’s a bit tricky: You want them heated to 149 degrees F, but not cooked.

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
      6 to 8 servings

9-inch baked pie shell
½ cup coconut sugar
1 envelope plain gelatin or 1 Tablespoon gelatin powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 eggs, separated
¾ cup milk (dairy or almond)
1 ¼ cups pumpkin pulp
1/3 cup coconut sugar

 In a 6-cup  saucepan, combine the ½ cup sugar, gelatin, salt, and spices. In a small bowl, mix egg yolks and milk. Stir into the sugar-gelatin-spice mixture in the saucepan. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture boils. Remove from heat. Chill until semi-solid.

Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form and bend over when you lift the beaters. Gradually add the 1/3 cup of sugar while beating the egg whites to a stiff peak stage. Fold the pumpkin mixture into the egg white. Pour into the pie shell. Chill until firm.  Serve with whipped cream. Sprinkle with sugared ginger bits if desired.

Note: I always use coconut sugar because it’s Glycemic Index number is only 35, compared to cane sugar’s 100. Considering the vast, and increasing, number of Americans who are diabetic, pre-diabetic, or trying to keep their weight down, eating low on the G.I. and minimizing sugar intake is a good idea.