Boo! Happy Halloween!

I suppose it’s kind of the point to be startled by Halloween. It always seems to sneak up on me. All my plans of carving up the many pumpkins that I bought seem to vaporize as the day approaches, and all I can do is, at the last possible moment, run to the grocery store to grab big bags of crap candy and simply set the pumpkins, uncut and undecorated, on the porch in some sad semblance of seasonal cheer.

Of course, it’s not all bad, being that lazy. You at least get to eat the pumpkins afterwards instead of waiting until they completely rot and attempt to get them into the yard waste before they leak all over you (nightmares of Halloweens past). So, to make use of my pumpkins this year, I thought about going with something similar to Pim’s luscious looking coconut milk and pumpkin panna cotta… but instead, settled on a simple, homey pumpkin pie with a little twist. Instead of a crust, I just used another little pumpkin… an idea I saw recently in Sunset Magazine, although those little pumpkins were filled with a garlic custard (which sounds like another great idea to try at some point.)


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If you start this recipe from pumpkin puree, it doesn’t take much time… the big work is hollowing out the little pumpkin so you can fill it with your pumpkin pie mixture. If you do this, make sure you use pure pumpkin puree… not pumpkin pie filling.

However, if, like me, you want to use your own pumpkin puree be prepared for it to take a little while. You can speed the process by first peeling and cubing the pumpkin, so that it roasts in about 40 minutes. My pumpkin was nearly impossible to peel though, so I first roasted it whole for 20 minutes, and then found it simple to remove from the thick skin and scoop out… followed by cubing and more roasting until each little piece is throughly tender. It’s critical to make sure the pumpkin is well cooked before you puree if you want silky smooth filling. Once it’s practically spoonable, blend it to a fine puree. I like using a handheld immersion blender for this, but a regular blender or food processor are fine too. Then, let the pumpkin cool to room temperature before using in the recipe.

I also decided to top the pumpkins with some meringue, which I then torched to caramelize some. It’s a cute touch, but not at all necessary. Topping with whipped cream would be just as nice, if you don’t want to bother with a meringue.

So Happy Halloween everyone! Here’s your little, perhaps a bit late, treat!

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Pumpkin Pie Pumpkins
Adapted from Donna Hay’s Flavors, Pumpkin and Ginger Tart
makes 3-4 filled individual, baby-sized pumpkins

3 to 4 baby pumpkins
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup heavy (single or pouring) cream
1 egg
1 T flour
1/2 t cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
1/2 t nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400F. Wash and dry the baby pumpkins. Cover a baking sheet with foil and place the pumpkins stem side up, and bake for about 15 minute. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 10 minutes to cool. Cut off the tops. Spoon out the seeds and any stringy bits, which can be discarded. Wash out the insides and set aside to dry.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350F.

Blend all of the remaining ingredients until very smooth. I used a hand held immersion blender for this. Then pour the filling into the pumpkins, filling about 1/2 inch from the top.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the filling has set. Let sit for at least 5 minutes before serving. You can replace the lids, or top with something creamy like meringue or whipped cream once they’ve cooled a bit.

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  • http://www.trialsnerror.blogspot.com Nabeela

    I love your pictures and love the idea of baking a pie in the pumpkin itself even more!

  • Cyndi

    Those are the most adorable little pumpkins! They’re almost too pretty to eat….almost!

  • http://www.eatlikeagirl.com Niamh

    Fabulous idea! Looks great. I will definitely be trying these. I have 5 mini pumpkins and this is the perfect thing for them.

  • http://www.msadventuresinitaly.com/blog Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy

    Beautiful pictures – I am just starting to appreciate pumpkin myself (I made a savoury pumpkin and pancetta tart last week) but I am still not a pumpkin pie fan! The aesthetics of this one would make me at least taste it! :)

  • http://www.beatricepeltre.com/ Bea

    ahahh, I like your mention of “buy crap candies”. I hear you! P. reminded me last night at 5 pm. “ah, it is Halloween”, so we had to rush to the store to get something too! The meringue is indeed a cute touch! Happy Halloween too!

  • http://www.goodthingscatered.blogspot.com Katie

    Whata cute idea! Looks great!!

  • http://bloodsugargto.blogspot.com/ Graeme

    WHat a fantastic idea, and really great presentation.

  • http://atastefuljourney.blogspot.com Merav

    These are so unique and gorgeous! I love the presentation in the pumpkin.

  • http://asweetfantasy.blogspot.com/ Tarah

    I love the photographs! And this looks positively delicious!!

  • http://camferroni.typepad.com Cam

    OK – first off – amazing photos – these are some of your best – I really like them. Secondly, I have to be a little defensive – when L indicates that we gave out “crap candy” what she is really saying is that we gave out “top of the line crap candy”. We’re talking snickers, mounds, almond joy, 100 Grand, butterfinger – you name it – and we let everyone take 2 pieces which was a big hit!

  • http://veggiegirlvegan.blogspot.com VeggieGirl

    brilliant. absolutely brilliant. I’ve never thought of putting the “filling” into the actual pumpkin!! it looks so elegant!! love it :0)

    happy belated Halloween!!

  • http://www.aminglingoftastes.com Julie O’Hara

    Very cute…I’m going to get my issue of Sunset to find that garlic custard recipe now. I’ve got some pumpkins begging to become something delicious:)
    Julie

  • http://nookandpantry.blogspot.com/ Amy

    What a great idea! They are too cute!

  • http://chezpim.typepad.com Pim

    How cute! In Thailand we make an egg custard and steam it inside a small Kabocha pumpkin. A similar idea, but the orange pumpkin here is much cuter.

  • http://www.cookthink.com Claire

    It is a lovely idea – it always seems such a shame to gut these adorable little things and leave the shells behind. The caramelized meringue gives it such a beautiful fall coloring – pure white would remind me too much of….shudder…..SNOW.

  • http://www.hookedonheat.com/ Meena

    That’s a wonderful idea, and the pumpkins look so cute!

  • http://bretzeletcafecreme.blogspot.com/ Flo Bretzel

    I love your idea of Pumpkin meringuée!

  • http://chewonthatblog.com Hillary

    Oh wow are those adorable! I just love the way you added the whipped cream on top too. Just fabulous.

  • http://divineambrosia.blogspot.com Annemarie

    My husband has been taken by pumpkin-within-pumpkin since seeing it on a cooking show. I love the idea of serving pumpkin pie this way – and doing your own pumpkin (rather than from a tin) is so much more fulfilling…

  • sheri

    This is a great idea, and I have always wanted to try cooking with the whole pumpkin, I have just one, probly silly, question, do you eat the pumpkin that comes with the shell? This is why I have not ventured in this arena of cooking. It would be great to know, thanks.

  • http://www.talkoftomatoes.com janelle

    Blog envy. I have it. Photo envy. I am greener than green. Your blog, and photos, are beautiful, b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l. (Case in point, my current photo is awful; usually I have time to make it workable, but my rush job on the last post: ew. It seems I need to start coming to the photo events in Seattle and take some pointers! Yikes!). Keep up all the lovliness!!!!

  • http://play-with-food.blogspot.com Deborah Dowd

    These look so quintessentially fall! I can smell the pumkin and spices. And how elegant for Thanksgiving dinner dessert!

  • http://www.mycookinghut.com mycookinghut

    Looks cute!!

  • http://aurecuisine.over-blog.com auré

    Very beautiful, I keep this idea for next Halloween! 😉