Pumpkin is that magic ingredient that helps to give those Thanksgiving pies and flan their great flavor

By Orlando Ramirez
The Press-Enterprise

 The pumpkin is more than a fall holiday decoration. It has it's role on the Thanksgiving table, most notably as pumpkin pie, but there are several alternatives to consider for the upcoming feast.

 The following recipes visit the sweet side of pumpkin. Most call for pumpkin puree. It's widely and cheaply available in cans for use in pumpkin pies, but it isn't hard to make your own.

 There are a few different methods, but first you have to cut and gut the pumpkin like you would for a jack-o-lantern, discarding the strings and saving the seeds (these make a great treat when roasted and salted). Then cut the pumpkin into chunks.

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 To microwave it, place the chunks in plastic wrap or wrap in paper towels to trap the heat and moisture and microwave on HIGH for 1 to 2 minutes or until tender.

 In the oven, place in a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes to an hour at 350 F. You might want to add a little water to help maintain the moisture. Again, check for tenderness before pureeing.

 Pumpkin can also be stewed for about 20 to 30 minutes in simmering water until tender. Let it cool completely before pureeing in a blender or food processor. Put in a resealable bag or bowl and store in refrigerator. It also freezes well.

 The following recipes have specific measurements for spices and seasonings. Keep in mind that pumpkin pie puree sold in supermarkets is already seasoned. If you use pumpkin pie puree, check to see what is in the puree before adding the spices in these recipes.
 

 Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

 James Beard's Pumpkin Pie With Candied Ginger

 Pumpkin Flan

 Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie With Gingersnap Crust

Published 11/15/1997

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