The pungent scent of raw pumpkin innards still conjures up memories of fairy costumes, scary face paint and getting candy ready for that first knock at the door.
With a little patience, you can separate the slippery pumpkin seeds from the stringy stuff, and roast the seeds in the oven with olive oil and salt until they start to turn brown. They’re not bad and they’re full of fiber! If you roast thin layers of the stringy stuff too, it caramelizes into a semi sweet, crispy treat. The stem is generally compost, though there might be something you could make out of it. Nothing is wasted!
I’d usually cut up the rest of Old Jack after the Trick-0r-Treating was over, and keep the pieces in the frig til the weekend, unless I was really tired, then I’d put Jack in the frig whole to save for later.
At first, I followed a recipe from a tattered old cookbook that said to cut up the pumpkin, remove the skin, and boil the pieces until soft. Next you drain the water off, and mash the pumpkin, like making mashed potatoes. But the filling was still pretty soupy, especially after we added the milk and/or eggs. So I’d add less liquid, but it was still soupy. Once I added oatmeal as a thickener. It was, um……interesting.
After a couple years I tried a tip I heard from a wise old lady who said they used to just put the whole pumpkin in the oven and bake it, then cut it up, mash it and add the other ingredients. That worked okay. The filling was not so soupy, but it took a long time to cook the whole pumpkin.
This year, I think I’ll cut up the pumpkin and roast the pieces in the oven. Roasted pumpkin, brushed with olive oil or butter, sprinkled with a little brown sugar and cinnamon might be good even without the pie crust. But I’m still making a pie.
Who needs a recipe anyway.