Many years ago, back when I still lived with my parents. Back when I was still in love with an Englishman. Back before I’d ever heard of a food processor I decided to make pumpkin pie from an actual pumpkin. Back then I imagine we made our pumpkin pies from canned pumpkin pie filling (the sweetened kind — not the pumpkin puree). I really don’t know because I have never been a real fan of pumpkin pie. Which is why this is so confusing — me making a pumpkin pie from a pumpkin.
The only thing I actually remember about making the pie was putting the pumpkin through a cone-shaped sieve on tall legs. I remember using a wooden pestle and smushing the cooked pumpkin through the holes in the sieve. I do sort of vaguely remember presenting Jeremy with the pie, but it doesn’t logistically make sense since Jeremy only ever visited in the summer — before pumpkins were for sale.
A few years ago I helped my mom go through her Wisconsin lake house kitchen. She wanted to donate some stuff that she never used. During the kitchen cleaning we came across a cone-shaped sieve with a wooden pestle. I asked if I could have it because I remembered making that pie. She said I could take it home.
Once at home I put the cone-shaped sieve and wooden pestle away and forgot I had it for the most part, but when pumpkin season came around I wanted to buy a pumpkin, cook it and put it through the sieve like I did so many years ago. I didn’t even get to the sieve part because during baking the Pyrex casserole dish on which I’d placed the pumpkin halves exploded in my oven.
It took me seven years to work up the nerve to try again and I nearly forgot to use the sieve. I found a recipe for pumpkin puree on line (okay 2,270,000 recipes) and proceeded to roast the pumpkin (no Pyrex exploded in this episode), put it through the food processor, then measure it into Ziploc bags. I was about to fill the second bag when I noticed little white bits in the puree. I didn’t want stringy pumpkin pie. Then the light bulb came on. The sieve!
I put the remaining puree through the sieve (after cleaning it well — it had been collecting dust for the past 7 years after all — and was amazed at the lack of strings. I finished the puree this way and now have 14 cups of stringless pumpkin puree in the freezer.
I still do not like pumpkin pie — but the rest of the family does — so perhaps this will be a success. I don’t know when, if ever, I will use the sieve and pestle again, but I am glad I remembered it for this task.
And no, I still have not made anything from the puree.