Step 1: Be sure to buy the right type of pumpkin. While the jack-o'-lantern variety may be fine for carving spooky designs, the sweet flesh of a pie pumpkin is perfect for autumn baking.
Step 2: Cut the pumpkin open and scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff—just as you would if you were carving it for decorative purposes. If you wish, reserve the seeds and save them for roasting.
Step 3: Remove the stem, slice the pumpkin in half and bake face up in a 350 degree F oven for 45 minutes or more. Cook until the pumpkin is soft (you can test doneness by piercing it with a fork).
Step 4: Scoop out the cooked pumpkin and throw away the skin. Purée the pumpkin glop using an electric mixer or potato masher.
In the spirit of Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin, here are three great pumpkin recipes using just two pie pumpkins.
Makes 1 pie
Pour filling into the crust and bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes and at 350 degrees F for another 45 minutes or more. Bake until the filling is set (test for doneness by inserting a clean knife into the pie; if it comes out clean, it's done).
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