“We must have pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of pie.” - David Mamet
Why a Long Island Cheese Pumpkin? And who made up the name Cheese Pumpkin, it is very misleading, it has nothing to do with cheese at all. Well let me tell you, I have no idea who came up with the name, but do know that this pumpkin resembles the look of a cheese wheel (sort of, at the right angle, I suppose). But the reason to use such a pumpkin with the strange name has all to do with the flavor.
A long Island Cheese Pumpkin grown in the Long Island and northern east coast area is a sweet and tender squash. It is this sweet flavor that makes it oh so good in a pumpkin pie. Trust me, you do not want to cop out and use a can of pre-prepared pumpkin, you will not regret the choice of using the awkwardly named Long Island Cheese pumpkin.
Now a little fun fact about me, I hate roasting squash. It is my least favorite activity ever. The smell of warm squash, the time it takes for it to be in the oven, the time it takes to scoop out the goodness from the skin, and don’t get me started on scooping out the mushy seeds. Bleck! But nevertheless, I set out to roast the squash and was rewarded with the sweet delicacy of pumpkin pie.
I do believe that this type of pumpkin is sweeter than the average pumpkin squash which gives a nice base for the spices that are added to the pie. A couple of things to note about using fresh pumpkin: fresh pumpkin will need to be strained as it has a lot of moisture that is unnecessary for the pie, and in order to get 2 cups of mashed pumpkin the squashes should weigh two pounds. I got two pumpkins that weighed, together, about 5 pounds, and I got four cups of mashed pumpkin out of them. With the extra two cups, I’ve simply frozen it to make more pumpkin treats in the future.
This crust recipe is from my grandmother’s recipe and the filling is a concoction that I’ve tweaked and made up. I hope you enjoy this Long Island Cheese Pumpkin Pie, which is even better with a scoop of whipped cream on top, just saying.
Ingredients for Pastry
¼ cup of vegetable shortening
½ cup of flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1- 2 Tablespoons cold water
Ingredients for Filling
2 cups of mashed long island cheese pumpkin
1 can of evaporated milk
¾ cups of brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cut the pumpkin into quarters and remove the seeds and mushy middle, the guts.
Put cut pumpkin face down in a baking sheet with 1 cup of water.
Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour to 90 minutes.
While waiting for the pumpkin to roast, start making pie crust by combining the shortening, flour, and salt until pea-size balls form.
Gradually add water, a small amount at a time, until large ball forms.
Roll out dough into a disk to fit 9in pan. (Note: do not over roll or crust will be tough)
Set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or as long as it takes to make the filling.
After the pumpkin is done, let cool enough to handle, then remove the skin and mash.
Strain excess moisture in a mesh strainer (Note: can do this covered in a fridge overnight).
Put strained pumpkin mash in a food processor until pumpkin is creamy
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and take out pie shell to bring up to room temp.
combine 2 cups of pumpkin, 1 can of evaporated milk, sugar, spices, salt, and eggs. Whisk together until combined.
Pour into prepared pie shell and bake for 15 minutes,
reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 40-50 minutes (or until a knife in the middle comes out clean).
Cool for 2 hours before serving, or refrigerate overnight.