Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Baby Boo Self-Contained Pumpkin Pies

When the cold finally sets in and the leaves change colour and float to the ground, it's pumpkin time. They start appearing in the grocery stores in all shapes and sizes, just begging to be bought. There's the pale yellow or stripped spaghetti squash, the beige gourd shaped butternut squash, the green and orange spattered acorn squash, and the good old big orange carving pumpkin just to name a few.

Pumpkins, squashes, zucchinis, gourds, cucumbers, and melons are in the Cucurbitaceae family and the first three share the same genus: Cucurbita. The genus is then divided into a couple of species (pepo, maxima, moschata and mixta) each holding hundreds of varieties of varying shapes, sizes and colours. C. pepo and C. maxima are the species that hold the most varieties that North American consumers know and enjoy. C. pepo can generally be identified by the strong 5 prong star shaped peduncle and vertical grooves; think traditional large orange carving pumpkins. C. maxima are most squashes; they have a more cork like roundish peduncle. Have you ever seen pumpkins weighing over 1000lbs? Well they are varieties of C. maxima; a squash just like the butternut and acorn squash we enjoy in soups and muffins.

Why eat pumpkins? They are stocked full of vitamins, minerals, fibers, and antioxidants. All though this isn't much of a concern in this day and age but whole pumpkins can be kept for up to 6 months on the kitchen table (if they aren't damaged). Back in the days when getting vegetables in the dead of winter was tough, that meant a lot. Nowadays, you can walk to the store and pick up an orange in the middle of the coldest and shortest days of winter (if you are willing to poke your nose outside). They are good for you, they are grown
locally in North America and world wide, and they are available all winter long. Pumpkin pie isn't the only way to eat them. For the next couple of weeks I'll be posting different pumpkin recipes every Tuesday (earlier next time). Feel free to send me your suggestions and favorite recipes.

The pumpkin variety I want to showcase today is Baby Boo; a small white pumpkin frequently used for decoration. What you might not know, is that it can easily be transformed into a delicious self-contained pumpkin pie.

Baked Miniature Pumpkin pies

What you need: 1 Baby Boo
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1/2 Tbsp Butter
1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
Ice Cream (optional and quantity to taste)

The ingredients are measured for 1 pumpkin. Buy and prepare 1 pumpkin per person and mix the appropriate amount of stuffing.

How to: Preheat the oven to 350F. Mix the Brown sugar and melted butter in a small mixing bowl. Wash the pumpkin and cut off the top.

A word of advice: Cut the opening it big enough so a spoon can fit into the opening, the opening in the picture turned out to be too small which made eating it a messy challenge. I also strongly suggest you work on one pumpkin at the time to facilitate the lid to pumpkin association (seriously, it's not an easy puzzle).

Scrape out all the seeds. Once the pumpkin is gutted, pour in the brown sugar and butter into the pumpkin and sprinkle with cinnamon. Put the lid back on and place the pumpkin in a baking pan. Add 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of the pan.

Bake for 30 min or un
til tender.

When ready take the Baby Boo pies out of the oven. Be careful with the pan; it holds scolding hot water. Serve the pies with a scoop of ice cream or on its own.

VoilĂ ! A festive and easy upgrade from your traditional pumpkin pie.

To sum it up:
1- Preheat oven to 350F
2- Wash pumpkins and cut out lids (1 pumpkin per person)
3- Gut the pumpkin - remove seeds and strings
4- Place a Tbsp of Sugar and Butter mix in each pumpkin and sprinkle with cinnamon
5- Place pumpkin in a deep baking pan with a 1/2 inch of water.
7- Cook for 30min or until tender
8- Serve with a spoon and a helping of ice cream
9- Enjoy!

Let me know what you think.

Take care!


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