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Surviving the Shortage

3 November 2009

Have you heard about the Great Pumpkin Shortage of 2009? A Google search returns over 150,000 pages about it.

We tried making a pumpkin pie from sugar pumpkin, back in our California days, and it came out so stringy and unpleasant to eat, that we decided canned pumpkin still counted as making a pie “from scratch”. What to do? Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it seems that canned  pumpkin is nowhere to be found in Des Moines. Lucky for me, I had recently come across a knitting blog post raving about using Hubbard squash in place of pumpkin in pumpkin bread. So, for the last Farmer’s Market of the season, I asked the Consort to bring some back.

I chose a small-ish one and cut it in half and scooped out the seeds:
1 :: Raw Hubbard

2 :: Prepped Hubbard

Then I put it in a roasting pan with a bit of water in the bottom and roasted it at 350 degrees until the skin was easily pierced with a fork (took me a little over an hour — a larger one would, obviously, take longer):

3 :: Roasted Hubbard

After you let it cool a little while, you scrape the flesh from the skin, and mash it up nice and smooth (any extra can be frozen or stored in the refrigerator for a while):

4 :: Squash mash
5 :: Extra squash

Then follow your favorite pumpkin pie recipe, substituting 1.5 cups of squash for 1 can of pumpkin. If yours happens to be on the bottom of the pie dish that you decide to use, and you realize this only after you’ve pre-baked the crust (rickin’ frickin’!), well then, the recipe on the side of a can of pumpkin (if you happen to still have one in your pantry) works just dandy:

6 :: Pie

I made a pastry crust using 50% white flour and 50% wheat flour, since squash is a strong enough flavored filling that the whole wheat doesn’t overpower it.

If you enjoy your pie American-style, then you and your offspring will hurry off to the local shop to buy a can (a can!!!) of ready-made whipped cream.

7 :: Mmmm pie

If you prefer your pie European-style, then you wouldn’t have even thought to add heavy cream to the shopping list, because it didn’t even cross your mind that a delicious homemade pie would require anything other than itself, in moist deliciousness. (So there!)

However you prefer it, you will be happy to know that Hubbard is a perfectly successful substitute for canned pumpkin. You’ll know because your offspring will assert this several times (high praise, indeed).

And you can even use that extra squash to make pumpkin muffins:

8 :: Squash muffins

Which turn out pretty damn good, too.

(PS: How do the pictures come out on your screen? I tried something different this time, and although it looks fine on mine, I wouldn’t want to do it again if it creates problems on other machines.)

10 Comments leave one →
  1. 3 November 2009 4:49 pm

    Yummy. The pictures look fine to me. What’d you do differently?

  2. 3 November 2009 8:29 pm

    the photos looked excellent, both in Reader, and directly on the blog.

    and the pie looks fine!

  3. 3 November 2009 9:01 pm

    Delectable-looking items! You know what else works well as an alternative to pumpkin? Yams and sweet potatoes. I’ve had sweet potato pie that could give any punkin one a run for its money. Add enough spices and molasses, and they’re hard to distinguish.

  4. 4 November 2009 1:32 am

    How weird! There was no shortage over here before Halloween. I’d offer to send you one but I suspect it would be a mess by the time it arrived….!

  5. 4 November 2009 7:51 am

    Pics looked fine to me, and I quite fancy a muffin now (though I’m still unconvinced longer-term about the concept of pumpkin pie; we tried it that time you sent across the pumpkin and whatnot [and the cups get a LOT of use here!], but we’ve never repeated the exercise… Perhaps we’re just too British? ;)).

    Muffin recipe?

  6. 4 November 2009 8:20 am

    First of all, the photos are perfect. Second of all, look how handy you are! Your goddessness never ceases…..

  7. 4 November 2009 10:53 am

    I confess that I use squashes and pumpkins pretty well interchangeably. I think you have to be your side of the Atlantic to know the difference.

  8. 4 November 2009 12:49 pm

    I thought it was funny that you talked about eating your pumpkin pie “European style.” I don’t think there *is* a European way to eat pumpkin pie…

    On the squash/pumpkin interchangeability, I’ve had other squash pies, and must say that hubbard is the first one I’ve had that really tastes as good as a real pumpkin pie.

  9. 4 November 2009 2:45 pm

    The pictures look just fine to me! Now I am hungry…

  10. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    4 November 2009 3:15 pm

    What I did differently with the pics: I inserted the small size of some of them, and to get them to sit parallel to each other, I set one flush left and the other I centered (if I made the second flush right, then the text would wrap weirdly between them). I just wasn’t sure if the two pictures would sit side-by-side on everyone’s screen, or if they’d do some weird stagger instead. Now I know this method works. Thanks!

    isableita: See, now I’m going to have to try the sweet potato version. I just always assumed that a potato would make a heavier (-in-my-belly) pie than mashed squash…

    EW: An online version is available here ( Looks like the King Arthur site is down right now, so I can’t confirm that it’s exactly what I used (I have their Whole Grains cookbook). I used raisins instead of chocolate chips (after Halloween there is just too much chocolate around in other forms), increased the temp to 375, and baked the muffins for 23 minutes. As to the consistency thing, you may be right. But seeing as the absolute best Belgian pie has to be Tarte au Riz (Rice Pudding Pie), I was enjoying custardy pies since my youth!

    IC: Notice I said “If you prefer your pie [i.e., not necessarily PUMPKIN] European-style”. I don’t understand why a dessert has to be turned into a double dose (pie + ice cream), when the flavors of whatever pie you are eating are better unadorned (except for pecan pie — I’ll agree with you there).

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