Ring in October with EASY Homemade Pumpkin Pie Filling

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Ah October, while for us Dubaiyans who have just lived through the sweltering heat of summer, we are now excited about a little cooler version of summer, for those of you living in cooler areas this month means falling leaves, crisp air and everything that symbolizes the heart of autumn. October is also Breast Cancer awareness month, Canadian Thanksgiving and of course Halloween. Luckily for me I have PUMPKIN on my mind – the perfect gourd to represent all of these things!

I bet not a lot of you knew that gourds, including the pumpkin, are not only good for the prostrate (pumpkin seeds have been found to be helpful in treating Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or BPH) but also for staving off cancers including breast cancer – you can read more on this topic on Food for Breast Cancer. In fact, this year you can even support breast cancer research when you pick up the new variety of porcelain doll pumpkins, which have been bred to be pink in color courtesy of the Pink Pumpkin Patch (they aren’t GMO – they are a hybrid much like seedless grapes or watermelon – and they are still orange on the inside) from your local farmer/store. And how could we possibly leave out pumpkin when it comes to Halloween or Thanksgiving?

So of course I had to go out and get myself some pumpkin – not an easy feet in Dubai mind you. In fact all I was able to find was 2 tiny little butternut squashes from France (that cost 10 AED a piece!)

But I am determined to share a wonderfully simply way of making pumpkin (ok butternut squash) pie filling with you, which you can than use to make a dessert that’s quite guilt free:

 

Easy Pumpkin Pie Filling From Scratch

Ingredients

1 large (or several small) pumpkin(s)/squash
1 tsp. cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, mace, clove or pumpkin spice
1 tbsp. natural maple syrup or to taste

Directions

Cut the top off your pumpkin and scoop out the seeds (you can roast these by simply rinsing them in a strainer, spreading them on a baking sheet, seasoning and roasting in the oven @ 325 for about 25 min, make sure to stir them after 10 min – but I digress :) ).

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out the pulp – since I had a small butternut squash I used a teaspoon and a knife – and place in a microwave safe bowl with your preferred seasoning. I only had cinnamon at home so that’s what I used.

Microwave covered on high for about 8-10 min (about 2 min per 1/2 cup of pulp) or until it’s soft enough to mash with a fork. Add maple syrup and mash with a masher  – or in my case I used a fork for the 1/2 cup of pulp I had.

Viola you have homemade pumpkin pie filling! If you want to make this into a pie all you need to do is add 2 eggs and 1 (12 oz) can of low fat evaporated milk to 2 cups of the pulp and bake in a pie crust in a preheated oven @ 400 for about 40 min. But since this is Dubai and it’s so hot here, I decided to enjoy mine with some walnuts and a scoop of natural vanilla ice cream instead :)

 

And don’t forget to use the pumpkin shell to make a jack-o-lantern!

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