Pumpkin Pie from a Pumpkin

Saw this on my personal blog and realized it wasn't over here on this blog. So here it is! 

I just happened to have a pumpkin that I didn't end up carving for Halloween...so I decided to try my hand at making a pumpkin pie completely from scratch. I wish I had taken pictures during the whole process, but oh well. Here's what I did:
1. Washed the outside of the pumpkin with warm water and a dab of soap.
2. Cut the pumpkin sorta in half...the knife didn't want to cut straight, so it was a jaggedy half.
3. Scooped out the seeds and guts with an ice cream scoop (on my list for next years jackolantern adventures!).
4. Placed each half in a baking pan, added about 1 1/2 cups of water to the bottom of the pan, covered the pan/pumpkin in tin foil, and put it in the oven.
5. Baked the pumpkin halves for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees.
6. When it was all done, I took the skin off and then mashed the cooked pumpkin into a pulp. It was fun.
7. I let the pulp drain in a colander lined with napkins (cheesecloth or heavy duty paper towels probably would have been better, but I didn't have those) while I went to the store to get the rest of the ingredients for the pie.
8. After returning from the store, I mixed up the goop, made the pie crust, put the goop in the crust and put it in the oven at 350 degrees. I didn't keep track of how long it took to cook, but I took it out when a knife inserted in the middle came out clean.

It actually turned out pretty good, I was quite pleased. Here's the recipe I used:

Pie Crust:
3 cups flour
1 cup shortening
1 tsp salt
cold water to bind (I think I used about 6 or 7 TBS)
a pinch of baking powder (I think I used about 1/8 tsp)

Combine dry ingredients, then cut in shortening. Mix by had until dough begins to stick together (don't over mix). On a floured counter/table I rolled the dough out a little bit, then folded it in half. I did this about 3 times (don't overdo the mixing/kneading/folding...you want the crust to be flaky). Then I rolled the dough out, folded it in 1/4's (to make it easier to transport to the pie pan) and then unfolded in in the pan, cutting of extra edges.

Pumpkin Pie Filling:

1 cup sugar
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt (recipe said it was optional...so I actually only put in 1/4 tsp)
4 eggs (for a more dense pie, only use 3)
3 cups of pumpkin pulp goop
1.5 cans (12 oz) evaporated milk (for a more dense pie, only use 1 can).

Combine all ingredients (I put them in the blender and blended them to make sure it was well smooshed together), and then pour in the unbaked crust. There will probably be enough pumpkin pie filling for 2 pies. Bake at 350 degrees until a knife/toothpick/finger (just kidding about the finger) comes out clean.

Cheesecake Squares with Blackberry Sauce

 Not to brag or anything, but I was informed that this is possibly the yummiest dessert I've ever made. That may be true, or it could just be that Ethan was excited to get to eat cheesecake (which is his all time favorite thing in the world). This is pretty easy to make, although it does require some planning ahead as it needs a long time to cook and cool.
What You Need:
For the Crust:
   1 1/2 cups finely crushed regular graham crackers (about 20 squares)
   1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
   3 TBS sugar
For the Cheesecake:
   1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
   1/2 cup ricotta cheese
   3/4 cup sugar
   2 eggs
   2 TBS butter or margarine, melted and cooled
   1 1/2 TBS cornstarch
   1 1/2 TBS flour
   1/2 TBS vanilla extract
   1 cup sour cream
   toppings of choice, for example: fresh fruit, chocolate syrup, blackberry sauce
What You Do:
For the Crust:
    In medium bowl, stir all ingredients until well mixed. Press mixture firmly against bottom of 9-inch baking dish.
For the Filling:
    In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, ricotta and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add butter, cornstarch, flour and vanilla; beat until smooth. Fold in sour cream. Pour on top of your graham cracker crust. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Do NOT open oven door. Turn oven off. Let cheesecake stand in closed oven for 2 hours. Cool completely on a wire rack. Chill several hours or overnight. Top each square with topping of choice, if desired (Ethan actually prefers his without any toppings, weirdo).

Blackberry Dessert Sauce

We've been picking blackberries around our house for a few weeks now and experimenting with new ways to enjoy them. The milkshakes were somewhat mediocre, but we have had success with this sauce. We've eaten it on pancakes, ice cream, crepes, cheesecake, and oatmeal and so far it's been a hit each time. The recipe was originally designed for raspberries, so you may have to adjust the amount of sugar when using a different type of berry.  
Ready to go on a big bowl of ice cream (seeds have been strained out)
What You Need:
   3 TBS sugar (I used a bit more since my blackberries were pretty tart)
   2 tsp cornstarch
   1/3 cup water
   1 box (10 oz) frozen raspberries in syrup, thawed and undrained (I used my kitchen scale to measure out 10 oz of fresh blackberries, next time I make it I'll measure how many cups that is)
On cheesecake (not strained)
What You Do:

In 1-quart saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch. Stir in water and berries. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute.
Strain sauce through a strainer into bowl to remove seeds if desired. (If I'm going to be straining the seeds out I will take a potato masher and mush all the juice out of the berries in the sauce before I strain them, just to make sure we don't miss out on any of the awesome yumminess.) Serve sauce warm or cool. Store covered in refrigerator up to 10 days.