Thanksgiving is just a week away and Chef Gilligan is here to help!

It's almost time to start the prepping for the great American eating fest, but don't panic as Chef Gilligan is here to give you a few tips and to give you a jump start on your Thanksgiving pumpkin pie.

The word pumpkin originates from the word pepon, which is Greek for “large melon.” The French adapted this word to pompon, which the British changed to pumpion and later American colonists changed that to the word we use today, “pumpkin.”

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The origin of pumpkins is not definitively known, although they are thought to have originated in North America. The oldest evidence, pumpkin-related seeds dating between 7000 and 5500 B.C., were found in Mexico.

Pumpkins are a squash-like fruit that range in size from less than 1 pound to over 1,000 pounds.

Since some squash share the same botanical classifications as pumpkins, the names are frequently used interchangeably. In general, pumpkin stems are more rigid, prickly, and square (with an approximate five-degree angle) than squash stems, which are generally softer, more rounded, and more flared where joined to the fruit.

Pumpkins are monoecious, having both male and female flowers on the same plant. The female flower is distinguished by the small ovary at the base of the petals. These bright and colorful flowers have extremely short life spans and may only open for as short a time as one day. The color of pumpkins is derived from the orange pigments abundant in them.

HOMEMADE FRESH PUMPKIN PIE

This homemade pumpkin pie recipe uses fresh pumpkin, which is a little more work than the classic pumpkin pie but is well worth it.

The secret ingredient in this recipe mixes perfectly with the incredible tastes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

The secret ingredient is .... molasses! It creates a wonderfully smooth, thick filling with a richer taste. This pumpkin pie recipe is truly old-fashioned homemade goodness in every bite.

Ingredients:

1 pastry crust

2 large eggs

¾ cup milk

1 ¼ cups fresh pumpkin puree (instructions below)

2 Tbsps melted butter, unsalted

½ cup sugar

1 Tbsp dark molasses

½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Pinch salt

1 cup heavy cream, cold

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Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it just starts to bubble around the edges. Remove from heat.

Beat eggs lightly in large bowl until frothy. Add scalded milk, stirring constantly.

Stir in pumpkin, butter, sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Whisk until thoroughly blended.

Pour filling into prepared crust, bake until center is firm, about 45 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.

When ready to serve, beat chilled cream with mixer until soft peaks form. Serve on top of pie or in a separate bowl for individual serving.

How To Make Pumpkin Puree from a Fresh Pumpkin:

Split a medium pumpkin crosswise, remove and discard seeds and fibers.

Place pumpkin, cut side down, on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 325F until tender, about 1 hour.

Scrape pulp away from skin, discard skin.

Place pulp in blender or food processor fitted with metal blade, process in batches, until smooth.

Push puree through a coarse sieve. Measure 1 1/4 cups puree for recipe, store remaining puree up to 6 months in the freezer (tightly covered).

* Originally published in 2010

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving recipe? Share in the comments!

Let Chef Gilligan guide you to the perfect homemade pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving