I have blogged extensively on getting through Thanksgiving as an expat (well, extensive by my standards – here and I thought there was one on nutmeg but I can’t find it. Rethinking my use of the word extensive.) Don’t ask my why I feel the need to keep ranting about it every year, but here I am again.
Even though it’s only September I am starting this week getting ready for Thanksgiving. My pumpkin is cooking in the oven right now. Not because I’m an overachieving, pre-planning, over-organized addict, but because the stores have pumpkins now. That’s about how my life works. Which leads us to step one of HOW TO MAKE A PUMPKIN PIE IN EUROPE:
1. Buy any big orange squash you can find as soon as they appear in the store. DO NOT wait until Thanksgiving. Rookie mistake is to not buy something until you need it. IT WILL NOT BE THERE. Side note: except do not use the big jack-o-lantern pumpkin. Most people know that, but I actually tried to make pumpkin pie with these for my first few (ahem. let’s round down to seven) years in Czech Republic. I thought they were stringy and watery because I was doing something wrong. I’m so sweet and innocent. For those of you out there like me, just ignore your friends’ incredulous “You’re an idiot” look when they find out you tried making pumpkin pie from a real pumpkin. That’s what we get for trying to be logical.
2. Get it home and scour the internet to see what kind of squash/pumpkin you’ve bought. (muskat and hokkaido are the two I have now.) I read that these two are fine for pies but my own verdict is still out. Although, my opinion really doesn’t matter. I will still have to take what I can get. My verdict just helps me decide how much to complain about it. Here are some links to finding out about what you may have bought. Muscat, hokkaido, list of pumpkin varieties that wasn’t helpful without pictures.
3. Discern that it’s edible.
4. Cook and puree it. (I used method one to cook my pumpkin.) If you found cheesecloth, strain it. If not, prepare for something that looks nothing like canned pumpkin. You know what, on second thought, prepare for that in any case.
5. Make the pie. You really want to focus on making a stellar crust to deflect from the fact that who knows what the pumpkinish puree is doing to the pie.
6. Feed it only to people who have never had pumpkin pie before. Desperate Americans who have been overseas for more than two years can fall under this category as well.
OR, alternate version, buy (and they ship to you) canned pumpkin from the Candy Store in Brno. And ruin the illusion of what pumpkin pie is for all the people who are eating my “At Least the Crust was Tasty” pies.