© Denzil Green
Pie Pumpkins are pumpkins that are good for making pumpkin pies from.
They will have dry (i.e. starchy, not watery), sweet flesh with good, pronounced flavour and sweetness. At the beginning of the harvest season, they may perhaps be too dry even for pie, but if left longer, some of the starch will convert to water and sugar, making them better for pies.
Less water in them means better pumpkin pies (which are a custard, and a watery custard won’t set.) It also means that you don’t have go through the step of trying to simmer the water out to end up with more flesh in the end to work with — which doesn’t always mean more flavour.
Pie Pumpkins generally will be between 4 to 10 pounds (1 3/4 to 4 1/2 kg), and be far smaller than pumpkins preferred for carving. Large pumpkins are bad for pies. The larger a pumpkin is, the more the flavour is spread out over more flesh, weakening the flavour. It also means that the flesh needs to store a lot of water, making it watery, as well as coarse and stringy. Instead, for pies, you want flesh that is finely-textured.
To process a pumpkin for pies, see the entry on Pumpkin Purée.
For every 1 pound (450g) of whole pie pumpkin that you start off with, you will end up with about 1 cup / 8 oz / 225g of pumpkin purée to work with in pies.
A size of 4 to 6 pounds (1.8 kg to 2.7 kg) yields enough flesh to make 1 pie from.
Sometimes referred to as “Sweet Pumpkins.”