Sunday, November 22, 2009

Baking Pumpkin Pies with the Pineridge Science Club

For years, when our sons were Cub Scouts, I would bake Pumpkin Pies with their dens right before Thanksgiving. I developed a very simple recipe that the boys enjoyed eating and that they could measure and mix without frustration. Pre-made frozen pie crusts made the project even easier.

I recently volunteered to make pies with the Pineridge Science Club, an afterschool program for elementary-age students. In the interest of science, I took the time to talk about each ingredient, from pumpkin to milk and eggs to honey. Showing whole spices was a revelation - that's ginger? Vanilla pods? Cinnamon sticks? Whole nutmeg and cloves?

Due to limited time, we would have to make individual pies, so that they would have time to bake and cool before the participants took them home. Fortunately, ready-made tart-sized graham cracker crusts worked perfectly and tasted great.

With the kids working in pairs and adults helping to measure and pour, 24 pies were mixed up in a very short time, then baked, cooled and placed in bakery boxes for the trip home. Everyone seemed to have a good time - I know I did!

Here's the recipe -

Pumpkin Pie
1 can pumpkin puree (15 ounces)
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon and ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and cloves
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together until completely combined. Pour into 1 pie shell (regular or graham cracker) or 8 individual tart shells. Place on cookie sheet in oven. Bake 20-23 minutes for individual pies or 30-35 minutes for a regular-sized pie. The pie is cooked when the center does not jiggle when shaken. Cool before serving. Makes 8 servings.