First, get a pumpkin. What you really want is a New England Pie Pumpkin: dark orange, sweet and beautifully sized – one pumpkin, one pie. Those prize-winning giants at the fair are actually gourds and their watery flesh doesn’t cook well, but those big ones from the grocery store that you’re going to carve into Jack O’Lanterns make a decent pie.
Split the pumpkin in half between the stem and blossom end. If it’s very hard, put a sharp knife in all the way to the hilt repeatedly all around and then use a blunt edge (small crowbar, a screwdriver – but not your knife) to lever it open. Scoop out the fibrous insides and separate the seeds to roast with your pie in the oven. Run some water into the scooped halves and then dump it out. Put the halves cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet and roast at 375 for 45 minutes to an hour. The time will vary widely on the size and freshness of the pumpkin. You should be able to puncture the skin easily with a fork when done.
Scoop the flesh out of the skin. A NE Pie pumpkin will make about 1 1/2 C of pulp. Whisk together 3/4 C sugar, 2 eggs* and 1 can of evaporated milk and add to the pumpkin with 1 tsp ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp salt. Whisk gently till blended and pour into an unbaked pie shell. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes, then 345 for 45 minutes or until the middle of the pie is set. Any extra filling mix can be ladled into small pyrex dishes as custard.
*Preferrably fresh, local eggs. Thank you, Carrie’s chickens!