What’s the best pumpkin for pie? I have 3 pumpkins from Halloween that I’m going to roast and bake into pies for a fun cooking experiment. Two varieties I selected are common during the fall season, a sugar pumpkin and a white lumina. The third variety, kabocha squash, is frequently used in Taiwanese dishes.
Kabocha is a squat and bumpy squash that makes a nice edible addition to your fall pumpkin arrangement. Unlike the decorative pumpkins, Kabocha is sweet, creamy, and delicious. In Mandarin, it’s called 栗子南瓜 (lìzǐ nánguā) and is the ingredient in Asian pumpkin recipes.
The three pumpkins look very different on the outside. Each has a distinct taste, smell, and texture. The sugar pumpkin smells like your everyday pumpkin. The lumina pumpkin has a nice floral scent with just a hint of rose. Kabocha squash has a fruity scent, similar to cherimoya. I was most excited about the lumina for its unique color.
Hands On Fun For Kids
Cleaning out the seeds is a fun activity for kids. My daughter really enjoyed getting her hands dirty! It’s interesting to note that the largest pumpkin has the fewest seeds. The flesh of the lumina was stringy, similar to spaghetti squash. Once all the seeds are removed it’s time to put them into the oven.
Pumpkin Taste Test
My daughter couldn’t wait to taste the roasted pumpkin. After her first spoonful, she said, “yuck!” Yes, I think plain unseasoned pumpkin isn’t yummy either. The sugar pumpkin tastes just as you expect pumpkin to taste. The lumina was the lightest in flavor. The kabocha is the only variety I would eat plain. It is also the sweetest of the three pumpkins.
For the next step of the experiment I made pie filling with each of the pumpkins. As you can see in the photo, the kabocha squash filling has the most vibrant color. The lumina pumpkin batter wasn’t as white as I hoped. I wanted to get a white pumpkin pie! Maybe for the next experiment I’ll try lighter color spices that won’t affect the color.
If you haven’t already guessed, my pick for the best pumpkin for pie is the kabocha squash. It has the perfect taste and texture and sweet enough to reduce added sugar in the recipe. The resulting pie is rich and full-flavored and will go well with any Thanksgiving meal, even if you prefer crab and garlic noodles over turkey like our family. Please enjoy our kabocha pie recipe below.
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Pumpkin Pie 南瓜派
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups roasted kabocha recipe below, or a 15 oz can of pumpkin puree
- 1 1/4 cups half and half or evaporated milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 pie crust blind baked and cooled
- Prehead oven to 350°F
- Combine sugar, spices, pumpkin, half and half, and eggs. Mix until smooth***
- Pour batter into prepared pie crust
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the batter is only jiggly in the center. It will look like it’s not done but the pie will continue to set as it cools. Do not overbake or the pie will crack as it cools.
- Cool completely (2-4 hours) and serve with freshly whipped cream
Roasted Kabocha Puree
- Preheat oven 400°F
- Wash and dry pumpkin
- Cut in half and remove the seeds
- Place pumpkin halves cut side up on roasting pan, lightly cover with foil
- Roast for 45 minutes or until tender
- Cool and puree in food processor
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