Volunteers, local farm enrich free meal with pie

Anyone partaking of a free feast Thursday at Medford Gospel Mission can thank Master Food Preservers and a local farm for the final course.

Baking 40 pumpkin pies from Seven Oaks Farm squash kept volunteers busy Monday and Tuesday at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center in Central Point. This is the second year that Master Food Preserver Marian Traina organized the project. Last year, the effort was mustered at Hanby Middle School in Gold Hill, which is one of the few schools left in the valley with an intact home-economics kitchen.

Although Libby canned pumpkin puree provided the recipes, the volunteers passed up that product in favor of baking and mashing 25 sugar pumpkins donated by Doreen Bradshaw of Central Point’s Seven Oaks.

“She saved us pie pumpkins for this project,” says Traina.

Fresh or canned pumpkin could be used in this festive twist on Thanksgiving’s quintessential pie, courtesy of Newsday. It would require adding just a couple of ingredients — gingersnap cookies and cream cheese — to your shopping list.

Find tips for baking perfect pies on our Holiday 101 page, which will be updated through the new year with stories and recipes for seasonal entertaining.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

25 gingersnap cookies (to yield about 1 1⁄3 cup crumbs)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1 1⁄4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3⁄8 teaspoon salt, divided

3⁄4 cup sugar

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 large eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1⁄4 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1⁄8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place the cookies in bowl of food processor and process until finely ground. Add the butter, cinnamon and 1⁄8 teaspoon of the salt; process until crumbs are moist. Press mixture evenly over bottom of a 9-inch pie plate and up sides of pan, packing tightly with fingertips so it is even and compact. Bake crust in preheated oven until crisp, for 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar and cream cheese; beat with an electric mixer until fluffy and smooth, scraping down sides of bowl once or twice as necessary. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and beat until smooth. Add the pumpkin, cream, flour, ginger, nutmeg and remaining salt; beat until smooth.

Scrape filling into cooled pie shell and bake until center is just set, for 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely, then refrigerate until chilled, for at least 6 hours and for up to 2 days, before serving.

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    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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