What the Heck’s a Cheese Pumpkin?

No, seriously, guys. What the heck is a cheese pumpkin?

My friend Anne is from Long Island and loves pumpkin pie, and we started talking about the best variety of pumpkin for baking activities. “Cheese pumpkins make the best pumpkin pies, I swear,” she told me. So I said to her, “Um. What is a cheese pumpkin?”

She explained to me that cheese pumpkins are a special variety of the orange fall treasure specifically harvested in Long Island, New York. The name comes from its gorgeous, waxy exterior which is similar to that of a cheese rind. I of course requested for Anne to bring one to me the next time she traveled to Long Island.

We spent an entire morning boiling and skinning the pumpkin, straining it for an hour and then mashing it up like mashed potatoes. We then used the freshly pureed pumpkin in place of canned pumpkin for our recipe.

It turned out absolutely gorgeous. The texture was a lot thicker than your typical pumpkin pie, but we both felt the chunkier texture gave it more character and just tasted so… homemade!

Here is the recipe we used for our Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie:

How to make homemade “canned pumpkin”:

  • Chop up cheese pumpkin, remove seeds, and boil in water until fork tender.
  • Peel flesh from skin with spoon and mash with fork.
  • Strain through mesh strainer for one hour.
  • Substitute 1.5 cups mashed pumpkin for one can of pumpkin puree in recipe.

Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie:
(The Country Cook’s recipe)

  • 1 (9 inch) deep dish frozen pie shell (or make your own)
  • 2 t real butter, melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 can pumpkin puree (or use your homemade cheese pumpkin puree!)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 T pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 t vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Using an electric mixer, mix the melted butter, brown sugar, pumpkin puree together until combined. Add in eggs, heavy cream, sour cream, spice, and vanilla. Mix until thoroughly combined. Pour batter into pie shell. Do not overfill. You will probably have some batter left over. You can place strips of foil around the crust edge so it doesn’t brown. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 40-50 minutes. Cool to room temperature for 2-3 hours (to allow the pie to finish setting up) and serve with whipped cream.