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Fall foliage and the cool weather is perfect for a laid back afternoons and autumn spirit. But did you know what comes in the fall? Pumpkins! And with pumpkins comes the crowd favorite pumpkin pie.
When we talk about fall, it should always have pumpkin. Everywhere you turn these days, you will find pumpkin-related food. From beer, to bread, and of course pumpkin pie, you will start to wonder: is it good for you?
Health benefits of pumpkins
Pumpkin’s versatility as a cooking ingredient is proven, and it is also versatile even when it comes to your health.
Here are just several of the health benefits pumpkins can offer:
1. Lower your blood pressure
Pumpkins are rich in potassium which could help lower blood pressure and balances out the negative effects of salt in your body. This also reduces the risks of hypertension.
2. Can help you avoid bad cholesterol
The orange hue of pumpkins (and similarly, carrots, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes) reminds you of fall, but this color signifies that it has an amount of antioxidant beta-carotene. Aside from that, it also contains other antioxidants such as alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin which neutralizes free radicals and stops them from damaging your cells.
Beta-carotene plays a significant role in cancer prevention and has also been shown to support eye health and prevent degenerative damage. Our bodies convert beta-carotene into vitamin A, which also helps with eye health.
4. Improve your skin
Beta-carotene has always been shown to improve the skin. Our bodies convert it into vitamin A which improves skin texture and reduces the effects of wrinkle-causing UV rays. You can even use pumpkin as an exfoliator as well! All you need to do is to mix ¼ cup of pureed pumpkin (not pie), an egg, a tablespoon of honey, and a tablespoon of milk, apply it to your face and let it sit for 20 minutes before washing it off with warm water.
5. Boost your immunity with various vitamins
Pumpkins are also rich in vitamins that help your immune system. It contains vitamin A which can strengthen your immune system. People with vitamin A deficiency can have a weaker immune system according to studies. Pumpkins are rich in vitamin C, which has been shown to increase white blood cell reproduction that boosts immune cells to work effectively and make wounds heal faster. Aside from the two vitamins, pumpkins are great sources of vitamin E, iron, and folate, which also aids the immune system.
How to Cook Homemade Pumpkin Pie Recipe
You can find pumpkin spice-flavored everything everywhere but nothing beats the original food favorite every fall: pumpkin pies! Get your chef’s hat on and get started in baking this crowd favorite pie.
- 750g or 1 lb pumpkin or butternut squash (peeled, deseeded, and cut into chunks)
- 350g sweet shortcrust pastry
- 140g caster sugar
- 1 cup plain flour for dusting
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. fresh nutmeg (grated)
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- 25g melted butter
- 175 ml milk
- 1 tbsp. icing sugar
Place the pumpkin in a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring it to a boil. Cover the pot with water and let it simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain the water and let the pumpkin cool on the side.
Pro-tip: If you’re in a hurry, you can prepare a pie pastry in place of a scratch version of the package. Pre-made pie base usually comes with two per package, which is perfect for making a double batch.
Preheat the oven to 180°C to 160°C. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry and place it on a 22cm tart pan. Allow to chill for 15 minutes. Bake the pastry for 15 minutes on baking parchment or baking beans. Use your reliable food thermometer to gauge the right heat and temperature for pre-baking your dough. You don’t want to completely bake the dough in this process. Bake for another 10 minutes, until the base is golden brown and biscuity. Allow to cool in the oven.
Turn the oven up to 220°C to 200°C. The cooled pumpkin should be pushed through a sieve and placed in a large bowl. Combine the sugar, salt and half of the cinnamon in a separate bowl. Add the egg whites, milk, and butter to the pumpkin puree. Stir to combine everything.. Put the mixture into a tart shell. Cook for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 180°C to 160°C Bake for another 35-40 minutes until the filling is set.
Allow the pie to cool before removing it from the tin. Dust the pie with the remaining cinnamon and icing sugar. Serve the homemade pumpkin pie chilled.
Pro-tip: You can add some pizzazz to your homemade pumpkin pie with a meringue topping instead of dusting with icing sugar.
Cooling weather and fall foliage used to signal the arrival of autumn. It’s obvious that the pumpkin is versatile as a culinary ingredient. But, it seems it could be just as versatile in your health. Feel the fall season with this easy home baked pumpkin pie recipe that baking newbies can do!
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