Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Under the Dumb Plum Tree

Mom, Paul & Darlene's Dana

October's Leaves

by Jaime Kaufhold
(October 1991)

October is a truly beautiful month. It signals the end of summer and with it comes the most spectacular array of colour. The trees that shaded us during those hot summer days have dropped their leaves, creating a blanket across the ground. My poor old plum tree is naked now.

I just came in from raking leaves, thinking about what to write this month and realized that there is a lot to talk about in October. Of course we could mention how everyone is getting ready for winter - it is the perfect time to winterize cottages, haul out the boat and do any repairs that are necessary. Farmers are thinking about next year's crops, ploughing and preparing their fields and the cattle must be sheltered. And of course, there is always Thanksgiving to plan around.

What a memorable weekend that always was. An extra day off school for the kids who'd bring large paper turkeys home Friday afternoon, that we'd hang on the door. I'd prepare a big meal with all the traditional fare and sometimes friends would join us. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, the fall foods we'd eat were a much needed change from the barbeque season.

But of course all the children could think about was Hallowe'en. For weeks they would mull over  what they were going to "be" and prepare for the school costume party. They always hoped to have the best and most unusual costumes. Back then, most costumes were home made and I could be pretty inventive. One time we made Mark into a robot by spray painting different sized boxes silver, creating a body, arms, legs and head. And I remember sewing old buttons and bows of different sizes and colours all over Nancy's shirt and pants. One year we turned Karen into a bag lady by sewing all sorts of household items and junk onto an old workshirt and pair of pants. My kids never went to school dressed as a ghost, princess or superman. I wasn't exactly sure what they were, but it was memorable.

When Hallowe'en night finally arrived, off they went to fill their bags with goodies. I was left home to some tricking of my own and usually it was the poor dog who suffered. It was hilarious to watch our big, fat black lab, Minnie, run terrified away from the door each time she saw a goblin arrive. Then, when the loot was brought home and sorted on the rug in the living room, I kept a close eye on who had what. When the kids fell asleep, I'd sneak into their rooms and raid their goodie bags for some of the treats I liked best. They never noticed, or if they did, never mentioned it.

Now it's time to go back outside to rake more leaves. It is windy so I'm hoping the pile will blow next door, but I guess that means I'll end up with the neighbour's leaves who lives upwind of here. Oh well. The grandchildren will come for a visit and the piles provide hours of fun.

After Hallowe'en I usually have a nice, large pumpkin to dispose of. Guess what I make?

Pumpkin Pie

2 cups pumpkin
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons fancy molasses
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups whipping cream
3 tablespoons brandy or orange liqueur

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
For filling, cook your pumpkin until soft, then let it drain in a mesh colander until fairly dry. Or you can use canned pumpkin from the store. Whisk it in a bowl with all the ingredients then pour into an uncooked, 9” pie shell.

Bake for 10 minutes, then lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until filling puffs just a little around edges. Test with a fork by poking the middle. If you like your pie soft, remove when it still jiggles a bit in the center. But if you're like me and prefer it dense, cook until the fork comes out nearly clean. Allow to cool to room temperature, then put in the fridge.

Whipped Cream
1 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch nutmeg

Whip it up, spread it all over the pie right before serving and enjoy! If you think you might have leftovers (we never did), don't spread the whipped cream over top, just add spoonfuls to the individual pieces. You'll probably need to re-whip the leftover cream the next day.

No comments:

Post a Comment