Helen Myhre, Wisconsin farm woman turned restaurant owner and 13-time winner of the national pie-baking championship, gives these tips about cooking and baking pumpkin pies:

“As I must have said a million times in my life, tasting is the key to good cooking, and stirring up pumpkin is a perfect example. If you stick your finger in it, and it’s bitter, you know you’ve forgotten the salt. You can stand and add sugar till the cows come home, but if you’ve forgotten the salt, pumpkin’ll still have an edge of bitterness.

“Whatever you’re making, tasting can prevent a lot of failures; at the restaurant, I’ve even found lemonade in the gravy. One of the cooks reached for potato water when a same-size jug of lemonade was standing alongside, and in went the lemonade. No one realized it until I stuck my finger in. So even if you’re an expert, you gotta taste. And don’t underestimate salt when it comes to pumpkin.”

These cooking tips introduce Helen’s recipe for pumpkin pie in her cookbook: Farm Recipes and Food Secrets from the Norske Nook: The Midwest’s #1 Roadside Cafe. I prepared Helen’s recipe for pumpkin pie filling when my daughter and I embarked on a crazy project to create pumpkin pie cornucopias. In doing so, I discovered my own tips about cooking with pumpkin. To find out what I learned and to get Helen’s pumpkin pie recipe, click on “continue reading…”

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