If you like eating pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas), keep the ones from your home-grown pumpkins and toast them. Before you begin slicing up your pumpkin, however, leave it for a couple of weeks to make sure the seeds have completely matured after being separated from the vine, Bagnall says.
Once you cut out the seeds, make sure you clean them and then dry them thoroughly on a paper towel for about a week. You don't want any dampness in the seeds. To avoid dampness, store them in a paper folder or envelope so they don't sweat and attract mould.
It's also a good idea to keep the dried seeds in a cupboard where the temperature doesn't vary much.
RILKA WARBANOFF'S PUMPKIN PIE
1kg pumpkin, peeled and grated
360g caster sugar
6 eggs, separated
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
500g block ready-made shortcrust pastry
icing sugar, sifted, for dusting
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the pumpkin, half the caster sugar and the milk. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Allow to cool.
2. Whisk the egg whites in a bowl until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with the remaining caster sugar and the vanilla, until thick.
3. Fold the egg whites into the cooled pumpkin mixture, then add the yolk mixture and mix well.
4. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and gently press into the pie dish, cutting off any overhanging pastry. Blind bake the pastry cake for 10 minutes.
5. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the pastry case and bake for 45-60 minutes. The pie is ready when the filling is set and golden. Set aside to cool slightly, dust with the icing sugar and serve with pecan ice cream.
(Source: Rilka's Feasts: Stories and recipes for family and friends by Rilka Warbanoff, published by ABC Books, rrp $27.99)