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Historical notes

Until I married into the Drafts-Lindler family, I'd never heard of a Candy Roaster "pumpkin"...a large oval, elongated "pumpkin". Great Smokey Mountain Candy Roaster "Pumpkin" (Cucurbita maxima ): There is a North Georgia Candy Roaster which is a small ( 10 lb) variant of the Pink Banana Squash. There is also the Candy Roaster ( sometimes called the Georgia Candy Roaster which is a big (60 lb) variant of the Pink Banana squash. Then there is the Candy Roaster sold by fedco which is a Buttercup type squash said to originate in North Carolina. Betty Drafts Shaw's mother, Lallah Lindler Drafts, loved to make these; and we would hunt these special pumpkins for her at mountain roadside markets in the early fall of the year. It is actually an heirloom squash and was originally developed by the Cherokee people in the southern Appalachians, HERE!

NOTE: These large "pumpkins" need to be processed into pulp which is then used en masse or frozen in lesser amounts (we found that the pulp "keeps" frozen for 1-3 years).

The Recipe:

  1. Pie crust: use your favorite recipe to make your own pie shell; or use pre-made (we like Pillsbury pre-made refrigerated/frozen soft crusts). Depending on how crunchy you like your pie crust, you may want to at least pre cook that bottom shell in the pie plate (but Lallah did not).
  2. Cooked fruit contents: use about 2 cups of fresh-cooked or frozen candyroaster pulp.
  3. Additions needed: remove from heat and add, as you like:
    1.  sweetener: 1/2-3/4 cup of sugar.
    2.  thickener: one tablespoon of all purpose flour.
    3.  binder: two egg yolks (reserve the egg whites for below).
    4.  liquid: 3/4 cup Carnation Evaporated Milk
    5.  flavors/spices: one teaspoon vanilla flavoring, one teaspoon lemon flavoring
    6.  grease/oil: three tablespoons melted butter
  4. Process: Mix flour with sugar. Mix egg yolks with evaporated milk. Combine all but the pie shell in a mixing bowl and mix with electric mixer to make the "contents".
  5. Baking: dump "contents" into the bottom shell. Bake 350 degrees F. until "set".
  6. Meringue: while the above is baking, make the meringue from the two egg whites reserved above by adding 4 tablespoons of sugar plus a pinch of Cream of tartar powder and whipping into the fluffy meringue using completely cleaned bowl and mixer beaters. When the pie is "set", remove it. Spread meringue quickly over the pie surface to touch all crust and return to oven to brown the meringue slightly. Then serve and enjoy!

Bulk Processing the Candyroaster Pumpkin/Squash: The large candy roaster must be either cut in half length-wise or in large cross-wise parts in order to remove the seeds and "string" from the hollow interior. Then, the outer surface layer "skin" must be fairly thinly cut away from all of the pumpkin "meat" that remains. The "meat" is then quickly rinsed of any undesirable material and cut up into chucks into a cookpot large enough to cook all at once or in batches with smaller pots. Add a little water for the cooking so that the "meat" can be slow-cooked or simmered until done enough to beat with an electric mixer. Remove the mixer a number of times to remove "meat strings". Whatever is not immediately used for pie(s) can be frozen in freezer bags for future use

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(posted: 19 October 2015)