For those of you who don't know, October is THE month for pumpkin pie pumpkins.
If you like Pumpkin pies, then you most likely have been raised on pies made from canned pumpkin. While it's sad, it's also instructive. Pumpkin pie pumpkins are only a small sliver of the pumpkin growing industry. Most of the pumpkin growing industry is dedicated to the growing of the big pumpkins used for throwaway Jack-O-Lanterns.
Pumpkin pie pumpkins are very small and very sweet pumpkins that are only available for a very short period of time from early October until mid to late October.
BUY THEM WHEN YOU SEE THEM! The pie pumpkins should cost about $2 each and they will keep for about two months.
The best thing to do is buy them when they are ripe, gut and seed them and process them for puree. Save the puree in Food Saver freezer bags, or can it for future use. That way when Thanksgiving and Christmas comes up, you can make fresh pumpkin pies from your own fresh pumpkin puree. People who use commercially canned puree are losers.
Here is a relatively good instruction set for fresh pumpkin pie (at this time).
Pumpkin Pie Puree
The only thing that I don't like about it is the many different ways to cook the pie pumpkin in order to make the puree. I ONLY subscribe to the baking method. Cut the top open like you are going to make a small jack-o-lantern, gut the pumpkin and inside the lid from all of its seeds and stringy stuff, rinse it well making sure you got all of the stringy stuff out. Dry it, slather it all outside with vegetable oil, and place it in a baking dish big enough to hold it. Put a tablesoon of butter and a quarter cup of heavy cream and quarter cup of water inside the pumpkin, drop the lid back on and bake it for one and a half to one and three quarter hours at 375.
After you take the pumpkin out of the oven, carefully scrape the insides and underside of the lid out with a spoon and put it in a separate bowl. Once you get the pumpkin meat all removed, use a immersion blender to completely mix the meat into a puree.
Can or freeze the puree for later use in your pumpkin pie recipe.
Update: October 19, 2012
I was at the local Albertson's last night, and saw that they had placed all of their pumpkins in the same pallet container with a "49 cents / pound" sign in front of it. I picked out four nice pie pumpkins but when I got to the checkout, the girl told me that the pie pumpkins were still $2.99 each. Even though they were piled in with the 49 cents per pound pumpkins. I was disappointed and left without any pie pumpkins.