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Liquid pumpkin pie

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November 14, 2007

Serves 8

Rick Billings says that red kuri pumpkins work "exponentially better" than any other variety.

4 red kuri pumpkins (each about 3 pounds)
1 pound (2 1/4 cups) demerara sugar
6 sticks cinnamon
6 whole cloves
6 star anise
1 whole nutmeg
8 whole allspice berries
2 whole mace
Salt, to taste

1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Halve the pumpkins and scoop out seeds. Place the pumpkins cut side up on the baking sheet. Fill each cavity with about 1/4 cup demerara, then distribute the spices (they do not have to be evenly divided). Fill each cavity with water. Pour 1/4 inch of water in the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan with foil and roast the pumpkins for about 1 1/2 hours or until they are very soft and caramelized.

3. While the pumpkins are hot, transfer them (still unpeeled) to a stock pot and, using a spoon or tongs, mash everything together. Pour enough boiling water into the mixture to cover it by 6 inches. Stir well and set aside for at least 1 hour or for up to overnight.

4. Set a fine strainer over a bowl. Strain the pumpkin mixture through it, then strain it again through a coffee filter into a clean saucepan.

5. Heat the mixture until it is warm. Add enough of the remaining sugar and a pinch of salt until the broth tastes rich and full - and very similar to pumpkin pie. This will take more sugar and salt than you think; keep adding a little at a time until it tastes right.

6. Ladle into glasses. For dessert, serve with gingersnaps and whipped cream. As a drink, pour in a little spiced rum and top off the glasses with steamed milk foam. - Adapted from Rick Billings of Clio

Liquid pumpkin pie (Wendy Maeda / Globe staff)

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