I can't cut my pie pumpkins!
- Jeff Shore
I just bought four "pie pumpkins" -- smaller pumpkins intended for use in cooking (not just display). However, when I attempted to cut them with my nearly brand-new Henckel's chef's knife, I could barely make a scratch on the surface. They are so hard on the outside and, because they are small, it is impossible to get a good grip without placing important body parts right in the way of the knife.
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to cut these things? Are they not ripe yet? Should I soak them? Buy a chainsaw?
I'd try a small knife and stab the blade in (rather trying to really cut) -- angle down toward the inside bottom of the pumpkin, not across toward your other hand.
Something tells me that a pumpkin that hard on the outside isn't going to be too succulent on the inside--however, having said that, have you tried a cleaver?
If the pumpkins are small enough and your microwave is large enough, you can punch a couple of holes into each pumpkin (so they don't explode) and then zap them briefly, which should soften them up enough to cut. Or I once put a large pumpkin into an even larger pot and steamed it for a while.
My mother-in-law carved a Halloween pumpkin at my place last week when I was away, and neatly snapped the blades off a Chicago Cutlery paring knife, a gorgeous Sabatier boning knife from the '30s, and a horn-handled antique steak knife, one of a matched set of six, that I had counted on to outlast my own mortal coil. The carnage was sort of breathtaking.
The devil's own fruit, it is.