It's that time of year when the air is cool and pumpkins abound. But how many of us have gone to the store and bought a can of pumpkin puree without a second thought? I know I never really considered where the stuff came from, much less that I could make it myself. It must be hard right? That's why they sell it in a can. Well, last year, I learned just how wrong I was.
Let me set the stage. It' s a cool autumn day and I'm doing my weekly volunteering at the local farmers market. As I'm perusing the aisles, I see round, petite pumpkins at one of the farmer's stands and overhear his conversation with another customer. "These are sugar pumpkins. They're for making pies." Suddenly, I had a revelation. I could make a pumpkin pie from an actual pumpkin! Right then and there it was decided; I would make a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving from a real pumpkin. Needless to say, the rest is history. Everyone was impressed and, even better, it was really easy!
The puree can be used for the obvious pumpkin pie, but go ahead to use it in other pumpkin recipes too or make up your own. This recipe uses one pumpkin, but feel free to a cook few at one time. I always do!
makes approximately 1.5 cups
1 sugar pumpkin
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Use a paring knife to stab slits in the pumpkin. This will allow steam to escape during the cooking process so you don't end up with an explosion.
3. Place pumpkin in a baking dish with about an inch of water on the bottom.
4. Roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
5. Remove pumpkins from oven and allow to cool.
6. Once cooled, use a knife to cut a hole around the pumpkin stem (like you would if you were carving). This should be easy as the flesh will be soft. Using a spoon, scoop the seeds out of the pumpkin. Then, peel away the skin, which should slough right off.
7. Cut pumpkin into chunks and place in blender. Puree until smooth.
8. Use puree immediately, refrigerate, or freeze for later use.