Adventures of an unfussy foodie.

November 09, 2012

DIY Pumpkin Puree


Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away -- can you believe it?
Yeah, me either.

I'm starting prep now so I don't have as much on my plate on the day itself. What can you do two weeks in advance, you ask? The answer is make your own pumpkin puree.

If you've got an extra hour or so this weekend, making your own pumpkin puree is a cinch and will make you feel like a kitchen wizard when you pull it out to make your pumpkin pie.

That said, however, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. That pumpkin you never got around to turning into a jack-o-lantern, it probably won't make super great pumpkin pie. Carving pumpkins have a much lower sugar content than their pie-bred counterparts, and more water content as well, making for a soggy pie. Be sure to buy a pie pumpkin. Some varieties to look for: Amish Pie, Sugar Pie, Lumina (white on the outside, orange on the inside!), New England Pie.
{Click here for more information on picking a good pie pumpkin.}

Once you've picked the right pumpkin, here's how you do it:

Get your oven going at 350ยบ and line a sheet pan with foil.

Cut your pumpkin(s) in half and remove seeds and stem. Place cut-side-down on prepared baking sheet, and roast for 90 minutes, or until soft. (A fork should meet with no resistance at all.)

Remove from pan and let cool. (You can wait for them to cool all the way, or you can wait just until you won't burn your fingers. Won't make too much difference.)

 
Once cooled a bit, the skin should peel away easily. You can also use a spoon to scrape out the flesh, but I find it's much faster to simply peel away the outer shell.

Place pumpkin flesh in the bowl of a food processor (or blender, I suppose) and process until smooth. Scrape sides and bottom of work bowl, then process for another few seconds to ensure a smooth consistency. (If your pumpkin is too dry to process easily, go ahead and add a little water. You can strain it off later.)


And, Ta-Da! You're done!
Scoop into freezer bags and freeze until you're ready to get baking.




DIY Pumpkin Puree
PRINTABLE RECIPE

Ingredients:
whole pumpkin
water (only if absolutely necessary)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Slice pumpkin in half, cut off stem, scrape out seeds (reserve for roasting and, later, snacking if you're into that sort of thing) and pulp. Place pumpkin halves cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet, and place in oven on center rack.
Roast for 90 minutes, or so, until flesh is soft and yields to the touch.
Let cool before scraping flesh from the skin of the pumpkin and scooping into the bowl of a food processor. If there is too much pumpkin to puree all at once, work in batches.
Process until smooth, adding water if needed -- I find that my food processor sometimes needs assistance with really thick items. (If you wish for a really thick puree, you can easily strain off the excess water later.) You could also do this in a blender. (But don't ask me about the finer details, because I don't own a blender.)
When you are satisfied with the consistency of your puree, freeze flat in freezer bags until ready to use.



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