November 15, 2010
There are two methods I’ve used for making pumpkin puree: roasting and “steaming.” Both require about 3-4 hours (largely unattended) making this process perfect for a nasty fall or winter day. Aside from the time commitment, it’s a pretty easy process. The hardest part is hacking those little beasts open.
Pumpkin puree keeps well in the refrigerator for a week or so, but can be stored for several months in the freezer. I prefer the roasting method because it requires no ‘evaporation step’ and creates a creamier, more attractive looking puree as you can see from the picture below.
However, in my experience both methods produce equally delicious results when mixed into baked goods and other recipes.
1. Preheat the oven to 400° F
2. Rinse the outside of the pumpkin to remove any dirt.
3. Cut each fruit in half (larger pumpkins should be cut in quarters or even eighths) and remove the guts and seeds.
4. Get a large baking sheet and place the pumpkin pieces on top of it cut side up.
5. Rub the flesh of the pumpkin with some cooking oil and bake for 1 – 2 hours.
6. Remove them when very soft and easily punctured with a knife. The flesh should be deep orange and sort of jelly like.
7. Allow them to cool (I usually cut them crosswise in the skin to release the steam) and then remove the skin with a knife or simply scoop out the flesh.
8. Process the peeled flesh in a blender or food processor until well blended. This can take some time depending on the power of your blender — sometimes up to 10 minutes.
Repeat steps 1 – 3
4. Get a large casserole dish and fill the bottom with about a half inch of water.
5. Place the pumpkins in the pan cut side down, cover with foil, and bake for 45 – 60 minutes.
6. Remove them when very soft and easily punctured with a knife. Again, the flesh should be deep orange and sort of jelly like.
7. Set them cut side up where they will be out of the way for a few hours to allow most of the water to evaporate.
Repeat the final two steps.
If you don’t have a blender or food processor, do not despair!
You’ll just need to give your pumpkins more time in the oven so that they can be easily hand mashed. Your puree won’t have the same creamy look, but will have some ‘rustic’ charm and taste just as good. A combination of both methods works well. Start with the steaming method and after an hour in the oven, remove the water from the casserole dish, then flip the pumpkin with a utensil so the cut side is up. Return to the oven and roast for another 1 – 2 hours until the pumpkin has basically collapsed.