Last weekend I roasted a whole pumpkin.
When the seasons change from summer to fall, I instinctively want to cook with pumpkin. I crave it; I make muffins, soup, risotto and of course, pumpkin pie. To save on time I usually use organic canned pumpkin. But this year I decided to make my own purée from scratch. I enjoy doing that sort of thing.
I read that the Sugar Pie pumpkin is an excellent (and popular) variety to cook with. Its sweet flesh holds up nicely when roasted. But when I went searching for this pumpkin, I couldn’t find it. I was overwhelmed by a sea of unlabeled orange balls. Where was my Sugar Pie? I needed some assistance.
Me: “Excuse me, do you know what kind of pumpkins these are?”
Him: “Yeah um, they’re pumpkins, Miss.”
Me: “Oh I know, but do you know the variety?”
Him: “Yeah um, the kind you make pie with.”
Him: “Miss, they’re all the same…”
He knew what he was talking about, right?
When I got home, I couldn’t even cut the thing open. I sawed… I hacked…it wouldn’t budge. It was like trying to cut granite. What the heck? Everything I read online said to just cut it open with a knife. No one mentioned that I needed a chain saw.
“They’re all the same…they’re all the same…they’re all the same…” Sure they are. I was so frustrated that I ended up smashing the pumpkin outside on the patio. And wouldn’t you know, it opened instantly. Success!
After scooping out the seeds and stringy bits, I roasted the pumpkin for about 45 minutes. Then I puréed the flesh in my blender (I ♥ you Vitamix). Depending on your pumpkin, you might need to add a splash of water to get it moving around. I whipped the purée until it was nice and smooth.
Making homemade pumpkin purée is definitely worth your time especially if you cook with it often. It’s less expensive than canned and you have control over the final product. The flavor is far superior. Try making other purées such as apple, pear and butternut. You’d be surprised at how many things you can use them for once you have them on hand. Make sure to freeze any extra purée in ice cube trays to use at your convenience.
Get ready for some pumpkin recipes!
* Note: The photo of the pumpkin above is the one I used for this recipe (before I smashed it). It’s tough to get open, but the flavor is excellent.
- 1x 5lb. pumpkin, such as Sugar Pie
- Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Using a sharp knife, cut off the top of your pumpkin. Slice it in half and then into quarters. Feel free to smash the pumpkin (not too hard) on the ground if you are having difficulty cutting it.
- Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. If you are saving the seeds, rinse and pat them dry before roasting.
- Place your pumpkin skin side down onto a baking tray. Roast for about 45 minutes or until the flesh is nice and soft. You can insert a small knife to check if it's done.
- Remove from the oven to cool slightly. Scoop out the flesh into a blender or food processor.
- Puree the pumpkin until whipped and smooth. Depending on your pumpkin, you might need to add a splash of water to get it moving. I had to do that for my puree.
- Refrigerate your pumpkin puree in an airtight container until ready to use.
- Store any extra puree in ice cube trays to be used at your convenience.