A few years ago I embarked on a quest. A quest to turn a pumpkin into a pie. Up until that point real pumpkins were something you carved faces into for Halloween and then threw away before the neighbors kids got to them, and pies were best left in the capable hands of Marie Calendar, or better yet my aunt Brenda.
I have always had a particular fondness for pumpkin pie complete with a mountain of whipped cream on it. Looking forward to the pumpkin pie was got me through eating stuffing at Thanksgiving dinner. (Stuffing is the worst. I had a bad experience. Let’s just leave it at that.) Naturally, since pumpkin pie is so good I needed to be able to make it myself. Upon looking around for recipes, they all called for the same thing:
Hard pass. Is that stuff even pumpkin? There’s a rumor (which I will propagate even though I have no evidence) that it’s mostly butternut squash. This would not do. Also, there was the bragging rights of being able to say I took a gourd and turned it into a pie. Challenge accepted.
What you read below is the result of several years of research, trial, and error. This puree makes a superior pie and can be used anywhere else canned pumpkin frequents this time of year. A complete pumpkin pie recipe using this puree is forthcoming.
Homemade Pumpkin Puree
- One sugar or pie pumpkin, yep that’s all
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cut your pumpkin in half and clean out all the seeds and the stringy pumpkin guts. (If you have any sense, you will set the seeds aside for roasting.)
- Place the pumpkins cut side down in a sided pan. Bake for 40 minutes and then check the pumpkin. If the rind is soft in multiple spots when you touch it, the pumpkin is starting to cave in, and the skin is starting to separate it’s ready. If not, put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes then recheck. Depending on the size of your pumpkin it may take up to 30 minutes or more.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes, then flip the pumpkin halves over and use a spoon to scoop out the insides. Puree the pumpkin in a blender or with an immersion blender for an even, smooth consistency. Substitute for canned pumpkin in whatever recipe your heart desires!
Note: Pumpkin puree can be kept in the fridge for a week or so and in the freezer for several months. If it becomes watery, simply strain out the water.